By Operation Rainfall Contributor / May 8th, 2015
|Developer||Yacht Club Games|
|Publisher||Yacht Club Games|
|Release Date||April 21, 2015|
|Platform||PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, 3DS, PC, Xbox One|
|Age Rating||ESRB – Everyone|
After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Shovel Knight was released to the 3DS, Wii U and PC last year to high praise and critical acclaim. The game was unquestionably one of the best games of 2014 and could be argued as the Game of the Year. I enjoyed playing the Wii U Version, and we reviewed the 3DS version last year. With the PSN version being released quite recently, does this version stand out from its other platform counterparts?
Shovel Knight and Shield Knight are out on their adventures when they stumble across the Tower of Fate. While exploring the evil place, Shield Knight is cursed by a magical amulet and is gone from Shovel Knight. After spending some time in solitude, Shovel Knight decides to head towards the Tower of Fate to rescue Shield Knight and dispel the land from the evil Enchantress and The Order of No Quarter.
Shovel Knight is still the good old addictive, old-school 8-bit platformer homage to the legendary NES classics. The graphics are spruced up with visual details and color. The NPCs, towns and levels all stand out as vibrant, lively places. While it does borrow ideas, Shovel Knight refines those ideas and puts in its own original twists. Shovel Knight uses a shovel to attack enemies and dig for treasure. He is able to directly attack with his shovel or use it as a pogo stick to bounce to higher places and to hit enemies from above. The goal is to not just beat the level, but to also find as much gold and jewels as possible and stay alive. Shovel Knight’s level design is also intuitive, with each level introducing various obstacles. As the level progresses, those obstacles are shown in new ways paired with new problems to overcome. If Shovel Knight dies by losing all his health or falling into a pit, he loses some gold, but, if you can get back to the area where he fell without dying again, the gold can be reclaimed. It’s a great way to have a life system without the use of actual lives. None of my deaths during the game felt cheap. The deaths that happened to me were my fault. As I progressively learned the levels, I was able to breeze through them. Shovel Knight is a fair, tough challenge, but not a frustrating one. There are plenty of upgrades and relics for Shovel Knight, as well. Using these upgrades will help him fly past bottomless pits and obstacles. In some cases, they can save him from death.
Shovel Knight has a fantastic soundtrack. The music was composed by the famous Jake Kauffman and Manami Mastumae. The music fits each level well and it gets your blood pumping during the boss fights. The entire soundtrack can be purchased on Bandcamp, and I highly recommend it. Purchasing Shovel Knight from the PlayStation Store grants you both the PS3/PS4 version and the Vita version as part of Sony’s Cross Buy. The PlayStation version has some unique features compared to the other versions. The biggest feature for PSN is Cross-Save. Cross-Save allows players to upload their save data from one PlayStation platform to the cloud and download the data onto another platform. This is a great feature for owners of the PS3 or PS4 and a Vita. I used this feature quite often between my PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. When I needed to go somewhere, I had the data in my Vita ready to go from where I left off in my PlayStation 3. There is also an exclusive boss fight in this version of the game.
As of this review, the updates that were promised have not been patched into Shovel Knight, but rest assured, the updates should come within the next few months. As the game is, its still fantastic and the game is going to be even better once the updates for the upcoming battle mode, challenge mode, and boss rush are out. Grab your shovel and start digging for treasure.
Review copy provided by publisher.
This review is based on the PSN version of the game. It took the author eight hours to complete.
Cross SaveIndieKratosplatformerPlaystationShield KnightShovel KnightSonyVitaYacht Club Games