Tag Archives: Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight and the Rescue from Death and Boredom

Shovel Knight 6I don’t remember how I heard about Shovel Knight. It was one of the first games I downloaded with my new New 3DS XL, one of the first games that I stuck with through to the end after a long break from anything that wasn’t World of Warcraft. The whole time thinking about older games, how they  could be different, still relevant, Mega Man, Caslevania, Earthbound.

However many console generations we’ve seen, there were only really two phases for a long time, the arcade cabinet phase, and then everything else until the Nintendo 64. Until then things we’re only getting prettier, taking advantage of updated color pallettes, an infinite horizon, so from like what, ’83 to ’96, we were reiterating that first anthology of solid gold games. Shovel Knight strikes that chord.

I kept waiting for there to be distractions. My time watching from a distance taught me that boredom and microtransactions awaited my return to games. It took a couple years for me not to expect cheapness and scheming. Shovel Knight never delivered when I was at my most cynical and that plays a big part in my love of the game. There is a gentleness about the way it reminds you why you’re drawn to games in the first place. Whatever it is for you, it takes you away to a time of less worry, and more time. Or it doesn’t and all these badass mechanics are fresh to you, at which I am envious. There will be no distractions for you, maybe frustration at the save system, the money situation, the expansion, but no distractions.

My first play through set me on a path of discovery. The “Indie Game,” a single Human Mind crafting through the deft use of fine tools a dream space for us to enter into whenever we want. Super Meat Boy was my other foray into what now is Indie Games so it was natural for me to dive head first in search of other solid visions. The gamespace is ripe with single minds colluding to create something only they know should exist. There was never a moment that led me to distrust the game. Every ability and upgrade fit into the springy play to teach me to take my time, and death hurts. You’ll end up with high hopes for the end of some levels, to leave with very little compared to what you came in with. That’s the joy of it. It keeps you focused on improving without causing shaking fits.

I dipped into the Plague Knight expansion knowing I wouldn’t see it through. But having played through the original and waiting for it, I had to see a little. In that spirit I finally downloaded Shovel Knight from Steam to play through again and start the NG+. So many of the games I have played are because I played Shovel Knight, I wanted to write through my impressions of the hard mode in anticipation of expansions based on all the other characters in the game. Shovel Knight is what Comcept meant to do with Mighty No. 9. Yacht Club set the bar higher than Mega Man’s own creator. All that’s left to see is if their endurance holds up for the next decade and a half.

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Shovel Knight: 20 Hour Review

Shovel Knight continues to charm after a playthrough on my 3DS, half way through NG+, some Plague Knight, and now replaying for this, to write about it. I was attracted to the game shortly after getting my 3DS, the first games I downloaded were all NES classics and Shovel Knight seemed to have enough of that mold still unbroken that I would be into it. Making a short review shorter, get this game if you like classic platformers, whether you are just getting into the genre or are for whatever reason nostalgic, this game will certainly scratch that itch; at around 12 hours completion time on a first play through it won’t have you questioning the value of your time, or it could, more on that below. Do not buy this game if the trappings of the 80’s aren’t your thing. If Mega Man is too cutesy or pisses you off, and Mario 3’s level design is too tedious for you, Shovel Knight will not be for you either.

 

Shovel Knight Logo

Shovel Knight, one of the best.

 

Yacht Club is doing several things right, chief among them, difficulty. Shovel Knight is a mechanics heavy, player vs. level game. The boss fights are interesting but probably won’t be standout experiences. They fit the level well in that most of the time the difficulty spike isn’t too great in comparison to the level, mini bosses included, that you will face on your way to the boss. Enemies are introduced in Super Mario fashion, but the levels are more complex. There is an early way to increase the difficulty , rewarding you with more gems than you would normally collect to use on upgrades. Integrated save points in the form of clear orbs encased in the end of a stake can be passed by to save your progress or shattered for a reward that increases with each check-point you break. After the 6th check-point the reward is well worth it if you can manage to stay alive through the whole level. Even if you do die though, and die repeatedly, yes it will hinder you, but only just; you can recover what you lose when you die. It works out so that you have to die several times for it to really set you back. It will happen though, as you progress, the Plague Knight’s level had me frustrated after a few attempts.

This game really is one that you should play, if not only for a glimpse into the creative minds of people who are preserving nostalgia right. Shovel Knight is deep, once you complete the game, starting the NG+ will give you what you need if you want an increased challenge. All of this with no mention of Yacht Club vowing the release of several expansions this year featuring playable bosses from the original game. Shovel Knight is solid, and the developer is committed; after purchasing for 3DS and Steam, and the Plague Knight expansion, the Shovel Knight franchise has been worth the money.

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