Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Shovel Knight Review

Recently, as I was browsing through IGN's Game of the Year nominees, I came across this great gem of a game called Shovel Knight. This indie game is a throwback to classic 8-bit video gaming, combining elements of Nintendo classics like the Adventure of Link, Mega Man, Castlevania, and Duck Tales while still creating a unique and fun experience all of its own.

Shovel Knight is a side-scrolling platformer, where you run, jump over obstacles, bash enemies, and even dig up the scenery to discover hidden treasures. The storyline concept is simple: you must travel to the mysterious tower to defeat the Enchantress who has kidnapped your friend Shield Knight. Along the way, you must overcome the nefarious Order of No Quarter, each of whom has their own themed stronghold. Along the way you gain the assistance of villagers and wandering NPCs, discover relics to aid you in your quest, and spend your hard-earned money on upgrades to your arms and armor.

While still being true to its 8-bit roots, Shovel Knight is beautifully rendered, with crisp and clear visuals and gorgeous backgrounds that bring the world to life. It also features a powerful soundtrack that evokes classic gaming while still sounding modern and enjoyable. The narrative of the game also has just the right touch of humor that keeps you from taking things too seriously. And like many classic games, the difficulty level of Shovel Knight ramps up quickly. This is not a game that most players will simply waltz through. Practice, and particular attention to patterns, will be necessary for you to overcome.

With lots of different relics and upgrades, along with several different modes including Challenge Mode and New Game+ once you've beaten the game the first time, there's plenty to do on your second playthrough. And like most modern games, it even includes a whole host of special accomplishments for which you earn achievement badges. For most players, you should easily get 15-20 hours of gameplay before you've seen all there is to see.

Shovel Knight is available DRM-free on lots of different platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Wii U, and 3DS for only $15.00. And for another $10.00, you can also get a deluxe version that includes digital game manual and artwork.

Shovel Knight is a great game, especially for anyone like me who grew up in the era of 8-bit gaming. It's a ton of fun, brilliant in design, and at times murderously difficult. If you're looking for a new game to enjoy this holiday season, you could do far worse than to pick up this game. Check out the trailer below, then go pick it up for yourself or for a friend. See you next time.

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