Retro inspired games and 2-D side scrollers have been making a bit of a comeback lately, and Shovel Knight joins the rank in staying true to its’ 8 bit predecessors. This is the type of game that immediately gets addictive, and makes you love it for the rewards and challenges rather than the jaw dropping graphics. It has a ‘Super Mario Brothers’ style map that lets you choose the order you want to attack levels, and as you progress you unlock more parts of the map. One of the best things about it is the game’s checkpoint system, which saves your progress so you don’t have to beat the level in one try, but if you exit the level you’ll have to start over from the beginning.
If you really want a challenge, you can break the checkpoints to get extra jewels and other freebies. Another great thing about Shovel Knight that sets it apart from the classics, is that it makes genuine efforts to improve it’s upgrade system. You can use the jewels and treasures collected in the levels to buy magic items, increase your offense, and upgrade your shovel and armor for new attacks and abilities. Shovel Knight contains a fair amount of humor within its story-line, and never takes itself too seriously, making it a truly fun game to play.
For a labor of love that started out as a Kickstarter campaign, Shovel Knight has managed to exceed all expectations, selling 180,000 copies in just the first month. It also managed to hit #1 on 3DS, #2 on Wii U, and made the top 10 on Steam, while competing against heavily discounted sales on two of those platforms. The developers at Yacht Club Games plan to release additional free content at a later date, which should increase its’ replay value. Overall, I had a blast playing this game, and felt the original love that comes from re-visiting classic games, but with an innovative twist. I would recommend anyone that has fond memories of playing old school Nintendo games to take a walk down memory lane with Shovel Knight.
RATING: 8 out of 10.