Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 44 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: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Jul 9, 2014
    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
    Shovel Knight is one of the best platformers I've ever played, period.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Jun 30, 2014
    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
  2. 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 delivers a full, rich experience with 8+ hours on the first playtrough. Expand
  3. Jul 2, 2014
    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.
  4. Jun 27, 2014
    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.
  5. Jun 26, 2014
    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
  6. Jun 30, 2014
    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
    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.

See all 15 User Reviews