It's EGX 2019 weekend! Over the next few days we'll be bringing you quickfire impressions of some of the highlights from the show floor here at London's ExCel centre. You'll find them all here - and if there's anything out there you want to bring to our attention let us know!
We've known about Hollow Knight's upcoming sequel, Silksong, since the beginning of this year, when Team Cherry announced what was originally designed to be an expansion for the base game was just too big, and so would be made into a standalone title. We haven't had much info on it since. No wonder then the queue I had to stand in to get my hands on the demo at EGX was so long (and there was also only one console with the demo available! Criminal considering how brilliant it is).
The demo is only short, but even that amount of time was enough to understand why Silksong is being made into a standalone game. The first playable zone I landed in seemed like the very first level, allowing me to play Hornet with her base abilities as she traversed through Moss Grotto. It's an area reminiscent of Greenpath - and I say reminiscent purely due to the overgrown natural feel of it. It's enough to remind the player this is indeed a Hollow Knight game, but brings its own unique atmosphere at the same time.
Hollow Knight's platforming struck the right balance between fun and infuriating (especially when those damn flying enemies constantly spat orange goo at you), and Team Cherry has maintained that in Silksong too, though Hornet's skillset is slightly different than the Knight's in that it lets her grab onto ledges to reach platforms you might otherwise not be able to get to. The world of Silksong feels very much created for Hornet - the developer hasn't just made another Hallownest and shoehorned a different character in - it's tailored to her playstyle so it's new and exciting to traverse, all the while maintaining the fluidity and familiar level design of the game that came before it.
This isn't the only difference between Hornet and the Knight however. Hornet's distinct playstyle revolves around her collecting silk, rather than soul, which can be used to instantly heal three points of health. This changes the tactics in battle significantly, and paired with her different movement abilities and tools you pick up along the way, it makes everything feel a whole lot speedier. Oh, and she can speak! No longer bound to the silent protagonist, Hornet's actual conversations with NPCs add even more colour to the world.
Interesting new characters and enemies, fresh and vivid environments, more tools and abilities than you could shake a knitting needle at - you'd never believe this game was intended as an add-on, and that's after playing it for about 20 minutes.
Team Cherry has stated in the past the game won't be released until it's ready, and for a game as wonderful as this is shaping up to be, I wouldn't have it any other way.