Yacht Club Games have done a fantastic job in what has resulted in the retro style side-scroller Shovel Knight.
Developer/Publisher: Yacht Club Games.
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, OS X, Linux, PlayStation Network.
Price: $14.99 USD on Steam (Reviews are ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’), however I managed to get it on sale through the 3DS Store.
Can You Dig it?
“Shovel Knight is a sweeping classic action adventure game with awesome gameplay, memorable characters, and an 8-bit retro aesthetic created by Yacht Club Games. You play as the eponymous Shovel Knight, a small knight with a huge quest. Shovel Knight has come to this valley with two goals: to defeat the evil Enchantress and save his lost beloved. He wields a ShovelBlade; a multipurpose weapon whose techniques have now been lost to the ages. Always honest and helpful, Shovel Knight is a shining example of the code of Shovelry: Slash Mercilessly and Dig Tirelessly!”
The above quote from Yacht Club Games sums up the game perfectly, so even if you don’t read on at least you know what the game is about and how awesome it sounds.Shovel Knight is a completely original experience, with influence from games that came more than a decade before it.
The game features graphics inspired by 8-bit games such as Super Mario Bros, Final Fantasy, Bomberman, even Metal Gear.The style is fashionably retro, but again manages to make the player feel like they have never experienced anything like it, as the colour is vibrant, levels feel different from one another, bosses are interesting and challenging, and the music- the music is awesome.
You really feel like you are on an adventure when playing the game. You feel for the characters and you want to save your beloved Shield Knight from the Enchantress and her Order of No Quarter, but most importantly you want to keep playing.
Controls and Features
Shovel Knight trades the sword for the shovel, allowing him to not only unleash shovel justice, but also access hidden areas, jump higher and dig for treasure.Movement in Shovel Knight is standard (on the 3DS)- jump B, attack A, with jump and down making for an aerial assault good for tackling bosses and pesky enemies, and up and A is magic.
Gameplay is generally fast paced but never really too hectic, however you will need to work out each enemy’s attack patterns in order to beat them.
The game also makes use of the 3DS’s 3D feature as the background shifts to create a more dynamic feel, as if you are actually moving through the world.
The lighting even plays a part in the gameplay, for example, in the Spectre Knight’s Lair I fell off of a ledge because the screen goes black and the only light is from short bursts of lightning.
The levels are designed well, and the boss battles leave you feeling the same sense of victory as Dark Souls does, just with a little less agony. NPC’s actually do things too, whether its buying items, levelling up or just finding secrets; and the game makes you laugh with its humorous one-liners.
Our hero can interact with these various characters in the Village hub area, where you can purchase new abilities as you progress with your quest.
Shovel Knight Overall
It is no wonder Shovel Knight surpassed its lifetime goal in 1 month. The game is immensely popular, and with good reason, it’s a great game. In fact I’d put it up there with my top games of the last year, which is pretty amazing considering it’s not a AAA title.
I would recommend that if you have the means that you try this game, as it is definitely worth it. Dig in!