Review: Shovel Knight

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Everyday I’m Shovelin’ Shovelin’

 

When I first heard about Yacht Club’s Shovel Knight, I really didn’t know what to expect. I saw the retro glory in the graphics and was surprised that a Knight would use a Shovel. After the first few minutes of playing this game, I can honestly say I love this game! There were a few minutes of getting used to the fact that retro games are not as easy as they look. Shovel Knight will have you rethinking how you play.

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Right away I could feel the Super Mario Bros 3 old-school map. As the nostalgia was setting in, a quick buzz of NES refreshments awaited as I played levels that were done in Mega Man style with bosses who had specific abilities – just like in Mega Man! All the while I defeated enemies by jumping on their heads – like Duck Tales. Shovel Knight’s 8-bit-era inspiration didn’t just end there. I cozied on into 2 villages that were amazing throwbacks to Zelda II. When Yacht Club went retro with Shovel Knight, they didn’t leave anything out. This game is absolutely fantastic.

MiniworldIn this great adventure you are a knight with a shovel and you have lost your companion, Shield Knight, to the terrifying Enchantress. Like any brave hero, no matter what stands in your way you will risk yourself to save your true love and even have some dreams about catching her (no, for real, you wake up at this campfire – a scenario that kind of reminds me of Dark Souls.) You are the one brave soul who will stop at nothing and fight the Order of the No Quarter. Your path through each level will reference each boss knight’s ability and will have you memorizing level patterns (just like Mega Man) while you shovel your way through to the glorious boss fight. My personal favorites were Tinker Knight, Plague Knight and Black Knight (who seems kind of like your arch enemy – play this game and you will see why).

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Along your great journey you will stop and talk to villagers, who are iconic and memorable. The humor is great as you travel through and get to know them. Be sure to use your meal tickets (upgrades your health), and upgrade your magic. You will be given the option to purchase a fishing rod (use this when you see sparkles in pits on levels), a chalice, a nice little mini game, and a talking Troupple. All hail the Troupple King! As you leave the village and wander back to the mini-world map you will see enemies wondering about, just like Hammer Brother’s from Super Mario 3. Can you say “Awesome”?

VillageThere is so much more I want to write about this game, but I can’t spoil it for you. This is a true retro game, with cinematics and enemy patterns right down to the last pixel. You will even notice in the start menu there is something called “FEATS.” You can look through here and see the equivalent of modern-day in-game achievements. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect retro game. Shovel Knight has all the glory of the best from the NES days.

Shovel Knight Title Screen