Shovel Knight Review
Shovel Knight debuted its 8-bit style platformer on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PC back in 2014 and received acclaimed reviews and acknowledgement for the retro style game. Now we get Shovel Knight on the XBOX One with a bit of bonus content from the first release last year. Yacht Club Games did a fantastic job in developing this Super Mario Bros., Castlevania and Mega Man inspired game and received a lot of support from the community when they announced Battletoads would also make an appearance.
Shovel Knight’s story focuses on two heroes, Shovel Knight and Shield Knight, who have defended their land from evil with great success. By defending their land, they have collected a massive amount of gold but the money and fame hasn’t lasted long as there is a female ally that disappears mysteriously.
You will be fighting against The Order of No Quarter, an elite set of corrupted knights in an attempt to reach their leader. The Leader of the Order of No Quarter also has a connection to Shield. You will spend the next several hours doing this and getting to each boss as you make your way to Plague Knight, King Knight and Mole Knight with each boss having its own themed level to get through. The good thing about going through this world map is you do not have to go in any particular order, so it really doesn’t matter which boss you take out first.
Shovel Knight’s gameplay progresses from left to right in a similar way to a typical platformer across a two-dimensional world. Your most trustworthy ally is your shovel as you are required to use it for any digging of treasure but also attacking your enemies with it. Your shovel can be upgraded as you progress through the story to improve your basic swing attacks. The shovel is also used to bounce off of enemies and other objects to get to an even higher platform or ledge within the level. Using these mechanics can take some getting used to but that is what the early levels are for to work out any of the kinks.
Shovel Knight is a hard game to get through, that must be noted for those that look at difficulty in a game. It’s hard but fair, and for the most part its manageable but every now and then you will hit a section that can be a bit cheap and frustrating but this only happens from time to time. As attractive as it can be to slash and destroy everything in the game with your sword, you should be warned to keep all the checkpoints fully intact instead of looting them for gold. Once they are destroyed you won’t be able to use that checkpoint any longer and with the difficulty of the game the way it is you should be aware of all the checkpoints you have or you will be going back further than you would want to after dying.
You don’t have any lives in the game so once you die, you lose a bit of gold and go to your last checkpoint, which is why the checkpoints are so important. Other than that you can die as long as you have gold and continue to go back to your last area you checked into. You will be allowed to re-collect your lost gold once you reach the point of your original death.
Now onto the bonus content that Xbox One received, The Battletoads!
Getting Pimple, Rash and Zitz in the game will take some work though as you are required to complete a double secret before you can see their faces. The first part of the secret is in the Hall of Champions, on the far right side of the first floor. You need to break through a wall and in that room you will find a chest that contains a Music Sheet. Once you have collected that, you will now move to the right hand side of this room and conduct a down attack. This will bring you down into another room that contains a map with the Battletoads symbol on it. Grab this map and you will unlock the Toads to roam through the worlds waiting for Shovel Knight to bump into them. Enjoy finding them in the story now as they prep you with training to enhance your abilities.
Shovel Knight is one of the best indie games out on Xbox One and possibly best indie games on other consoles as well. Its not perfect and can be very difficult and frustrating at times, its also beautiful with the 8-bit, pixel style graphics that are still crisp and colorful. The music brings us back to the older days of gaming with a nostalgic feeling and experience you get the tune music we grew up with from Mario Bros. and other platformer games.
Shovel Knight is available now on XBOX One for $14.99.