Hollow Knight was originally released in 2017 to universal acclaim. However, it has proven to be a modern classic, continuously garnering new players and even breaking its all-time concurrent player count on Steam last year.
Team Cherry has created a beloved game with a dedicated community. The combination of its dreary atmosphere, unmatched exploration, challenging combat, and memorable characters sticks with you long after completing the game. Players often want to jump right back in to discover what other secrets Hallownest is hiding.
Mods can help keep the experience fresh by altering and improving certain parts of the games. I’ve tested many high-quality mods to determine which ones are the most worthwhile. In this list, I’ve compiled them along with my reasoning as to why these are the best Hollow Knight mods.
Bottom Line Up Front
If you were only to try one mod in this list, it would have to be the Randomizer Mod. Shifting the locations of every enemy, item, and room in Hollow Knight is already an impressive feat, but they did the Herculean task while making sure players could progress. All the subtle changes and additions also come with various degrees of customization so that all players can enjoy the mod regardless of skill level.
My Top Picks at a Glance
- Lightbringer Mod – Switches up the core combat to Hollow Knigh
- t by replacing your nail with a ranged lance of light.
- Custom Knight – Allows players to download custom-made sprites made by the talented community.
- Hollow Point – A stupidly fun game-breaking mod that arms the Knight with modern weaponry.
- Randomizer Mod – An essential mod that makes the game endlessly replayable. Switches up the spawns for enemies, items, and rooms.
- Hollow Knight Multiplayer – Enables players to host and invite other players into their world. You can also turn friendly fire on to turn Hallownest even more dangerous.
- Charm Overhaul – Reworks and rebalances many of the underwhelming charms in the base game. Also adds new secret charm combinations.
- Inferno King Grimm– Inferno King Grimm is the crème de la crème of modded boss fights. It’s intense, visually striking, and complex, but most importantly, it’s a fair fight.
How I Chose the Best Hollow Knight Mods
All the tested mods were categorized based on what part of the game it attempted to change. Despite its exceptional score, some great mods were left out of this list to avoid redundant features.
After the initial sorting was done, I had three simple criteria to ascertain which ones stood out.
First, whether the mod was functional, or the overall quality of the mod. This includes if its features were working as intended and how seamlessly it was integrated into the game.
Second, whether the mod encouraged replayability. More points are given to mods that made me want to replay the entirety of the game from the beginning.
Third, whether the mod is lore-friendly. This point is given to a mod that can successfully convince me that it belongs in the world.
With everything explained, here are the best Hollow Knight mods:
Best Combat Mod: Lightbringer Mod
The Lightbringer mod replaces your trusty nail with a ranged lance of light. The mod also scaled back the weapon’s base damage to compensate for the distance advantage. It also reworks many charms to customize your ranged playstyle.
The overall reduction to damage makes the early game more of a challenge. Lowly bugs that were easily cut down before now take up more time. Additionally, spell slingers might want to avoid this mod since soul doesn’t generate when striking foes. Instead, soul fills up over time, similar to the Kingsoul charm. To top it off, you start with one less mask, and upgrades aren’t as good.
In return, you gain a new approach to playing Hollow Knight. If you manage to persist through the rough start and collect more charms, the real quality of the mod starts to take center stage. The reworked charms more than makeup for the handicap with their creativity. For example, there is a charm that allows you to simultaneously throw your lances in both directions, encouraging a riskier playstyle. There’s also a charm which multiplies your lances when aimed upwards, making quick work of flying bugs.
The amount of care and thought into shaking up the gameplay makes this one of the best Hollow Knight mods out there, making it an easy recommendation.
Best Visual Mod: Custom Knight
Custom Knight allows you to easily download and integrate custom-made sprites for the Knight. There are plenty of skins to choose from, all created by the passionate community. At first, I stuck to simple palette swaps like changing the Knight’s cloak, then I couldn’t resist playing as the different in-game characters such as best boy Quirrel and the infamous Zote the Mighty. For now, I’m pretty satisfied with Grimm Knight, a skin pack inspired by the troupe master himself.
The individual skins vary in quality as they’re made by different mod makers. However, I highly appreciate the skins which go above and beyond, changing the Knight’s spells, charms, and attacks to fit their particular theme. If you have the skills, you can even create your skin pack for other players to take in this beloved metroidvania.
Best Spell Mod: Hollow Point
Hollow Point straps the Knight with a modern-day assault rifle. When I first read the premise for Hollow Point, I thought it was an overpowered mod that could break the game. Though my initial assessment was partially correct, it does so in a fun fashion.
The mod is surprisingly well-balanced contrary to the power fantasy it promises. For example, shooting the gun draws from your old soul resource, now replaced by the adrenaline meter. You can fill this up by either traditionally striking foes with your nail or through connecting shots. Unfortunately, you also lose your ability to cast spells and heal on-demand, as healing only works when you attack with a full adrenaline meter.
Most charms have been reworked to sync with the new weapons. There are also three new classes with their own unique sets of abilities and fitting guns.
- Breacher: Uses the SMG or a shotgun to rain down severe damage in close quarters. Can blast explosive shrapnel and automatically shoot at nearby enemies.
- Saboteur: Fights from the mid-range using either the rifle, carbine or light machine gun. Can release a poisonous gas to deny an area or litter the level with dung bombs.
- Observer: Hits enemies from afar using either the Marksman’s rifle or the Sniper rifle. Though it hits hard, the weapon also has a slow rate of fire and consumes more adrenaline. Can call in artillery near your location or towards one direction.
Jumping while shooting down also causes the Knight to float. You can effectively sequence breakthrough areas with enough soul, such as going to the Blue Lake from Forgotten Crossroads early.
Whether you want to show Radiance what real power is or find new creative paths through Hallownest, Hollow Point is a fun, game-breaking mod.
Best Map Mod: Randomizer mod
Hallownest was able to invoke a strong sense of wonder and mystery to new players. Its diverse areas, hidden secrets, and interconnectedness urge players to explore. The Randomizer mod aims to capture that same sense of being lost by shifting enemies, items, and even rooms around for the returning adventurer.
The Randomizer mod keeps the game fresh by mixing up the locations of anything you want. If you want a straightforward playthrough with the map layout staying the same, you can opt just to randomize enemy spawns. Every room is a surprise as you won’t know which enemy is waiting for you in the next room. You can also switch the item spawns around, including spells. For example, you could journey into an area that usually contains a charm and instead find a spell.
Advanced players knowledgeable of the different skips can opt to completely randomize room transitions. While playing this mod, you have to accept situations like how a single room in Greenpath can lead to the Ancient Basin and the Resting Grounds.
The modders made their best attempt to ensure that players wouldn’t be soft-locked without the tools to progress. There’s a surprisingly large number of subtle changes made to guarantee progress. For example, there are key areas where they added more platforms like the Ancient Basin, just in case you haven’t found the Monarch Wings. For additional help, the supporting Randomizer map mod helps keep track of the sprawling labyrinth. And for extra safety, the Benchwarp mod could teleport you to previously discovered benches.
The Randomizer Mod is a must-have for players who want to re-experience the game.
Best Multiplayer Mod: Hollow Knight Multiplayer
Take a friend or more with you to traverse through Hallownest with the Hollow Knight Multiplayer mod. Though you travel and explore the same world, progress isn’t fully synchronized between players. It is expected since the game wasn’t meant to be played with other players in the first place.
Items, abilities, and bosses are all completed individually. You can try fighting the same boss, but you have to enter together to avoid players getting knocked out. The modders are currently working on accurate synchronization, so hopefully, we can witness an actual multiplayer run soon.
Turning on friendly fire enables PvP mode in the server. It is chaotic fun to hunt and sabotage each other’s run. A popular game within the community is to have one player attempt to speedrun the game while the others try to stop them.
I used this guide to set up a host network for my friends correctly.
Best Charm Mod: Charm Overhaul
The charm system is the heart of Hollow Knight’s customization. Unfortunately, over time, the community isolated which ones were the top tier while the others were there for collection’s sake. The Charm Overhaul mod seeks to rebalance weak and underwhelming charms and tweak certain charm combinations.
The biggest hindrance with other charms is the number of notches they demand, making it hard to build. Charm Overhaul determines a few of them and reduces the number of notches required. For instance, the Deep Focus charm has been lowered to three notches instead of four.
About the aforementioned weak charms, most of them received buffs to their numbers, like the Sprintmaster’s walk speed. In addition, other charms received bonus effects, most notably the Heavy Blow charm, which now increases nail damage by 15% on top of its base effect.
The mod adds more layers of complexity to equipping charms by including new secret charm combinations. For example, Kinematic Shell gained through equipping Stalwart Shell and Defender’s Crest is a fun complement to my aggressive playstyle. It makes the Knight’s shell harden when falling quickly, dealing damage while also becoming invulnerable. Another combination that I can’t live without is the Sorcerer Stone combo. By using the Shaman Stone and Kingsoul charm, you gain a chance to fire a soul blast when swinging your nail at full soul. Handy because I forget to weave spells between attacks from time to time.
Best Boss Mod: Inferno King Grimm
Hollow Knight’s numerous and complex bosses highlight the game’s combat. Yet, the fanbase craved more, so Team Cherry delivered the free Godmaster update. The DLC tasks the Knight to fight amped-up versions of all the bosses in one continuous run.
But Hollow Knight players are masochists, as evidenced by the insanely punishing mods for nearly all the bosses in the game. So naturally, I dove into that rabbit hole since I am one of those masochists. What I found is that most modded bosses simply increased their numbers such as speed and damage; others gave them new attack patterns and phases. But if you’re looking for a worthy adversary that’s fair, exciting, and aesthetically pleasing, Inferno King Grimm is the best of its class.
The Inferno King Grimm mod significantly increases Nightmare King Grimm’s fight. Most of his attacks were buffed to throw you off your game, like adding more projectiles to cover the area. The three-phase battle will leave you dashing around, looking for the smallest window to strike back. And with each phase, Grimm grows more menacing, as reflected in his color turning darker and darker.
For those who overcame the bout and craved for more, the Absolute Inferno King Grimm mod further pushes Grimm’s capabilities.
Question: Can I install Hollow Knight mods on console?
Answer: No. Currently, mods are only available on PC. I recommend this detailed guide on how to Steam. The guide also includes links to other mods not mentioned in this list.
Question: Is it safe to download Hollow Knight mods?
Answer: Yes. It is safe to download mods using the mod installer. If you’re hesitant to download links from the internet, you can visit the modding channel in the official Hollow Knight discord.
Question: How to uninstall Hollow Knight mods?
Answer: The easiest way to uninstall mods is by deactivating them using the mod installer. Another way is to verify game integrity on the Steam client. Finally, though I haven’t experienced my game breaking due to the mods, I suggest creating a separate game folder for your modded playthrough.
Diving into the best Hollow Knight mods creates redesigned content for you to enjoy. That being said, every returning player should download the Randomizer Mod.
By shifting around the placements of enemies, items, and rooms, the mod consistently instills the feeling of wonder and disorientation akin to playing the game for the first time. You’re also forced to interact with advanced mechanics to traverse unexpected obstacles like using pogo jumps and shade skips. You have to be resourceful and crafty with whatever the seed gives you, and it’s always a new layout every run.
Asides from the ones mentioned in this list, there are many more out there for you to explore. So have fun diving back into Hallownest!