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Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 131 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: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Nov 24, 2014
    100
    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.
  2. 100
    But more than anything else, Shovel Knight oozes personality and charm more than any game I’ve played in recent memory.
  3. 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.
  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. Nov 10, 2014
    85
    Shovel Knight is a well-made action platformer. Old school gamers will love it.
  6. Nov 18, 2014
    83
    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.
  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 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  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. Expand
  2. 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
  3. 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. Expand
  4. 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. Collapse
  5. Nov 26, 2014
    9
    Awesome game in the vein of Mega Man and Castlevania, with catchy music and just plain fun gameplay. One of the best indies in the last year hands down. Expand
  6. 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.
    Expand
  7. 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

See all 30 User Reviews

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