Steam Game Review: Shovel Knight (2014)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Tuesday, February 3, 2015 0 comments

"Shovel Knight" is an action packed platformer that takes inspiration from old video games, most notably "Megaman (1987)" and "Ducktales (1989)".  In this game you play a character named "Shovel Knight" (yes, like the title) whom had a great life with the love of his life named "Shield Knight".  Sadly Shovel Knight loses his love after an adventure that ended with Shield Knight meeting her doom when she came in contact with a cursed item. Devastated with the loss of Shield Knight we see Shovel Knight taking a new life by living in a peaceful village.  Sadly Shovel Knight has to come out of retirement due to the entire land being taken over by seven knights with crazy abilities who are lead by the evil Enchantress.  Will Shovel Knight put an end to their take over and will he find peace in his life?  (Click "Read More" to read full review).

The story in this game was very simple but told in a great way to where it felt very full and I was impressed as this game could've easily had minimized the story details but it didn't.  One thing I liked about the story was that it has a good load of surprises and they were done right as they were fun instead of frustrating.  This game is also a tribute to everything good about the NES and you are bound to notice some neat inspirations and references from classic NES games like "Megaman (1987)" (as mentioned before) and "Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)" just to name a few. 

The biggest NES tribute this game has is with the gameplay itself as the style of this game is that of a classic "Capcom" styled action platformers in the same vein as "Megaman 3 (1990)" and "Ducktales (1989)".  Controls in this game are very tight and you will have no trouble moving around or performing your moves.  This game is also very friendly to both those that use controllers and to those that use the keyboard and that's very convenient as I don't always have a controller plugged into my computer.  You don't need to learn anything complicated as all the moves you have are: walking, jumping, attacking, and special attacking.  Special attacks can be obtained by buying them and can be used by holding the up action and attack just like in Konami's "Castlevania (1986)".  This is also one of those games where it'd be worth buying a USB version of an "NES" controller for a more authentic game play experience.

Once you have beaten the game you can start it again but with the same stats as when you ended your first game.  That's right kiddies, this game has "New Game+" and it works very well as it adds a lot of re-playability and is one of the rare games where each playthrough is just as fun (or if not more fun) than each playthrough before it.  There is also a decent amount of things to find and collect such as new power ups and music.  By "collect" I don't mean you have to go around collecting everything to the point of being boring like in the game "Banjo Kazooie (1998)" (I love that game so don't get me wrong) but rather the collecting takes place in rooms that feel like bonus stages.

Most of these collectibles can be obtained with the basic equipment but there will be some that will require upgraded gear but all rooms require some skill as they can get tricky to get though.  When you do get your equipment upgraded you'll find it to be worth it as they help add some more fun to the game and none of them were useless items...  Except for one item that I won't spoil.  Another great thing is that the levels were designed really well and all felt very unique.  Each level also has a whole bunch of secrets whether it'd be gems and health hidden in walls or secret rooms with collectables, it was fun trying to find them all.  The bosses in this game are just as unique with very fun designs and stages although some of them can get very tough but not so tough to where you'll rage out but rather keep trying until you have defeated them all.

Graphics in this game have an old-school look like that you'd see in an NES game and it was done very well as it looked very authentic to where it looks like it could be ported to NES.  Not only did it look authentic but it also sounded authentic as it has a rockin' 8-bit soundtrack that also sounded really good.  Speaking of tunes, you can find sheet music throughout every level and once you got a music sheet you can go to the main town and give them to the town musician and you'll unlock a jukebox mode.  This mode will fill up more with the more sheets you collect and as will your gold as the music player will give you gold as an award for giving him the music sheets.  Collecting the music sheets isn't necessary to listen to all the tracks though as you can just listen to the great music by just visiting the levels.  The soundtrack to this game is also available as DLC for "$9.99" in MP3 format if you want to listen to it on the go.  I normally wouldn't say something like that in a review unless it was part of the game as a special feature but I find this to be a case where I find that worthy to note down, especially if you are a Megaman fan as one of the composers of the soundtrack is "Manami Matsumae" (whom worked on the soundtrack to the original Megaman).

Overall this is a great game and an instant classic with great gameplay, music, graphics and barely any bad to be found, you'll have to DIG deep to find something to dislike about this game (sorry for the cheesy writing there).  I'm easily going to recommend this game but it's also difficult to recommend as by the end of this review you'll already have bought the game (sorry again for more cheese but I can't help it).  It would be very nice to see this game ported to the NES in the future although there'll have to be some corners cut for it to work.  What are you waiting for?  Play this game.  Great game.

Game: Shovel Knight
System: PC
Developer/Publisher: Yacht Club Games
Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer, Neo-Retro
Price: $14.99 (Steam)
Recommended: Yes


Post a Comment