It’s a brand new year, and that means a brand new review for you guys! Shovel Knight has become an indie superstar since the game came out over a year ago. Shovel Knight has gained popularity to the point of being suggested for Super Smash Bros. But how does the original game and the DLC hold up today?
Shovel Knight and Shield Knight are two adventurers who one day invade the Tower of Fate. But then Shield Knight meets with an unfortunate fate, leaving Shovel Knight in despair for a while. Suddenly, the Order of No Quarter appears out of nowhere, terrorizing the land, led by The Enchantress, and Shovel Knight must prepare to fight the Order to stop their horrible plans. Plague of Shadows sets Plague Knight having plans to control everything, by taking a key ingredient from each knight from the Order of No Quarter. Both stories are very basic, Shovel Knight’s is the simplistic reach the tower plot, Plague Knight’s is simply collecting key items to achieve power plot.
Shovel Knight goes back to the NES era of video games, looking like it came from the era of the NES, though Shovel Knight is able to pull off colors that weren’t able to be used on the NES. Every level, and hub area, is very vibrant with its own color and atmosphere, giving each area its own theme to play with throughout the game. No one level really repeats over again, and every level uses the graphics to challenge the player in many different ways.
Because Shovel Knight is imitating an NES game, the music is also 8-bit, again with differences that weren’t possible in the NES era. Every level has its own theme and boss theme, you can tell the amount of hard work Yacht Club Games put in Shovel Knight with how every song varies from prideful to broody. No matter what song, there’s bound to be plenty of songs that land in your playlist on whatever device you use to listen to music.
Shovel Knight is an old school 2D Platformer, basically taking elements from Super Mario Bros. 3, Mega man, Castlevania, etc. You go left and right, using your shovel or magic to get to the end of the level to fight a certain knight. You not only have your primary weapon of shovel and magic, you also have relics to aid you on your quest. Each relic has a purpose, shoot fireballs, fly, become invisible, etc. You gain each relic when reaching a certain chest in each level, so be sure to explore secret areas in advance. The controls feel very nice and precise; it rarely feels like it’s the game’s fault that you died. Most of the relics are used in specific areas, with only a few of them actually being useful throughout the game. Plague Knight is pretty much the same, but he is hard mode, with added jumping ability and less movement.
Shovel Knight has a very natural progression of difficulty, the beginning levels are simple enough to give you an idea for what’s ahead. Even with New Game Plus, the difficulty doesn’t change, minus the checkpoints and the enemies doing more damage. Plague Knight is the hard mode of Shovel Knight, his attacks are harder to land, and his mobility makes normal platforming much more complicated. Other than that, Plague Knight is just the same as Shovel Knight.
Shovel Knight has tons of replayability, thanks to the relics, map, New Game Plus, and now the Plague of Shadows DLC. The relics give you different ways to explore though each level, the map works the way Mario 3 does where you can move to a level of your choosing, New Game Plus adds an extra challenge with harder enemies and more challenging feats, and Plague of Shadows is a brand new hard mode in its entirety.
Shovel Knight has become a staple in indie gaming over the past year, and Plague of Shadows is a great example of DLC. It does a good job of representing the NES era without bringing too many tropes from that era, for the most part. And with more rumored upcoming DLC, Shovel Knight has cemented his place as a superstar in the video game industry. And with that out of the way, the next blog will be my one and only Death Battle analysis for a battle I suggested, not going to say what it is, but you might be surprised.