A large selling point of the modern gaming industry is graphics. They have evolved so much, and companies have become obsessed with making the game’s aesthetics look as realistic as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see the setting and characters of a game in full HD. I also enjoy seeing how far gaming has come since games like Super Mario Bros 3, but sometimes it’s the simpler titles that appeal to more veteran gamers. A perfect example of this is Shovel Knight. This game takes you on a nostalgia trip, in which you’ll fall in love with gaming all over again.
However, Shovel Knight takes the opportunity which was once not there to import a complex story into a game as simple as this. A crime fighting pair Shovel Knight and Shield Knight are known through the land as heroes. But one day an Evil Witch takes Shield Knight, leaving Shovel Knight on his own to track down his great partner. But the game lets you take control if you wish to find out more. For those who are interested, you can go into the town between levels and talk to NPCs. Who will very kindly tell you information about the world they live in, therefore adding more depth to the story. And for those who aren’t so interested, you can just go straight in to shovelling more enemies.
Gameplay wise this game gets straight to the point. No patronising walkthrough of how to jump and use your weapon, it just throws you straight in at the deep end. This classic gameplay style makes Shovel Knight what it is, amazing. Players get to try out their skills on easy enemies and are forced have them tested at the first boss battle. This simple style of gameplay is exactly what appeals to indie or nostalgic gamers. I found it would be a nice break from fast paced first person shooters that is, if you’re open minded enough to try new games types.
Compared to other games of this type, Shovel Knight has a unique live system for its genre. As opposed to a classic live system, you have to collect a fraction of your money from where you once died (very similar to Dark Souls). At first I tried to gather all of what I had lost, but once I died time after time just trying to retrieve one bag I thought it wasn’t worth it. You can also choose to use checkpoints as checkpoints, or destroy them to get cash and other useful items. There is also a large replay ability factor. Once you have completed the game for a first time, you can play it again with the challenge increased. This is ideal for those wanting more from this game.
In Shovel Knight you also have the ability to buy magic and other such items, which I didn’t really use. I didn’t feel this functionality was really needed seeing as your shovel was enough to fend off baddies, but I guess the game did have to cook up a store feature of some sort. One of my favourite features of this game is the soundtrack. I have actually downloaded it and am listening to it as I write this review. Even though this game hasn’t made its way onto the big consoles, I think it sits perfectly on Wii U, 3DS and Steam.
Overall I think this game is great! It brings back all the fun aspects about retro gaming, while managing to avoid being a Super Mario Bros copy. So for those hoping to take a trip back to the past while having a few light modern touches to your journey, then Shovel Knight is practically made for you. I’m giving this game a well deserved 9, for bringing back all the fun times as well as while making new ones. Definitely worth your money!
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