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Typical Indie Reviews Shovel Knight

Updated on May 16, 2015
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Shovel Knight Trailer

Shovel Knight is a 2D platforming game developed by Yacht Club Games. Yacht Club Games is an independent game company of experienced developers a few of them coming from Wayforward Games. Inspired by several classic games like Mega Man, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Duck Tales it channels the best aspects of those games. The main game mechanic that was taken from these games and expanded upon tenfold was the pogo jumping from Duck Tales. Shovel Knight's main weapon is his shovel. And besides using it to attack other enemies he can "pogo shovel" off of enemies. Not a very complex mechanic to learn but you do need to master it for the harder levels. And once you do master it you feel like a pro at the game. Things that you didn't think you could pull off when first playing the game like not getting damaged or not dying in a level becomes a cinch. Combat is very basic but fun. You have your shovel and you hit enemies with your shovel to kill them. But your shovel is not your only weapon otherwise I wouldn't have given this game five stars. You can get relics in the game which are pretty reminiscent of the items from many Legend of Zelda games as well as Mega Man's weapons. By progressing through each level if you look thoroughly enough you will find secret areas that have a relic. This concerned me at first because I'm not the greatest at finding secret area's in video games. But that's where Chester comes in. Chester is a NPC in the game that goes ahead and find's whatever relics you miss in a level you just finished. You do have to buy the relic off of Chester though. But this from what I can tell is unavoidable. Even if you find the secret area that has the relic Chester will have already beat you to the punch and be inside the chest that has the relic. And he'll make you pay for the relic because he found the relic first. Regardless though he never asks you for more gold than you have. There's a good chance whatever payment he asks for you will already the gold for it unless you've taken the liberty to not pick up any gold at all. The relics are extremely varied and some are more useful than others. You have a flame wand that shoots a projectile which is great for hitting enemies from afar. There's the phase locket which makes you phase out of existence for a couple of seconds. This is extremely useful for near death situations or traversing a lot of spikes and it's helpful for boss fights too. Then there's less useful relics like the alchemy coin which does hardly any damage and randomly gives extra gold for killing enemies. But it's never enough gold to make it worth the usage. Overall I can go on about the boss fights or the near perfect level design. Or the amazing soundtrack done by Jake Kaufman and the legendary video game composer Manami Matsumae. But this game is amazing and you're better off just going ahead and buying it. You can buy it just about everywhere. It's on Steam, Xbox One, Nintendo's digital store and Playstation's store. It's well worth every penny and one of the best games I've played in a long time.

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Achievements

Shovel Knight has a challenging achievement list. For completionists it is not for the faint of heart. The game requires you to beat the game without dying; destroying all the checkpoints, beating the game without falling into a bottomless pits, beating the game around 90 minutes and beating the game in new game plus. New game plus as per usual let's you bring over everything you got in your first playthrough but the new game plus playthrough will be harder than your first playthrough. All of the food items are taken out of the levels and replaced with bombs. Also there are less checkpoints in the level compared to the first level. I do recommend buying everything you need to buy before starting your new game plus playthrough. There's another achievement for not spending any gold in an entire playthrough. And as daunting as that sounds it will not be an issue if you already bought everything you needed to buy in your previous playthrough. A lot of the aforementioned achievements can be combined in one playthrough. For example beating the game without dying can be combined with the achievement for destroying all the checkpoints as well as the one for not falling into any bottomless pits. And the achievement for beating game around 90 minutes can be combined with another achievement which requires you to not go through the game without getting or buying any of the relics. I do have one complaint about the achievements in the game. There's a lot of zero point achievements. Thankfully none of them are for doing extremely difficult tasks. But the fact so many of them exist in the achievement list throws off any sense of accomplishment for any somewhat difficult tasks. Most of the gamerscore for the overall 1000 is obtained by doing the more difficult achievements previously mentioned. Although thankfully the zero point achievements give you cool backgrounds for your dashboard so they're existence is not 100% an annoyance. Overall the achievement will not grant you easy gamerscore or an easy completion but it is a nice challenging achievement list that actually seems worth completing.

5 stars for Shovel Knight

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