If you’ve been thoroughly exploring the City of Tears, you may have come across a curious-looking tower on the right-most fringe of the area. If so, you’ll have found that it is locked, with the key nowhere nearby. Cracking open this door into the tower is a pretty good idea given what’s inside, and for completionists, it’s an absolute necessity. The only question is – where exactly is the key?
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Where to find the Love Key in Hollow Knight
To open up the tower, named the Tower of Love, you must first obtain the Love Key. This key is found in the Queen’s Gardens, in the bottom right corner of the area map. While this sounds simple enough to reach, there is a catch – you can’t reach it without a particular item.
To reach the Love Key, you’ll first have to obtain Isma’s Tear. This poses another problem – to obtain Isma’s Tear, you need the Crystal Heart first. For that, you’ll also need the Mantis Claw and Desolate Dive. In short, if you want the Love Key, you’ll need to collect a small shopping list of items first.
Obtaining the Mantis Claw
The Mantis Claw is one of the easier items on this list to obtain. For it, you’ll have to travel down to the Mantis Village, which is connected to the Fungal Wastes. You’ll be able to reach it pretty early on in the game, and it’s a good idea to do so, since the item is incredibly useful.
To reach it, you’ll need to fight your way through the outskirts of the Mantis Village and into the main area, passing through a little maze-like area on the left-most side. Passing through the maze is made much easier with the Mothwing Cloak, though it isn’t strictly necessary. At the end of the maze is the Mantis Claw.
Once you’ve got the Mantis Claw, you’ll be able to hang onto walls and perform wall jumps, allowing you to scale walls and be much more maneuverable during combat. With the Mantis Claw in hand, it’s onto the next item.
Obtaining Desolate Dive
Next up is the Desolate Dive spell. You’ll need this to break the floor in the Crystal Peak that separates you from the Crystal Heart. To obtain it, you’ll need to defeat the boss found in the Soul Sanctum, which lies at the top of the City of Tears. The boss can be quite a challenge, but he uses moves that are similar to the mobs found in the lower levels of the Sanctum. If you’re having trouble, I’d suggest practicing on those.
Obtaining the Crystal Heart
With the previous two items in hand, you can move your attention to the Crystal Heart. Finding the Crystal Heart is fairly straightforward, assuming you have these two items. Enter the Crystal Peak through the connection to the Forgotten Crossroads, then smash through the loose floor found a bit further in with Desolate Dive. From there, simply follow the route that heads up.
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Eventually, you’ll see a trapped Grub behind a gate. You should take the first left to meet Conifer and get the map for the area. You might also want to head further to the left, as that opens up a shortcut from Dirtmouth, though it’s much easier to do once you have the Crystal Heart. Once you have the map, follow the route higher up the peak. There’s a bench not far from Conifer, though you will need to face a boss to unlock it. Afterward, climb a little higher and head over to the right, then down. Eventually, you’ll be met with a very long room and a lot of platforming to do. It can be tough to accomplish, but your reward at the end is the precious Crystal Heart.
If you don’t fancy dealing with the boss in the Soul Sanctum just yet, there is another path you can take for the Crystal Heart. The path is also in the Forgotten Crossroads, located just a little further down from the first path. While you won’t need Desolate Dive to get through this path, it is pitch black, so you’ll need the Lumafly Lantern to see where you’re going. This will cost you 1800 Geo, and is as unavoidable as it is expensive. Even if you somehow make it to the end of the path despite the darkness, you’ll only be met by a locked gate. To unlock it, you’ll need both 50 Geo and the Lumafly Lantern to even interact with it. Once you’re through, you can explore Crystal Peak as normal, and obtain the Crystal Heart after a good bit of platforming.
With the Crystal Heart, you will be able to dash across long gaps with a charged dash. You’ll be able to easily unlock the shortcut from Crystal Peak to Dirtmouth with this, as well as a bunch of other things.
Obtaining Isma’s Tear
With the other three items acquired, it’s time to complete the quartet. For Isma’s Tear, you’ll have to head down into the Royal Waterways, found at the bottom of the City of Tears. You’ll need a Simple Key to unlock the entrance, which can be found close to the entrance of the City of Tears. Dive in and make your way down and to the right. At the right-most end of the Royal Waterways is the Dung Defender. You’ll need to defeat him, then flip the lever in the room to the right of his boss chamber. You’ll be blocked from collecting Isma’s Tear if you don’t do that.
With the Defender defeated, you’ll need to backtrack a little bit through the Waterways and head down and further to the right. Following this path, you’ll end up in a tall room filled with spiky surfaces. Simply Crystal Heart your way from one side to the other, then continue on through this next part of the Waterways. You’ll end up in an area with a lot of poison pools, making the Crystal Heart invaluable to pass through. At the end of the poison pools, you’ll enter Isma’s Grove, where your reward, Isma’s Tear, awaits.
Isma’s Tear makes you invulnerable to acid pools, allowing you to swim through without taking damage and being forced out. With this last item in hand, you can head to the Queen’s Gardens for the Love Key.
Obtaining the Love Key
With that shopping list taken care of, you can finally move on to the main course – the Love Key. From the Stag Station, you should head out and down, ending up close to the bottom left of the area and looking over a large room of thorns. Use the Crystal Heart to pass through, but be prepared for a bit of platforming, too. You’ll end up in a fairly tall room with a lot of thorns covering the walls. Platform over to the right side, then head into the next room. There’ll be two exits on the right, one high and one low. Take the high one, and swim through the acid pool. On the other side is a corridor guarded by a couple of Mantis warriors. Defeat them, then head to the end of the corridor for the Love Key.
What does the Love Key do?
Although it’s a pain to get, obtaining the Love Key is very useful. With it, you’ll be able to unlock the Tower of Love, the home of the Collector. This guy is a boss, and he isn’t very happy that you’ve broken into his home. By defeating him, you’ll be able to free three Grubs, and you’ll get his Collector’s Map. This shows you where every trapped Grub you haven’t freed is, making it much easier to bring them all home.