Shovel Knight is a 8-bit side-scrolling indie platformer from Yachet Club Games. Despite being made by a new studio and on a minuscule budget, the game manages to pack in tons of fun and content that can easily rival a big budget game.
Shovel Knight is set in a world full of Knights, who are a part of a group called the Order of No Quarter. As the Shovel Knight, it is up to you to defeat each of the Knights, which are essentially bosses in the game and have their own unique ability and name. In an essence, it is a lot like Megaman with his boss battles named similarly like Gutsman and Cutman.
The game has a very charming art style that perfectly captures the look and feel of the NES-era. Each of the Knight has his own distinctive features that makes him stand out among the rest. The world in itself is beautifully animated and it is a joy to navigate through it. This makes the game’s graphics far more appealing despite having a simple 8-bit style.
The gameplay in Shovel Knight is like a classic side-scrolling adventure. It involves getting from point A to B, navigating the well crafted levels and using your Shovel for killing the enemies. Shovel Knight’s main attack is – you guessed it – using his Shovel. He can either attack the enemies directly or use the Shovel to jump on them and damage them in this process. Players can also use his Shovel to dig through sand and discover secrets.
Speaking of secrets, the game has a tons of them. There are hidden locations scattered through each of the level and some of them have a very challenging design, but all of them have a reward at the end. This reward can range from music sheets, tons of in-game currency, or rare relics that allow you to cast some powerful abilities in the game.
Aside from the simple attack from the Shovel, or using it to hop across enemies, essentially acting as a pogo-stick, you can also use various relics that can be located throughout the game. These relics can allow you to cast some powers that require Mana to be used in the game. You can also upgrade your Mana resulting in more uses for each of the relics. The abilities that you can use range from casting a fireball or killing all the enemies on the screen, to defensive abilities like turning yourself invincible for a few seconds.
The game also has a world map reminiscing the world map of Mario Bros. 3 on NES. You can go to the Town, which also acts as your main hub allowing you to get new items or upgrade your health and magic. There are various levels located throughout the World Map, each with their own Knight acting as a boss fight.
In term of difficulty, the game can definitely take some serious skills. It is challenging but not to the point of frustration. It is actually really fun to pick up and play. This is helped by the smooth controls and a checkpoint system that is somewhat forgiving. These checkpoints are scattered throughout each of the level and a death can result in the players spawning back at these checkpoints.
Shovel Knight also has a unique boss for each of the current generation console. On the Xbox One, you can fight Battletoads whereas on the PS4, you can try to challenge Kratos. Both of these are very challenging boss battles and require you to master the gameplay.
The game also has an incredible soundtrack that is a joint effort between Manami Matsumae from Megaman fame and Jake Kauffman. Both of these have created a soundtrack that is perfect fit for the game. The fast-paced songs fit the mood perfectly and are a joy to listen in the game.
Shovel Knight Review (PS4/PSV)
Shovel Knight is a fun indie-platformer that provides hours of entertainment coupled with charming art style and memorable characters. It has all the right ingredients for a great game and this makes the game worth checking out. It is currently available on most of the major platforms so there is no excuse to miss on it.