After almost a year of badgering from some of my closest friends, I decided to give Shovel Knight a go on my Wii U. At first I was hesitant, regardless of how good I heard Shovel Knight was. Reason being? Many of the modern day 8-bit and 16-bit style DLC games just haven't really done it for me. There was always a part of it that felt incredibly overdone, wasn't challenging enough, or they just flat out weren't that much fun. Shovel Knight is not like the rest. This was easily one of the best gaming experiences that I've ever had.
In Shovel Knight you take on the role of... Shovel Knight. Your beloved companion Shield Knight was cursed by an amulet while exploring the Tower of Fate. Now it's up to you and your trusty shovel to bash your way through beautifully landscaped levels in order to take down the evil Enchantress, the Order of No Quarter, and Black Knight in order to restore peace to the land and reunite with ya girl.
Right away you will notice that Shovel Knight has beautifully constructed graphics. I have not seen an 8-bit style game that looks as beautiful as Shovel Knight (of course the HD resolution helps). The graphics and sprite animations are incredibly crisp and clean. Not only that, but the controls are some of the tightest that I've experienced. If you meet your fate one way or another, it's all on you- not some shoddy programming! The soundtrack to Shovel Knight is out of this world and lends itself wonderfully to each stage in the game. I mean, just take a listen to Mole Knight's stage. Holy... wait for it.... mole-y.
The difficulty of Shovel Knight is spot on. There are many intricate platforming sections that can pose a decent challenge. However, you do have unlimited continues. When you die you lose a certain amount of your treasure, and if you return back to the area in which you died you can collect it all back and continue on with your journey. During each main stage there are checkpoints. Do your best to reach said checkpoints, and you won't have too much trouble getting through the game if you have some will power. Or, of course, if you're a masochist you can go ahead and destroy your checkpoints for more treasure.
Shovel Knight is essentially a linear game. Throughout each of the stages there are many hidden treasures and paths to take which offer some great variety as you go along. There are many health, magic, weapon, and armor upgrades throughout the game which helps keep things fresh and gives you goals to work towards. In between the Order of No Quarter levels are certain stages that require you to use power ups to get through them. For example: there's a stage where you must use your flying sword attack to traverse through it's many twists and turns. Little things like this give Shovel Knight that extra umph. It's just never stale!
Most importantly? This game is a blast. I beat this game in 2 sittings and spent roughly 6 hours in doing so. A regular 6 hour game might take me 5-8 sittings depending on how I'm feeling. That just goes to show you how Shovel Knight grasped me from the first moment I fired it up, right up until the end credits.
If you were to throw Duck Tales, Mega Man, and Castlevania into a blender (and have the main character become a shovel wielding knight)... you would get Shovel Knight. Need I say more? Shovel Knight is available on basically every major console. Do yourself a favor and play this immediately if you are a fan of retro platformers. Don't make my mistake of waiting a whole fricken' year!