Review: Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight Logo

Shovel Knight made it to the top 10 in Club Nintendo’s Fan Faves 2014 survey. It is available for both the Wii U and the 3DS. The game is very notable for its graphics, gameplay, music, villians, heroes, and humor. It is a game with personality. Basically, developer Yacht Club Games poured their heart and soul into Shovel Knight, and it really shows.

30 Second Review

+ Must play for Metroidvania fans

+ Challenging gameplay

+ Memorable characters

– Casual gamers be wary

– Mild backtracking

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Notable Features

  • Sweeping adventure with classic action
  • Discover and master multiple relics
  • A light touch to narrative with humor and levity
  • Handcrafted pumped-up 8-bit style
  • Awesome soundtrack by Jake “Virt” Kaufman and additional songs composed by Manami Matsumae
  • Hone your skills in Challenge Mode
  • Retell the adventure and uncover all of the world’s secrets with New Game+

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Welcome to Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight has arrived and has two quests in mind. Defeat the villainous Enchantress and find the knight’s lost beloved. However, a cadre of villains known as “The Order of No Quarter” are going to do everything they can to stop the brave hero from completing his quests. He wields the multipurpose weapon known as the shovel blade and lives by the code of shovelery–be honest, be helpful, slash mercilessly, and dig tirelessly.

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Platforming Full Speed Ahead

When I first started playing Shovel Knight, I was instantly transported back to the Metroid and Castlevania days of my youth. The platforming is real. It’s been a long time since I loved and hated a game to the degree that I do Shovel Knight. The graphics are beautiful. The controls are excellent. The music is unforgettable. I can stop playing Shovel Knight, go in the other room, and I can still hear the music playing.

The challenge that Shovel Knight offers is absolutely brutal and punishing. The game is engaging and crafted so well that you may find it difficult to stop playing it. It is fun and addictive as long as you enjoying playing a game that is this challenging.

Developer Yacht Club Games was passionate about making Shovel Knight. Even while I was playing the game, it was drawing passion, intensity, and emotions out of me whether I wanted to experience those feelings or not. Every generation has a game that  gamers claim must be played. Shovel Knight is easily a must play game for this generation.

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Casual Gamers Beware

The action and intensity of Shovel Knight is not for the faint of heart. Anyone can pick up and wield the shovel, but do you have the mental fortitude, patience, and desire to complete the game? That’s going to be the question anyone needs to ask themselves before they buy Shovel Knight. Any intense gamer is going to fall in love with it, especially if he or she is a fan of the Metroidvania genre. I’m not trying to discourage any casual gamers from Shovel Knight. I’m just sharing with you the reality of how carefully the gameplay has been crafted. It’s like a mad scientist concoction between genius and insanity.

My only personal complaint while playing Shovel Knight is a complaint that is shared by most games within the Metroidvania genre, and that is the occasional backtracking. When you walk into a new zone you’ll be greeted by an NPC at the entrance. The NPC will explain that this level requires an ability that currently isn’t part of your arsenal. Come back once this ability has been acquired. Now true fans of the genre will find this to be either a really helpful addition, or they may complain about it for the hand holding elements. Personally, I don’t enjoy any degree of back tracking regardless of how big or small the map is.

Shovel Knight Verdict

To Shovel or Not to Shovel

Shovel Knight is available on the Nintendo eShop for $14.99. If you absolutely love an intense Metroidvania style challenge, then don’t even hesitate; Shovel Knight is absolutely for you. If you’re hesitant about the degree of challenge involved, then wait for a sale. I hope this review has helped anyone feeling indecisive about making a confident decision. Now get out there and find your Shovel Knight!