The gameplay is very simple, you are Shovel Knight, a knight with a sharpened shovel. Shovel Knight and Shield Knight were adventuring across the land when they decided to explore the Tower of Fate. A dark magic fell upon them and when Shovel Knight awakened, Shield Knight was gone. Shovel Knight gives up adventuring and goes into seclusion. During his absence, The Entrantress rises to power and upon hearing that she has unsealed the Tower of Fate, he picks up his shovel to defeat her and The Order of No Quarter. You use the shovel to kill enemies and dig up treasure. However, this is where your skill is needed because not all enemies will just stand there and take a hit, you must watch and learn patterns before you strike. The moves you can do are shovel slash and a downward strike similar to the pogo cane in Ducktales for the NES. Shovel Knight has a set speed and cannot pass certain obstacles simply by jumping, so you will need to learn how to use these 2 moves in order to advance.
In Shovel Knight, Checkpoints are shown as orbs that once passed, light up with a gem or gold inside. Now here is the brilliance of this, you can break the orbs and collect the gold inside, but lose the checkpoint in the process. This is what gives the purists the harsh experience they desire but also gives the guys like me, a more casual run of the game...so to speak. How you choose to approach the checkpoints changes the difficulty of the game enough that I cannot ignore its absolute genius.
One of the first things you see on screen is an overworld map. This is where you get to choose where you will go. The map opens up more and more after you’ve beaten the bosses in each section of the map. On the overworld map, events will appear, some are a gold collecting level, some are a enemy skill level, while 3 very specific ones are boss fights against quite difficult characters. This not only adds length to the game but these fights are a blast. The gold I have been talking about in this review is used to upgrade Shovel Knight’s health, magic, shovel and armor, also purchase helpful items. This is why dying and losing your gold is a big punishment. There are a few short skill based levels designed around a new ability to play with and these will reward you with more gold.
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Thanks For Reading
-Gregg Dietz (@ChubRockGeek)