Today’s Nintendo Treehouse stream gave us our first look at hands-on gameplay in Hollow Knight: Silksong, the follow-up to 2017’s Hollow Knight.
Silksong lets you play as Hornet, a character from the original game who served as a challenging early boss before taking on a more complicated role in the story.
In Silksong, you start at the very bottom of a new kingdom called Farloom and fight your way to the top throughout the game. Unlike the original Hollow Knight, which began — and mostly stayed — in dark, cavelike environments, a previous trailer for Silksong showed off a wider variety of environment bursting with color. In the demo we saw today, Hornet traveled through a lush, mossy cavern and some sort of industrial facility.
In the first area, the demo showed off a boss fight against an enemy called Moss Mother. The fight gave us a good look at Hornet’s basic attacks, which are much faster than the knight’s from the original game. She can also heal herself nearly instantaneously, unlike the knight’s very slow heal. In a later fight, we saw her bat projectiles back at enemies, adding yet another attack to her arsenal.
Hornet also fought a boss called Lace in the demo, who will apparently serve as a recurring foe for Hornet. The battle we saw actually mirrored the fight between the Knight and Hornet in Hollow Knight, with Lace using a combination of quick attacks and area of effect spells. It was much faster though, given that the character you’re controlling this time around could run circles around the Knight in their meeting.
Hornet is much more acrobatic than your character from Hollow Knight. Right from the start, you can see that she has a ledge grab, which may seem like a small upgrade, but looks like it will change up how traversal works pretty significantly. Her stronger abilities are powered by silk, which can be gathered from nodes throughout the world, sort of like the soul containers you could find throughout Hollow Knight.
One of the biggest differences between the Knight and Hornet is her use of tools. Instead of the equippable charms that gave you new abilities or buffs in Hollow Knight, Silksong gives you a more direct form of upgrade in tools. In the demo, we saw straight pins, which Hornet could throw like daggers to strike enemies from afar. You can also collect shell shards around the world that you can use to build and upgrade tools.
Another huge change from the original game: Hornet is not a silent protagonist. The Knight never spoke and didn’t even seem to have a clear sense of purpose in his quest. Hornet, on the other hand, speaks her mind. She’s just as confident as she was in Hollow Knight, and for good reason. We saw her speaking to Lace before their fight and to a friendly NPC, which opens up a lot of possibilities for a more clear story than Hollow Knight’s obscure narrative.
There’s still no release date for Hollow Knight: Silksong, which began as DLC for Hollow Knight before being announced as a standalone title earlier this year.