Hollow is a difficult game to play. We don't mean that in the sense that it requires great skill to complete, or that its dark sci-fi horror world is especially harrowing. Those would both be valid, even praiseworthy qualities. No, Hollow is difficult to play in mostly all the wrong ways. 

The game is perhaps best described as a first person survival horror experience set on an ostensibly abandoned space mining vessel. Of course, it's not abandoned at all, and it should come as no great spoiler to reveal that that you'll soon encounter a species of hellish creatures that specialise in gruesome body horror. The first thing to note here is that Hollow is as ugly as sin, to the point where its murky, low-res, jerky visuals make it an active challenge to see where you're supposed to be going. It can be very difficult distinguishing between background elements and key points of interaction. 

At first we wondered if it was just that some kind of heavy digital distortion filter had been been layered over to give the claustrophobic impression of wearing a space suit. Perhaps such an effect has been employed, but the effect of this - combined with the aforementioned murk and jerk of the graphics engine - is to seriously hamper the game's playability. If you're like us, it might even give you a headache or make you feel a bit queasy. It doesn't help that the Shakhter-One - the mining vessel your potty-mouthed protagonist wakes up on - is such a bland environment filled with repetitive corridors. There's a map overlay system that automatically orients itself according to the player, but it's both cool and useless in roughly equal measure.

Another thing that doesn't help with Hollow's playability is its excruciatingly lethargic movement controls. Like the visual murk, we actually found ourselves making excuses for the game, wondering whether maybe this was intended as a means to reflect the protagonist's discombobulated state. But no, you really do just move and turn like a sloth on valium. Incredibly, there appear to be three levels of speed available to you, but even the top one doesn't seem to get beyond a leisurely shuffle. Aiming your firearm is similarly sluggish and lacking in the tactile feel that even half-decent console FPS games possess.

Indeed, combat with the game's spindly-limbed enemies is generally turgid. It seems to be a lottery as to how many of your brutally limited shots will put a creature down for good, while being left without any ammo and only your weedy kick is just about the most miserable situation you can find yourself in. Good like finding spare ammo in those blurry environments.

This might all have been redeemable if Hollow told a good story, but unfortunately it doesn't. The incidental text and subtitles are saturated with the kind of typos and odd word selections that tell you the developer isn't a native English speaker. That's no crime of course, but why a proper translation effort wasn't undertaken - especially when an American-English voice cast has been brought in to perform the script - is mystifying. We won't go into the game's borderline obsession with the naked female form, other than to say that this is a 'Mature' game in the loosest sense of the word.

All in all, playing Hollow is a bit of an ordeal, and not one of the emotional 'my goodness this is tense' variety. You'll perhaps need to turn to Resident Evil Revelations if you're after that kind of thing on Switch. Looking at Hollow's history, it seems to have started out life on Steam for PC, which offers a few potential clues as to some of its issues. Giving the developer the benefit of the doubt (again), there's every chance that this isn't a flat out bad game. Perhaps it's just a bad conversion. Either way, Hollow for Switch is a scrappy, sluggish, technically questionable experience that we can't honestly recommend to anyone.

Conclusion

Hollow is an incredibly ugly game with the kind of plentiful technical issues that make it actively difficult to play. Those with a masochistic streak might derive some pleasure from its abrasiveness and its downbeat tone, but most Switch-owning horror fans would be much better served playing through Resident Evil Revelations and its sequel for the umpteenth time.