Review: Shovel Knight

Content Warning: Shovel Knight is a family friendly retro game. Mild cartoon violence and shovel slapping.

This game satisfies retro cravings. I was skeptical about whether Shovel Knight would deliver because too many indie games try to be retro and fail. Shovel Knight does deliver on the look and feel of a retro game down to it’s core. In fact I felt like I was playing a game originally designed for the NES or Sega Genesis.

The controls are simple, jump and attack. Your weapon is a shovel, you can attack from the ground or jump in the air and press down on the directional pad and attack as you land on your opponent.  The shovel jump is also helpful to reach high points by bouncing off of enemies or bubbles.

You can also use the shovel to dig up piles of dirt to find treasures.  Your main form of currency is collecting gems and jewels and finding treasure chests.  You can use this money to upgrade your health or your magic levels.  If you find music sheets you can also sell them to the bard in town and he will reward you with money and song.

During my play through I had to remind myself that I wasn’t playing a game from my childhood. Numerous moments where I felt “at home” while playing spurred me to keep going.  If my point hasn’t yet been received, Shovel Knight is retro heaven.

The levels are beautiful and challenging.  There were multiple times that I died, and then died again and again. Platform jumping from a wide base to a small thin platform, reminiscent of some Mario games, became the bane of my existence as I died doing this a lot.  I don’t know if it’s old age or not but I kept overcompensating my landing position and would fall into the depths.  Little nuances like the level being pitch black and only illuminated by occasional lightning is fun and refreshing. There is something satisfying on a level when you find a secret hidden into the level design, and you will find much of this while playing through each level.

Shovel Knight just works! You will be able to tell instantly that this game was made by people who LOVE games. It’s not cheesy, fake or forced. Shovel Knight is the real deal. There is much to explore and much to do in Shovel Knight and the thought that was put into the creation of this game is astounding.

[jumbotron heading=”Thank You Yacht Club Games” tagline=”You have honored our most cherished childhood memories”]This game was reviewed with a download code provided by Yacht Club games and was played on the Nintendo Wii U.[/jumbotron]

Drew Koehler

Founder and writer for Geeks Under Grace. Christian, Husband, Father, Sailor and Geek!

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