Last year when Shovel Knight released on the Wii U and the 3DS, players new to the genre and classic retro players alike, went absolutely crazy. The 2D 8-bit, pixelated game created so much buzz that Yacht Club Games decided to release it on other platforms, and behold – Shovel Knight now arrives on the Playstation platforms.
Yacht Club Games weaves a creative story that revolves around Shovel Knight and his partner Shield Knight. These two Knights are very close, but are later separated by some tragic magical event. The land that they are sworn to protect is now abandoned, leaving it open for anyone to claim. And that’s exactly what happens when the evil Enchantress and her following of evil doers (a.k.a. the No Quaters) ravish the land that Shovel Knight once protected. With Shovel Knight fed up with the new way of the land, he sets out on an adventure to bring balance to the Kingdom he once loved. This is where our game begins. The player will go through many different areas, from ice terrains to a flying ship. All of these stages are substantial, as Shovel Knight must confront the Enchantress’ No Quaters. Shovel Knight must fight through all 8 of them if he wants to stop the Enchantress at the Tower of Fate.
The first intro to the game offers quick tutorials on the game’s controls: Move, Jump, and Attack. The simple control scheme may seem easy at first, but as the game progresses it gets more difficult and complex. Players will need to master these 3 simple controls if they want to succeed in this game. When killing enemies you will gain gold, and this allows you to return to town, the main hub, to trade it in for upgrades to help Shovel Knight fight better. Various amount of upgrades are accessible to the players in town, from larger health bar upgrades to new throwable items.
The level design from Yacht Club Games is impeccable. They are made up of elements that seem inspired from great retro games like Castlevania, Duck Tales and Mega Man. Shovel Knight for the most part resembles Mega Man, especially when it comes to boss battles. The only difference is that Shovel Knight is a little bit more forgiving, thereby allowing players to reach checkpoints instead of restarting the whole level from the beginning again. This is a good thing for their sake, because if it were too difficult, players could easily give up on this game completely.
Remember that patience is KEY in Shovel Knight. Countless times did my impatience lead to silly deaths that could have easily been avoided. One tip of advice, don’t rush through the level. The time will come when you must make the jump or risk having your enemy strike you down first. A cool feature in the Playstation version of Shovel Knight is that players will come across a Playstation iconic character, Kratos. From the well known God of War series, players will now have the ability to fight Kratos as a boss. It’s cool to see an iconic character such as Kratos make a crossover into an Indie game.
The aesthetics of Shovel Knight are beautiful, from the different type of enemies to the scenic backgrounds of the Tower of Fate, it all feels really well done and most importantly, done with care. You can easily tell that each level was methodically planned out, providing for enough variety throughout the game so that the gameplay will not get too repetitive too quick. The bosses in particular are creatively done as well. Mole Knight, Polar Knight and Specter Knight are my personal favorites, for both their design and their battles.
The 8-bit genre is making a comeback in recent years and Shovel Knight takes advantage of it, making their colors pop and creating interesting characters to stand out from a crowd of similar games.
There’s a couple of pros and cons when it comes to the game’s sound. The music does a great job to create the atmosphere for a retro game, but it could easily get on your nerves quickly too. During hard and frustrating times, the repetitive music could be a major distraction, which could cause you to make some irrational decisions in the game.
Besides that, when you are going through an easy part or when you pass the level that had you struggling for a while, you may learn to appreciate the music for what it’s designed to do. Each setting also has a different type of mood of music, giving more layer of variety to each level than just different scenery.
Shovel Knight on the Playstation feels perfect. The ability to play across 3 platforms, especially the Vita on the go, is a great implemented feature. Retro-style games are really coming back on full force. Just this month alone we have games like Axiom Verge, Miami Hotline, and now Shovel Knight. All these games take classic elements and turns them into modern gems. These games are perfect for people who want a challenge, like retro-style games or anyone who loves great gameplay with a great, well-rounded story. So have you played Shovel Knight yet? Let us help one of you get a chance to play Shovel Knight for free. Thanks to Yacht Club Games, we have 1 free code to give away to the FilmGamesEtc community. Leave a comment below if you’re interested and one of you will be randomly selected to win the free code. And for all your latest game reviews, keep it locked to FGE!