Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Dec 9, 2014
    One of those games that just blows your mind at how good it actually is.
  2. Nov 24, 2014
    It's hard to find something to complain about in Shovel Knight because it does everything it sets out to do perfectly - to an impeccable standard.
  3. Jul 9, 2014
    It deserves wholeheartedly to be on a list of nominees later this year. Play Shovel Knight. It is a damn delight.
  4. 100
    But more than anything else, Shovel Knight oozes personality and charm more than any game I’ve played in recent memory.
  5. Jun 26, 2014
    Shovel Knight is one of the best platformers I've ever played, period.
  6. 94
    I can’t help but love Shovel Knight. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of why I love gaming; the joy I felt as a kid playing games in a time when graphics and hardware didn’t matter. While paying tribute to the classics, Shovel Knight still feels unique with fantastic level designs that are extremely challenging and rewarding to complete.
  7. Jun 26, 2014
    Old school gamers will love Shovel Knight’s retro sensibilities, but they’ll also appreciate its modern touches.
  8. Jun 30, 2014
    This game is a true classic, and hopefully the first of many more to come from Yacht Club Games. Bravo.
  9. Dec 15, 2014
    This is one of the best games of 2014.
  10. Dec 8, 2014
    Bringing back all that made older classics into unforgettable games and pushing aside all their technology constraints using modern methods of game design, Shovel Knight is the perfect flagship of a piece of retrgaming made in the 21st century.
  11. Nov 11, 2014
    Shovel Knight is a great challenging game, not only for retro gamers but for anyone who loves platform games. With brilliant level design and music, Shovel Knight is THE game to download on the Nintendo eShop.
  12. Aug 24, 2014
    This is an absolute gem. [Oct 2014, p.76]
  13. Jun 26, 2014
    Shovel Knight isn't just inspired by 8-bit classics, it is inspired in and of itself.
  14. Jun 26, 2014
    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.
  15. Jun 26, 2014
    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.
  16. Nov 10, 2014
    Shovel Knight is a well-made action platformer. Old school gamers will love it.
  17. Jun 27, 2014
    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.
  18. Nov 18, 2014
    It is a labor of love and homage to classics of the 8-bit-era, where the badass difficulty level of Mega Man is combined with the mystical design of Gargoyles Quest and a catchy chiptune soundtrack.
  19. Nov 20, 2014
    Shovel Knight is a heartfelt homage to the NES days, with tight gameplay, simple but effective 8bit-ish graphics and a killer soundtrack. It could use a couple of levels more and additional game modes.
  20. Jul 11, 2014
    It’s very clever and exceptionally well-designed, but it’s not a wildly innovative game, and in the years to come I’m not sure it will be as fondly remembered as the games that inspired it.
  21. Jun 26, 2014
    Shovel Knight is an exceptionally well-made action platformer, one worthy of being celebrated far beyond the nostalgic foundation it's built upon. Shovel Knight won't be the last old school game made in the modern age, but it's unlikely many others will be as much fun.
  22. Nov 17, 2014
    A nice and stylish retro-fest, at it's best on the Wii U GamePad.
  23. Jun 26, 2014
    Shovel Knight is a pretty stellar homage to simpler times, but it’s so unabashedly an homage that it never steps out of the shadows cast by the components it’s built from—DuckTales, Mega Man, Simon’s Quest. And while derivative doesn’t necessarily mean bad—far from it in Shovel Knight’s case—it certainly doesn’t make it any less pandering in a lot of ways.
  24. Jun 26, 2014
    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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 159 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. Jun 26, 2014
    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 deliversYES 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. Full Review »
  2. Jun 26, 2014
    Each year there are a plethora of indie titles, many of them which are naturally described as “a love letter
    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.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 26, 2014
    Shovel Knight captures the charm from the old fashion games of the NES, the game combines the adventurous dungeon exploring style ofShovel Knight captures the charm from the old fashion games of the NES, the game combines the adventurous dungeon exploring style of Castlevania with the challenging platforming of Megaman, however unlike most of the indies games who also take influence from older Shovel Knight doesn't feel like a direct ripoff of this but it holds up it's own personality. The characters are likable, the retro 16-bit art-style is outstanding, the music is catchy and the level design is fluid as it demands the player to gather skill as the he goes through the game.

    Definitively a must buy.
    Full Review »