• Kickstarter has either been the bane of existence for some people, while it’s been a savior to others looking for a way to get money to fund projects that otherwise might not have seen the light of day. Thankfully you can chalk this game up as not only a success story of Kickstarter, but also a great example of game design and it is all made by industry professionals that possess a healthy love of the medium. Shovel Knight is made by Yacht Club Games, founded by ex-WayForward members. The game even got some aid from longtime WayForward composer Jake Kaufman. They even got Mega Man music co-composer Manami Matsumae for two of the game’s levels. After what seems like an eternity since the Kickstarter, the game is finally out on the Wii U, 3DS, and PC on Steam. And the wait was worth it.

    The game plays much like many platforming games of the NES era. With a healthy inspiration from games like Mega Man 2, The Adventure of Link, Ducktales, and even some design elements from the Demon’s/Dark Souls games. As the game’s title suggests, you are a knight that fights with a shovel. You can do simple slashes to attack. Or you can do a drop attack. Depending on the object you drop onto, you can gain extra height off of your bounce to reach higher ledges or traverse obstacles like instant death spikes. One thing to remember is that once you start dropping, the only ways to get out of it is to either land on solid ground, or cancel with a shovel slash. Later on you can buy upgrades for your shovel or armor. Health and magic upgrades are also available to purchase. You can even buy relics, which are your sub-weapons. They are all hidden in the enemy knight stages, but if you miss the secret path in the level that leads to it, you can by them in the village, only at a more expensive price. But you can always replay the level and get it for the normal rate. The levels themselves are brilliantly designed, and the fantastic soundtrack only compliments this. If you die in a level, your only penalty is losing a ¬†fourth of the money you have on hand. But much like in Demon’s Souls, you get a chance to reclaim it.

    As for version differences, the Wii U version has item select switching via the Gamepad. And there is a Streetpass duel mode on the 3DS. The PSN and Xbox One versions also have cameo appearance from Kratos and the Battletoads, respectively. The Kratos fight was pretty neat, and you get a new and fun to use combat armor that can collect orbs that power attacks or recharge relic and health power. The Battletoads event is actually a whole new level that replicates the style of that game. The Armor is also combat oriented, and you can perform combo attacks and dash maneuvers. Yacht Club Games is looking into making a little easter egg for the Nintendo platforms as well, and I hope that they do, as they are nice little treats. The PC version of the game is rather vanilla in that respect, but it does have extensive gamepad support. It would be nice to see it get a cameo from another title as well. Other than that though, Shovel Knight is a terrific game that should demand any hardcore gamer’s attention. You won’t be disappointed. Buy it now. For great shovelry!

    Please note: The last paragraph of this review was updated to mention the different versions of Shovel Knight on May 18, 2015.

    Shovel Knight - Review
    A great platformer that is representative of what a good Kickstarter is capable of, and also of great game design.
    OUR SCORE9.5
    • The game has some really good controls.
    • Level Design is pretty inventive and challenging.
    • It has to end all too soon.
    9.5Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

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