Thanks, I'm glad it was helpful. Hopefully you won't consider it impolite for me to say a bit more about why I'm not quite as excited about Hollow Knight as you, hopefully in a way that people with different tastes can still find helpful.
First, I'll say a bit more about what I like about it: it has a really nice graphic style that makes good use of monitors that turn off individual black pixels. I don't know how common this type of monitor is now or exactly how much difference it makes since I don't have another monitor to compare, but I suspect it does something. I'm sure the graphic style is still almost as nice on any monitor.
A few years ago I read this rant from someone in the games industry about dynamic range called "Games Look Bad": https://ventspace.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/games-look-bad-part-1-hdr-and-tone-mapping
I don't really understand the technical arguments made in the article but it got me thinking more about the use of colors in games. Hollow Knight has a really excellent use of colors. Lume/Lumino City also because they made the game out of paper and filmed it. Another one not currently on sale is Ghost of a Tale (that one can be hard to play during the day in a room with windows but looks really nice when played at night). Another one I played recently that I can think of is Little Bug that does a really good job with the neon.
The other major thing that Hollow Knight does well IMO is to use radio drama style sound effects. The combination of the nice graphic style and sound effects makes it feel alive in a way that most games don't. Even the music is short loops that feels more sound-effect-like than music, although unfortunately that is all too common in games. At least here is helps a bit with the cave feel, although I would prefer if there was longer music at times and more of it. For me, the joy of the game is the nice graphics and sounds effects, the feeling of exploration, and the difficult platforming that is still barely possible for me with practice (it is always nice to be able to go back to spots that took forever when I first started and, without using new abilities, find them much easier later on). I haven't quite made it to the end but I'm almost there.
In general, I don't like violent games and Hollow Knight intentionally has a desolate and violent feel to it. The better than usual feeling of the world being alive makes the violence worse for me. I prefer games like Shuggy where the emphasis is on collecting things and avoiding danger rather than killing things. Also, in Guacamelee, my favorite platformer, you are at least fighing the world of the dead. Guacamelee also has nice colors (although in a different way) and I like the mechanics a bit better, although they are quite similar in a lot of ways. Also, I like the music better, although it could also have done better than it did. While the overall story is worse in Guacamelee, the interpersonal interactions are much better. In Hollow Knight you can read the full 57 precepts of Zote but no one else has much to say about anything and there are few characters to interact with. Guacamelee also has challenging platforming although less of a sense of exploration. But also less frustruation and I much prefer the respawn very close aspect of Guacamelee. I think the two have a lot in common and are both very high quality games, I just personally like the atmosphere of Guacamelee better. Unfortunately, Guacamelee doesn't have good Linux support :(, although at least the the first Gold Edition supports Linux and the Super Turbo version is not that different (I haven't played Guacamelee 2 yet). I have been playing on Windows lately but I still appreciate games that support Linux (you could even say it isn't fully DRM-free if it requires Windows).