Shovel Knight is a 2D platformer in which the graphics featured are of an 8 bit style. Players take the role of Shovel Knight who after losing his comrade Shield Knight has gone into isolation. But now monsters and evil knights control the land. All of them under the hand of the evil Enchantress, and only you can stop them and free the land. So boys and girls, erm men and women, this is Shovel Knight, the retro hero.
Shovel Knight has his trusty shovel he can use to attack his foes. He can even destroy objects and dig up treasure. He also has a bouncing feature similar to that of the retro game DuckTales. The game features many different enemies ranging from skeletons to toads, mini-bosses like dragons, and giant skeletons to take your shovel up against. The game has several bosses that play very differently from one another. Every time death consumes Shovel Knight, some money is lost and players have to go to the same area and get it again to gain some of those profits back. Money can be taken to various villages to upgrade health and magic. Players can even purchase various items and secondary items, along with armor and shovel upgrades. The gameplay can be very challenging and simply makes you think. Overall it provides a feeling similar to the amazing retro experiences of the old days, but gives a totally brand new approach to that formula at the same time.
When finished the game, players can unlock the new game plus mode. This heavily increases the difficulty but it allows for players to retain all of the previously upgraded and purchased items. It really adds a whole new impact to the game of the overall difficulty. Each version includes its own system-exclusive features. The Wii U and 3DS versions have touch screen functions, 3DS also has some Street Pass battles, while Wii U has the ‘leave a message’ system to help others out, similar to Dark Souls. The Xbox ONE version of Shovel Knight features the Battletoads from Rare’s classic franchise as a boss fight. The PlayStation versions of the game feature Kratos as one big boss fight instead. Other new features to the 2015 version include enhanced graphics and frame-rate performance in terms of the PS Vita over the 3DS version. Plague of Shadows is a free expansion for all platforms which is also coming soon w/ new challenge mode gameplay scenarios.
The game’s overall story is simplistic but good. Basically, Shovel Knight comes out of retirement to return and save the land from the evil Enchantress, and bring freedom to the land. You must fight her knights that rule over the land, such as Shadow Knight, and Specter Knight. The story is overall decent and gets better as it goes along. But this game is a gameplay-first type of design, and that gameplay is so nostalgic plus flat out awesome. Like I said, the game draws heavy influence from retro titles. Some of which can be spotted clearly influencing the scenes including Super Mario Bros 3, Super Metroid, Castlevania, and various other retro 2D platformers. It is a huge retro splash in the face and one of the best games I have played in years. It just feels like it was made for the NES, literally 8 bit memories. I give Shovel Knight a 9.8 out of 10 making its new version one of RGN’s Platinum Games of 2015.
Overall Score: 9.8 / 10
RGN Rating: Platinum Game
Developer / Publisher: Yacht Club Games
Available On: PS4 | XO | PS3 | Vita | Wii U | 3DS | PC | Linux | Mac OS X
Played On: Sony PlayStation 4, and PS Vita
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.