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Shovel Knight Video Game Review

Reviewed by on Jul 07, 2014
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Shovel Knight is a retro gamers dream come true. The best parts of some of the best NES games rolled into one awesome package. Read Kidzworlds review of Shovel Knight for Wii U, 3DS and PC.

Retro Done Right

If retro games are your cup of tea then butter some crumpets because Shovel Knight, is one of the best retro games out there.

Shovel Knight is a new game for Nintendo Wii U, 3DS and PC. With nods to some of the best the NES had to offer. A world map ripped right out of one of the all time greats, Super Mario Bros. 3. Eight themed levels, each with their own Boss Knight to fight ala the blue bomber series, Mega Man. A shovel weapon that allows you to pogo on enemies and objects akin to the much revered, Duck Tales. This game is retro through and through yet manages to feel fresh and new. 

This funny fellow will be a great ally on your quest.This funny fellow will be a great ally on your quest.Courtesy of Yacht Club Games

Shovel Knight's adventure begins after he and his companion of arms, Shield Knight, fall to a dark magic encased in an emulate. An emulate found while exploring the Tower of Fate. Shovel Knight awakens alone. Shield Knight is nowhere to be found. The Tower Of Fate is now sealed up. And a new threat looms. The Enchantress is taking over and spreading gloom and doom.

It's up to Shovel Knight to defeat the Enchantress's 8 evil Knights. Find and rescue Shield Knight. And bring peace and happiness back to the land.

Black Knight...friend or foe?Black Knight...friend or foe?Courtesy of Yacht Club Games

Shovel Knight exudes its retro vibe on every facet. The visuals adhere to the same color palette available to NES game artists and the soundtrack is also comprised of original chip-tunes, which are really rad and could indeed also play on the limited NES cartridge. There's a few modern touches here and there but overall it wears its 8-bit influences with pride.

While the visuals are crisp, colorful and overall quite wonderful, it's the sharp as nails gameplay that sets it above many of its counterparts. Shovel Knight feels like a melee Mega Man at times. And that's awesome. Every jump, shovel pogo and slash is as responsive as you could want. It's pure 2D side scrolling action-platforming.

Creative level designs and enemies keep your senses sharp.Creative level designs and enemies keep your senses sharp.Courtesy of Yacht Club Games

At the end of each varied level you'll have to face one of The Enchantress's 8 Boss Knights. Propeller Knight, Polar Knight, Plague Knight, Mole Knight, Tinker Knight, Treasure Knight, King Knight, and Specter Knight. Each has their own challenging pattern to master and as if defeating them once solo was not enough, you'll have to face each and every one of them again in succession before finally battling The Enchantress herself.

Luckily you'll be able to level up Shovel Knight's health bar and magic meter. You can also equip different weapons and items. For example, Shovel Knight can be equipped with a set of heavy gauntlets that allow him to punch through dirt, rock and of course enemies. Or he can be equipped with the Flare Rod which sends a fire ball hurtling at distant threats. Not all items are offensive though. The Phase Locket allows Shovel Knight to become invulnerable for a few seconds which comes in handy during the more chaotic enemy projectile moments.

Just the early portion of the fantastic world map.Just the early portion of the fantastic world map.Courtesy of Yacht Club Games

As you adventure across the world map, other roaming thrill seekers, who may or may not have the wrong impression of you, will engage you in combat as well. Like the 8 main bosses, each of these foes come packing a punch, keeping you on your toes as you decipher their pattern. These wanderers randomly scurry around the world map after each death or level completion, snother nod to Super Mario Bros. 3. Speaking of death, each time you bite the bullet you drop the treasure you had collected up till that point. You can then attempt to retrienve it on your next life. It adds a little extra layer of consequence to dying.

If I have one complaint with Shovel Knight. It's simply that there isn't more of the game for me to enjoy. But what is here is excellent and it stil took me a good few hours to complete on my first play though. And now that I have completed it. There is a New Game Plus mode for me to attempt to conquer as well as certain in-game challenges. Like beating the game in 1.5 hours. Or making it through levels without taking a hit. So there is definitely some replayability here.

You'll come across some scary mid level mini bosses.You'll come across some scary mid level mini bosses.Courtesy of Yacht Club Games

Final Thoughts

Shovel Knight, from Yacht Club Games, is a must play for retro 2D game fans. Or just flat out, fans of fun games. It's gameplay is crisp and fast. The level design is sharp and imaginative with just the right amount of challenge. The writing is fun and the music tracks are top notch chip tune. Shovel Knight is easily one of the best of its kind.

Shovel Knight Video Game Rating: 5

Available now for Nintendo Wii U, 3DS and PC

Shovel Knight Release Trailer


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