Video Game Review: ‘Shovel Knight’ digs into fun 8-bit nostalgia

Logan King, Staff Writer

When it comes to video games today, many major release titles try to follow a sense of realism, often through storytelling or graphical engines. But a few decades ago during the third-generation of video games, about every game used an 8-bit graphical engine and did not need to follow any sense of realism, which is why it can be so refreshing when a small independent video game company releases an indie game that reflects to the feel of classic video games. Yacht Club Games is able to do this with “Shovel Knight,” an 8-bit style side-scrolling platformer. The game embraces everything that is loved about 8-bit games to the point where it may be called a classic itself.

The entire game is brought to life with 8-bit graphics. The style to the game is pretty simple, with every location, item, and characters formed by a compilation of digital squares. The 8-bit graphics give the game a nostalgic look of an NES game, thus making the game looks amazing on its own. The game is also accompanied by 8-bit fashioned music, which helps adds more to the game’s nostalgia.

The story of the game follows a noble adventurer named Shovel Knight. After the loss his beloved partner, Shield Knight, Shovel Knight decides to retire from adventuring and to isolate himself. But when the evil Enchantress rises to power and takes over the land, Shovel Knight decides to go on a quest to not only stop the Enchantress but also possibly find a way to save Shield Knight. However, in order to succeed, Shovel Knight must first defeat the knights of “The Order of No Quarter” and bring justice, “Shovel Justice!”

screen_12Yacht Club Games

Based on the summary of the plot, it is easy to tell that the surrounding concept of the game is ridiculous. You are literally playing a knight who is armed with a shovel as a weapon. The story is full of equally ridiculous characters and corny lines that can’t be taken seriously, yet this is the type of story that would best fit this game. Many old 8-bit games have characters and plot that are considered weird and goofy, so it makes sense for “Shovel Knight” to follow the same concept. The story is full of silliness, so just have fun with it.

There are a total of 12 main levels for players to go through in the game, each with its own themes, puzzles, and challenges. Each level is carefully and ingeniously designed with unique puzzles to solve as players move throughout the levels. Plus, there are a variety of different enemies to face on the way. Players will have fun bouncing and digging through levels, facing different obstacles on the way. There are also many passages, treasures, and secrets hidden throughout each level, giving greater depth into the side-scrolling levels. This also gives the level more replay options, as you want to find all of the hidden secrets.

At the end of each levels, players must face a member of the “Order of No Quarter” in an intense boss battle. Each of the members are formidable foes, with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. It is fun and exciting to face these ruthless knights in battle, as players must be constantly alert of their foes movements and attacks and know when to strike their opponent. Some foes may take a while to defeat, but it makes your eventual victory more satisfying.

screen_09Yacht Club Games

An important thing to notice is after the game is beaten, players are allowed to play in a “New Game Plus” mode. It is a mode that allows players to play the same game all over again but with higher difficulty. It gives good replay value to the game by reigniting the same levels with excruciating difficulty.

“Shovel Knight” is an amazing game full of 8-bit nostalgia and fun challenges. It’s a silly game that is a lot of fun for hardcore gamers. Yacht Club Games is planning on releasing new additional content to the game throughout this year, such as new playable characters, co-op play, or a gender-bender mode. Needless to say, there is a lot to look forward to in this game for 2015.

“Shovel Knight”
Our Grade: A
Rating: E
Genre: Side-Scrolling Platformer
Developers: Yacht Club Games
Publishers: Yacht Club Games