User Score
8.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 77 out of 85
  2. Negative: 7 out of 85

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  1. 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.
  2. 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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  3. Jun 26, 2014
    10
    Shovel Knight is the type of game that comes once every 20 years or so. The last time I played a game which was able to invoke such awestruck wonder and emotion from me was back in the early '90s when I played Mega Man 3 for the first time. This game is what we would call a masterpiece. A masterpiece that will certainly be talked about decades from now, as titles such as Mega Man 1-3, Super Mario World and Zelda A Link to the Past are talked about today. Not only does Shovel Knight exceed all expectations, it actually manages to go toe to toe with the Capcom and Nintendo classics of old. Had this game released back in the late '80s or early '90s, it would most likely be regarded as one of the greatest video games of the retro era. What more can I say? Expand
  4. Jun 26, 2014
    9
    Shovel 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.
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  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.
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  6. Jun 30, 2014
    10
    The oldschool platformer I didn't know I was waiting for. I try the odd indie title and I'm usually not too impressed, however, Shovel Knight is a fantastic game with a genuine oldschool feel. It takes the best elements of the NES games I played growing up and combines them seemlessly into a very enjoyable game. Everything from the graphics, the soundtrack, and the overall feel of the game is authentic to the retro genre. Expand
  7. 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
  8. Jul 17, 2014
    10
    Este juego debe ser considerado el heredero de toda una generación de videojugadores. Como nunca este juego es el más grande homenaje a la NES. Definitivamente se puede considerar como una legítima secuela de juegos tan clásicos como duck tales, megaman, castlevania e incluso zelda y mario bros 3, así de grande es este juego independiente, gracias Yacht Club. No sé si sea tan encantador para aquellos que no nacieron en la gen de 8bits. Expand
  9. Jul 11, 2014
    10
    Wow, totally worth the money, As a old gamer, this game rock. Everything from the old scholl game is there. Music, graphics, playabilities. Take a look if your a gamer from era 90
  10. Aug 7, 2014
    10
    Yacht Club did such an amazing job with this game. It gives the nostalgia off the NES (if you had one back then) and it does it by it's classic-style game play. If you like Mega-Man, Link's Adventure, and other 8-bit adventures, then this is for you.
  11. Jul 2, 2014
    10
    This game is everything great about the 8bit era of platformers. It borrows from all the best games while retaining a style and humor all its own, making it one of the best 8bit revival games out there. The soundtrack kicks ass, and the design is top notch. This game as it stands is amazing, but there is so much down the pipeline for it in the form of free updates it is easily a must buy.

    The Miiverse integration that is unique to the Wii U is just amazing. Dubbed the "diggers Diary" the can be brought up on the gamepad at anytime during play and it will sort miiverse posts to show only posts that were made in the exact same room or section of the level that you are currently in. Its like being on the couch with the whole fanbase giving you tips and encouragement! This is all packaged in a nice 8-bit format that fits right in with the games style.

    The WiiU version of the game in my opinion is going to be the definitive version of the game, pick it up with the community is still hot!
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  12. Sep 18, 2014
    9
    I was waiting for the UK release of this on the WiiU, but couldn't wait so bought it on Steam instead. It is amazing. By a long shot the best indie game I have played (including Minecraft). It is simultaneously a homage to the 8 bit era of gaming, while somehow managing to seem fresh and new. I think most of all I love it because this level of attention to detail is not really present in many modern games (outside of Japan anyway). It is difficult without being too frustrating, gives you enough freedom of character skills without sacrificing level consistency and the controls are elegant and responsive. For the price it is a fair length too. Highly recommended. Expand
  13. Jul 5, 2014
    10
    GREAT GAME. Seriously. If you are a retro gaming fan and have any liking of Megaman at all, you owe it to yourself to get this. Just do it. Trust me on this one.
  14. Jul 7, 2014
    9
    Retro games nowadays are a dime a dozen, but I have never played a single one that managed to capture the magic as well as Shovel Knight. Breathtaking pixel art and epic chiptune music are ever-present, but the title's greatest victory is how it mixes great game design decisions of the past with those of modern times, throwing out the window pretty much all the chaff.

    Truth be told,
    Shovel Knight is way more than what good old NES could handle graphically, with beautiful parallax backgrounds, dozens of different colors on display at any given time, and no slowdown or flickering to be heard of. This is one of its triumphs: it doesn't try to emulate the old feeling of playing a great NES game by bombarding us with that console's shortcomings, just for the sake of nostalgia. Instead, it is an absolute greatest hits collection of features, and it's so expertly crafted that it ends up feeling like its own game.

    The game is a 2D adventure platformer, and one of the good ones. It doesn't spend too much time teaching you the basics, instead allowing you to discover them as you go. There is an overworld map where you can access main stages, villages, wandering foes, and bonus levels. There is a lot of treasure to dig up, which in turn allows you to purchase upgrades to your life, magic, weapon, and armor. There are collectible music sheets representing each of the game's beautiful tracks, hidden in every corner of the map, which should be taken to a bard in the first village (who will reward you for them and play them back whenever you like). And of course, there is the story, which is simple and yet effective, with humorous segments and poignant ones. Simply put, everything is in its right place and there's lots to do and see, even if the sheer quality of what's on display makes you wish the game was a tad bit longer (it took me a little under nine hours to get everything).

    The main progression sees you battling through stages with the objective of besting the eight member knights of the Order of No Quarter, before getting to access the Tower of Fate, where the game's main villain lies in waiting. The level design here is, in one word, astounding. Each stage has its own theme, being always challenging, yet fair, and finding a neat middle ground between the ruthlessness of old sidescrollers and the forgivingness of recent ones. Lives are unlimited, but dying will set you back to the latest checkpoint, causing you to lose a chunk of your precious treasure in the process (which you can get back if you reach the same point without dying again).

    Aside from treasure and music sheets, each main stage also holds a new weapon. Those aren't simply rehashes of Mega Man or Castlevania items, instead being an eclectic and creative mix of useful special abilities. There are some hits and some duds, but all of them feel fresh.

    Simply put, Shovel Knight doesn't feel like a homage; it feels like an actual lost NES game that has the advantage of being in touch with modern game design. It does what it sets out to do in almost flawless fashion, and manages to overcome barriers imposed by different gaming eras. Whether you experienced old NES games or not, this is a game that simply should not be missed.

    Rating: 9.5
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  15. 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
  16. Jul 2, 2014
    10
    This is an incredible game that respects and recreates the fundamentals of gaming's roots. It draws its aspirations from Zelda 2, Megaman, Mario 3, and Ducktales, but has so many creative concepts to form its own identity.

    The environments and characters have so much detail and personality to them, it's suprising and fresh to see that level of detail in an NES 8-bit styled game. Mostly
    because it treats its genre (8-bit retro game) with the utmost respect and seriousness. There's no stupid gimmicks or references or winks to remind the player they're playing an 8-bit NES style game: the style is used to deliver a genuine oldschool experience with a straight face and the best of intentions.

    The music is amazing, catchy, and fits each theme very well. Jake Kaufman is a brilliant composer and his experience truly shines here, as it has when creating/remixing music for other games he's worked on (Contra 4, Ducktales Remastered, Shantae, etc).

    The challenge has the perfect gradual shift throughout the entire game. It starts off normal enough, then consistently increases in challenge until the very end. While you can improve Shovel Knight with new upgrades and abilities, as the player you will feel your own skill increase as you become familiar with how Shovel Knight handles ingame and learn to use him and his abilities much more efficiently. It's a magical learning curve that I haven't experienced since having played games from the golden age when I was a kid back in the 90's.

    Regardless of what console you purchase this on, it is a fantastic game in its own right, and provides an incredibly genuine experience and challenge that so many games are lacking nowadays. Perfect 10 out of 10.
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  17. Sep 9, 2014
    9
    very fun game, one of the best indie games of all time, this game remember the god times of metroid, ghost in globins, megaman and the epic games of my nintendo 8bits
    buy if you have wiiU
  18. Sep 27, 2014
    10
    Look too many people have said what I want to say so I will say this. If you don't have a 3ds, WiiU or pc then you are missing out. Even if you don't know the nostalgic hits these reviewers are mentioning I can still guarantee you that you will love this game. Worth the price and the replay value is high. Story is great and soundtrack is 8 bit immersion at its best. I wont write long so I will say just give this game a try you wont be disappointed Expand
  19. 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
  20. Jul 10, 2014
    9
    Shovel Knight in my opinion was a absolute great game. I liked seeing the old 8-bit graphics and using actions in the game that reminded me of great classics like Megaman, Duck tales, super mario bros 3, and even kirby's dreamland. It was very fun and had a fair amount of content. I also liked the cheat codes when you start a new profile you can enter certain codes as your name to unlock special ways of playing the game by the way there's 300! For $14.99 anyone who likes 8-bit classics,indie games, or someone who likes adventure games its a must have.
    cheat codes BBPOXDRR Fast Speed plus armor changes color whenever damaged
    TNFCGUGO Start with 99,999 gold, can pogo bounce off of ground, enemies do 4x damage
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  21. Jul 17, 2014
    10
    Solid, replay value is there, and it brings joy to me and my kids when we play it. We get in some tight spots when trying to do the feats, but frustration can be a very welcome part to a game. Where's the fun in finishing something straight away. Great game go buy it.
  22. 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
  23. Aug 6, 2014
    0
    While there is some value I'm certain many of those reading this can find I cannot this is due to a) me being a new gamer and not having an idea of what this is based off if making it seem like either a total rip off to something heavily inspired I can't connect to b) graphics like these tend to make me nauseous this is something of an issue I have and can take me out of the game a lot c) this was overhyped and for reasons I've mentioned above did not deliver c) the difficulty is inconsistent making a lot of the already rather awkward controls and level design feel more well awkward I would go on but this short game isn't really worth my time and please note my actual score would be a 3 now please note I have played the 3ds and PC versions of the game (all PC but only tried 3ds) the reason I'm putting this on the wii u is because this game is extremely overhyped and needs to be taken back by quite a bit Expand
  24. Sep 4, 2014
    10
    9.2

    This game not only pays respect to its obvious influences it also does them better. It will put a smile on your face the whole time, even during the difficult sections. After beating it I was so bummed that it wasn't longer which leads to the issue of a game like this. Developers don't want it to be too long/overwhelming to the player, but once they have them hooked it is
    disappointing when its over. Hopefully the next one will be longer, but this first iteration deserves all the hype behind it. Its a shame that people won't give it a chance because its not shiny with guns. But of course if your reading this then you are probably smarter than the average "gamer". Expand
  25. Sep 17, 2014
    10
    Absolutely loved it! The controls are tight, the music awesome and the overall game amazing. It's like a combination between Megaman, Ducktales, Castlevania, and Mario 3. And really, there's nothing that I don't like about it! 10/10
Metascore
88

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Aug 24, 2014
    90
    This is an absolute gem. [Oct 2014, p.76]
  2. 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.
  3. Jul 11, 2014
    80
    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.