Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Shovel Knight

I know that as this game was being made there were quite a few people who were really excited for its release.  I, on the other hand, tend not to follow game release after their initial announcement and I'm glad I didn't because Shovel Knight was one of the best surprises I've had all year.

Shovel Knight is a retro-esque 2D side scrolling platformer about the titular character trying to rid the world of evil and unravel the mystery of his companion Shield Knight.  Over the course of his journey he must do battle with a bunch of other knights, some wandering travelers and eventually an evil sorceress who has laid claim to the lands.  To be brutally honest the story is very much in the back seat position for this game but it's mildly entertaining and worth reading it's few cut scenes just for that little bit of extra enjoyment.

The game play is where this game really shines with it's mix of Mario 3, Megaman and Castlevania.  It takes the map thing from Mario 3 and uses all the same things such as spawning baddies that give gold and items as well as extra little challenge stages for the players that want to push their skills the extra mile.  It takes an item system that's SORT OF Zelda-ish but more like Castlevania.  You can equip items such as an arching anchor and a talisman that gives limited invincibility at the cost of mana points in the same way you use items with hearts in Castlevania.  Finally, the game is kind of presented like an old school Megaman game in it's level design and in the sense that every area comes with 3 bosses that you can pick in any order.

The absolute best thing about this game is it's level design.  Every level is challenging but without being bullshit hard.  Every time I died it felt like it was MY fault rather than the fault of some stupid bullshit making me fall down a pit or get crushed whatever.  If you do die there is a Dark Souls-ish system where you drop some of your gold and if you can make it back to where you died then you can reclaim your lost cash.  Later on in the game you get knocked back enough to the point where it feels like there's a decent punishment for death but without being overly harsh on the player.

It's this last part of the post where I'd usually say something bad about Shovel Knight but to be brutally honest with you I can't think of anything bad to say about it right now.  It's not a 100%, 10/10 perfect game but it's so damn good that any of it's flaws are so minor that you'll be having too much fun to notice.

So if you own any of the systems that Shovel Knight is on, go and buy it.  I'm fucking serious, buy the shit out of it because games with this much quality deserve to be supported.  It's not very often that a game is so good that I'm lost for words when it comes to criticism so take that as an indication of how much you should buy the damn thing.

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