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88

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.2

Universal acclaim- based on 58 Ratings

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  • Summary: Shovel Knight is a sweeping classic action adventure game with memorable characters and an 8-bit retro aesthetic created by Yacht Club Games. You play as the eponymous Shovel Knight, a small knight with a huge quest. Shovel Knight has come to this valley with two goals: to defeat the evil Enchantress and save his lost beloved. He wields a ShovelBlade; a multipurpose weapon whose techniques have now been lost to the ages. Always honest and helpful, Shovel Knight is a shining example of the code of Shovelry: Slash Mercilessly and Dig Tirelessly. However, between Shovel Knight and his beloved stands a cadre of villainous knights. These terrible foes, known as The Order of No Quarter, have been dispatched to prevent Shovel Knight from reaching the Enchantress at any cost. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Jul 9, 2014
    100
    It deserves wholeheartedly to be on a list of nominees later this year. Play Shovel Knight. It is a damn delight.
  2. 100
    But more than anything else, Shovel Knight oozes personality and charm more than any game I’ve played in recent memory.
  3. Jun 26, 2014
    95
    Shovel Knight is one of the best platformers I've ever played, period.
  4. Jun 26, 2014
    90
    Yacht Club Games has a hit on its hands with Shovel Knight. With brilliant game design, charming presentation and a ton of content, this is a wonderful first title from the fledgling developer.
  5. Jun 26, 2014
    88
    Indie throwbacks to video games of the early ‘80s are a dime a dozen, but Yacht Club Games successfully rises to the top. The tried-and-true game design principles and elegant checkpoint system make Shovel Knight worth a try no matter which era of gaming you prefer.
  6. Jun 27, 2014
    85
    Shovel Knight is a great example of the importance of Kickstarter. The result here is a satisfying, accessible, quality product which not only rivals but also exceeds many superproductions from other companies, notably bigger, that not always reach this level of inspiration.
  7. Jun 26, 2014
    70
    Shovel Knight is a memorable re-imagining of what I grew up with, but doesn't have the longevity or inventiveness to be great in its own right.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Jul 2, 2014
    10
    Definitely my favorite game of 2014 so far. The 8-bit inspired graphics look amazing, they wouldn't be able to run this game on an original NES for sure. The gameplay is outstanding, it combines the aspects of great games into one, but creating something completely original. It is also very hard, but in a good way. No deaths because of unfair controls or something, it just take your skill in account. The story and characters are also amazing, and in my opinion in the Wii U version is the best one since the nintendo d-pad is perfect for platformers and the dual-screen mecanic works really well. If you like old-school games,you'll love this game. If you're don't like old-school games, you'll still enjoy this a lot. Shovel Knight will definely be a candidate for game of the year. Expand
  2. Jun 26, 2014
    10
    YES YES YES just YES this is indie gamming prime. thanks to all the backers who made this possible, even tough it got delayed it now delivers a full, rich experience with 8+ hours on the first playtrough. Expand
  3. Jul 4, 2014
    10
    this is one of the best games retro inspired games I've played in a while, it really feels like it was a classic brought back from the 80's. Of course the things you could do in the game you could never do on the hardware limitations of the NES, but still. The game has great controls, a heart felt story told through well drawn pixel art cut scenes, and a huge over world with tons of levels to explore and bosses to defeat. I highly recommend this game. Expand
  4. Jul 26, 2014
    10
    An absolutely incredible tribute to what made retro games so great. It does so many things well on top of that and I still find it hard to describe what exactly makes it so great. A lot of the mechanics are derived from classic NES titles- magic items are a play on castlevania's item system(a few are direct copies) the level design is certainly megaman inspired, down to the league of robot bosses-er knights... the shovel bounce is the same as the ducktales cane bounce... I could go on, but the point is that the game is a masterful blend of the best retro games have to offer. The art I could talk about for days alone. It certainly is 8-bit, but has a wider color palette and just massages your eyeballs. Sound design is also fantastic. There are a whopping 48(!) tracks to make your adventure more diverse. Jake Kaufman's work is masterful and certainly left his mark on this brilliant game. As a masterful chip artist, Kaufman's work on the track is 100% playable on the NES, an amazing feat, I must say. Even the composer of the original Meg a Man, Manami Matsumae made a track for the game, which is just another fantastic fan service. The game itself didn't take me too long to complete, around 6 hours is all it took. I won't say this detracts from the game at all though, it felt like a complete experience to me and I couldn't be happier with my purchase. If you have the opportunity to pick this game up, do yourself a favor and relive the past! Expand
  5. Jun 27, 2014
    10
    Abstract:
    This game is good and you should buy it.

    Actual Review:
    I feel like there may be some criticism of this game on the basis that
    the second play through does not offer much. However, I am still going to give this game a 10 for the 5 to 8 hours that it does provide. I felt thoroughly immersed in Shovel Knight's quirky world and I really felt like I was on an adventure; this is a sensation I may have never before felt in a 2D platformer with the possible rose-tinted nostalgic exception of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.

    It is the little touches that does it: the themed level designs, the weird villagers, the goofy dialog before boss fights, certain playful enemy designs, and the little camping scenes after levels that give you a concept of the passing of time. It all serves to draw you into the world and gives the game a distinct tone and ethos.

    All that aside, the fundamental gameplay is rock-solid if perhaps a little on the easy side for a veteran. The new game plus ratchets up the difficulty a little bit, but I still could beat any section of a stage within 3 tries in general or 6 tries in the one or two most extreme cases (the boss rush and another section of the last few stages). I was still enjoying myself though, so I hesitate to even call this a drawback exactly.

    I just wish there were more game. I look forward to the Order of No Quarter play-throughs as Plague Knight, King Knight, and Specter Knight. I feel like that more or less addresses any problems I have with replay value. And frankly, I feel like the most negative reviews I have seen for this game, neglect considering the prospect of additional content when admonishing the game for lack of replay-ability (though I do recognize that it is their job to review the product at hand). Perhaps I am being overly optimistic, but it is hard not to be optimistic about those expansions having seen the quality of the content already present.

    So yeah: This game is awesome and I am excited for more shovel knight in the coming months.

    If you like 2D platformers then this game is a must buy in my book.
    Expand
  6. Jun 30, 2014
    9
    Shovel Knight is a blessing in a year that seems like it is going to be underwhelming. This game is mainly a platformer that has elements of action-adventure. Each level is unique with lots of hidden secrets which makes you want to play through multiple times. The game can be challenging at times but there are lots of checkpoints in each level so you never have to start from the beginning. Each time you die you lose a portion of your treasure but the game gives you the opportunity to reclaim that treasure as long as you don't die again. If you don't like the graphics, platforming games, or a good challenge then Shovel Knight isn't the game for you. I'm really not big on indie games but I've really enjoyed Shovel Knight and recommend it to everyone. Expand
  7. Jun 26, 2014
    9
    HE BEST MEGAMAN GAME EVER MADE
    Each year there are a plethora of indie titles, many of them which are naturally described as “a love letter
    to classic gaming”. These games, like Mercenary Kings or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Videogame, try their best to recreate the magic of the NES or SNES era. However, while these other titles attempt to mimic the unique style of these classic titles, Shovel Knight is one of the only ones able to systematically reimagine and perfect the experience. In short, Shovel Knight is a must-get if you are or have ever been a classic gamer.

    Shovel Knight Campfire

    Shovel Knight began as a Kickstarter campaign by Yacht Club Games in March of last year. The crowdfunding drive was immediately met with critical praise internet-wide and was quickly funded, surpassing most every stretch goal. The obvious question quickly became “Is there any way that Shovel Knight can meet the hype surrounding it?”

    I’m here to answer that question today with a resounding “Yes!”

    Shovel Knight is of course the tale of blue, spade-toting warrior who is pitted against the major villains of his world: The Enchantress and The Order of No Quarter. The game could easily be described as a Megaman/Metroidvania-esque platformer with a lot more up its sleeve.

    While this is Yacht Club Games’ first title, they clearly are fluent in the basic mechanics of classic games and what people loved about them. For instance, just like some of the most noteworthy classics (Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man X), Shovel Knight begins with no tutorial — instead it starts with a quick story and a gameplay-centered learning experience. While most indie titles will bog you down with the “how-to’s”, Shovel Knight knows that any proper way to teach a game is done through gameplay.

    Shovel Knight Intro

    This is only one way where Shovel Knight brings the best components of older games and uses them as it’s own. To name a few extra, the game utilizes overworld maps (Super Mario World), unique collectable weapons (Legend of Zelda and Metroid), hidden secrets and areas scattered throughout every area (Castlevania), and systematic weapon and armor upgrades (Megaman X). While I can go on for more than an hour about this, I would recommend you take a swing at the game and test it out yourself.

    While Yacht Club Games has been able to meticulously pick out the best characteristics of old titles, they have also reimagined the “classic gaming” experience to near perfection. Instead of having stock lives and game over screens, Shovel Knight takes the modern approach (best described as Rayman Legends meets Dark Souls) where dying is a mere inconvenience — sending you back to the last checkpoint and momentarily docking your collection of jewels unless you are able to get back to the same point and collect them. This acts as a perfect way to constantly keep gameplay rolling while still incentivizing players to stay alive.

    Additionally, the gameplay mechanics of the game are spot on. I am a big critic of platformers with poor mechanics (I’m looking at you Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze and LittleBigPlanet), however Shovel Knight’s mechanics feel fluid from the get-go. Within minutes of picking up a controller, classic and casual gamers alike will instantly understand what each control does and how to use it.

    Shovel Knight Skelly

    Last but not least, I would be remiss without mentioning that Yacht Club Games know how to fully utilize achievements. “But Lou!” you say, “Nintendo platforms don’t have achievements!” Doesn’t matter — Yacht Club Games made sure to add a “Feats” checklist to every version of the game which are unlockable, despite overarching achievement/trophy support. Further, these feats help to incentivize new play styles instead of acting as mere benchmarks of progress in the game.

    The game is worth checking out for more reasons that I can name: pristine level design, the constant awful puns, the beautiful sprite models, the randomly occurring events in the overworld. As I mentioned before, I could go on for hours.

    If you are looking for which system to get this Indie title on, I highly recommend the Wii U. While I played the game on all three platforms (Wii U, 3DS, and PC), the Off-TV play, seamless framerate, quick-select of options, multi-controller support, and Miiverse support [will update as it becomes available] makes it easily the best experience. While the 3DS supports StreetPass Battle Arena and a 3D experience, it doesn’t ever seem better than the PC version. No matter what system you pick up Steam Knight on, you are guaranteed a great experience.

    The Verdict: 9.4 out of 10
    Yacht Club Games has proven that they are more fluent in both classic and current game mechanics than most other developers. Shovel Knight not only acts as a love letter to classic gaming, but also the perfection of it. Whether you enjoy indie titles or not, the $15 price tag is well worth the 10-15+ hour experience.
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See all 18 User Reviews