Hollow Knight, Team Cherry’s Metroidvania action-adventure game, depicts the adventure of a nameless warrior named the Knight. The main character travels through Hallownest, now a kingdom in ruins, because of a supernatural disease.
As the Knight journeys through Hallownest, they encounter various challenges and obstacles. Sometimes, these obstacles mean that there are some things that the Knight must first have or learn to pass through. An example is the mysterious black barriers that the Knight will find in some parts of Hallownest.
This guide will walk you through how to break these black barriers in Hollow Knight. With that, the Knight can continue exploring and unraveling the story of the kingdom of Hallownest!
What are these Black Barriers in Hollow Knight?
The black barriers that the Knight will encounter around Hallownest are called Shade Gates. These are unbreakable gates made of pulsing Void. The Knight cannot disable these Shade Gates. If the Knight tries to walk through them, the Knight will bounce backward, but it will not damage the Knight. Shade Gates, however, allow spells to pass through.
The Void of Shade Gates is released between two spiky objects with black spheres. Interestingly, two Shade Gates in the Birthplace area of the Abyss lack these features.
The following are the areas where the Knight will find Shade Gates:
- There is a Shade Gate in the westernmost part of Fog Canyon. This Shade Gate blocks the Knight from accessing Fog Canyon from the eastern part of the Queen’s Gardens.
- There is a Shade Gate in the upper right half of Fog Canyon. The Knight must cross this Shade Gate to access this part of the area initially.
- The Knight will find a Shade Gate in the bottom right corner of Deepnest. This Shade Gate blocks the path that leads to the Sharp Shadow Charm.
- There is another Shade Gate in the lower left half of Kingdom’s Edge. The Knight can cross this Shade Gate to find and battle Markoth.
- The Knight will find a Shade Gate in the upper left half of Queen’s Gardens. This Shade Gate blocks the path to finding and fighting the Traitor Lord.
- The last Shade Gate is in the easternmost part of the Abyss. The Knight will find the Hunter’s Journal entry for the Void Tendrils behind this Shade Gate.
How to Break Black Barriers in Hollow Knight
Unfortunately, as mentioned, the Knight cannot break these Shade Gates. So, how can the Knight access the other side of these black barriers? Well, the Knight can have the ability to pass through them. This ability is the Shade Cloak ability.
The Shade Cloak Ability
The Shade Cloak ability lets the Knight dash through foes and their attacks without receiving any damage. This ability enables the Knight to dash through the unbreakable Shade Gates. The Shade Cloak ability is the upgrade to the Mothwing Cloak ability.
Because this is an improvement to the Mothwing Cloak ability, the player may utilize the Shade Cloak ability while the Knight is on the floor or in mid-air and dash through foes and their attacks. Most enemy projectiles will be eliminated if the Knight dashes past them while dashing with the Shade Cloak ability.
While the Knight can utilize the Shade Cloak ability to dash through enemies and their attacks, hazards in the surroundings will still inflict damage to the Knight when they attempt to dash through them.
Shade Cloak has a cooldown of around 1.5 seconds, separate from the Mothwing Cloak ability. During the Shade Cloak ability’s cooldown, the Knight will use the Mothwing Cloak ability when dashing, which only allows the Knight to dash forward.
It should also be mentioned that the Dashmaster Charm only decreases the cooldown of the Mothwing Cloak ability, not the Shade Cloak ability.
The Knight can learn the Shade Cloak ability beyond the sea of Void in the southeasternmost area of The Abyss, the bottommost area in Hallownest. The Knight acquires the ability after standing on top of the Void fountain at the extreme east end of the room.
Before attempting to obtain the Shade Cloak ability, the Knight must obtain the King’s Brand. The Knight will not be able to access the Abyss impossible without it.
The Knight must first have a couple of specific abilities regarding other abilities. The first ability required is, obviously, the Mothwing Cloak ability. This ability, again, only enables the Knight to dash horizontally forwards. Another required ability is the Crystal Heart ability.
This ability enables the Knight to continuously dash forwards until the Knight hits a surface, an enemy, or if the ability is canceled. The last required ability is the Mantis Claw ability. This ability allows the Knight to cling to walls and jump off them.
Furthermore, the Knight must have acquired the Lumafly Lantern from Sly’s shop in Dirtmouth. This item will illuminate dark rooms.
The Knight does not have to encounter or fight bosses to get this ability. However, the path to the Shade Cloak ability is challenging. On the way, the Knight will run into a swarm of Shadow Creepers, Void Tendrils, and Siblings in the area. The Siblings are easy to eliminate but don’t underestimate them because the Knight will not get Soul for defeating them. This, then, prevents the Knight from recovering if Soul runs out.
An area will require the Knight to use the Crystal Heart ability to get through. But, because it is filled with Void Tendrils, the Knight must first light up the highest point of the lighthouse nearby.
Path to Shade Cloak Ability
The Knight must carry out the following to acquire the Shade Cloak ability:
- Start from the Bench in the Hidden Station Stagway in the Ancient Basin. Head to the left to exit the room and get to the Palace Grounds. Head to the left and exit the room.
- Then, head to the left, drop downwards, head left again, and exit the room. Follow the path down where the Knight will run into two Shadow Creepers. Go to the left, where a massive gate bearing the King’s Brand. When the Knight approaches the gate, it will light up and disappear. Enter the newly unlocked path.
- The Knight has now entered The Abyss. There are several Shadow Creepers and several spiked platforms in this room. Go to the bottom of the room, where Siblings will continue spawning until the Knight leaves. Go all the way to the right at the bottom of the room and exit the room.
- Then, proceed to the right while avoiding the Void Tendrils on portions of the room’s floor. Exit through the door on the extreme right end of the room.
- Afterward, head to the right, using the platforms to navigate and avoid the Void Tendrils. Several Siblings are going to spawn. Head up the platforms in this room section to find some more Siblings. Enter the area at the top that has Soul Caches and a lever. To turn on the light in the area, hit the lever.
- Afterward, return to the bottom of the room and proceed to the right. The Knight will find a wide gap. Hold the SUPER DASH button to charge the Crystal Heart ability. Then, once it is full, let go of the button to use it. The Knight will continuously dash to the right and across the area. This is now safe to perform because the light from the tower has cleared the Void Tendrils in the way. When the Knight hits a wall, climb up the platform and turn right to exit the room.
- Next, head to the right, up the somewhat elevated platform, and climb the wall of the tall platform on the right using the Mantis Claw ability. Continue to the right, drop down to the next shaft, go to the right, and drop down another gap.
- Finally, proceed to the right to find a Void fountain. Jump to the fountain’s top and wait for a few seconds. The Void will then consume the Knight. After that, the Knight is to acquire the Shade Cloak ability!
Now that the Knight has the Shade Cloak ability, the Knight can now cross the black barriers in Hollow Knight! With this ability, the Knight can just dash through using the ability to cross Shade Gates. Isn’t that the simplest thing to do?
Now that the Knight can pass through Shade Gates, the Knight can explore more of Hallownest. With that, the Knight can find more areas, enter hidden areas, and find hidden items. Now the Knight can further unravel the beautiful tapestry of Hollow Knight’s story!