PAX West 2019: Yacht Club Games

Friday, August 30th, 2019

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Although I hadn’t booked an official appointment to play any Yacht Club titles (not for lack of interest, mind you), you can’t keep a good fanboy down, and I was playing some games during my not quite literal “press hour”. First and foremost, I had to play the newly announced Shovel Knight Dig. Much as I’m eager for King of Cards and Showdown, I’d played both those last year, and novelty is a heady drug. The other Yacht Club title I got hands on time with was one they’re publishing, called Cyber Shadow. Let’s start with my favorite knight of shovelry.

Yacht Club | Shovel Knight Dig

First, it’s really important to say that I loved Shovel Knight Dig. With that out of the way, let’s say something else – Shovel Knight Dig is hard. Very hard. It’s fast, furious and requires pitch perfect platforming. I actually did pretty well, but you can tell quickly this is a game that culls the weak from the strong effortlessly. That fits the new quasi-rogue focus very well. Another thing I have to acknowledge is that Shovel Knight Dig is very pretty. Not that the original Yacht Club masterpiece was ugly at all, mind you, but the SNES coat of paint in Dig is utterly stunning. The folks at Nitrome have brought much of the same aesthetic from Bomb Chicken, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. But lest you worry, this is still very much a Yacht Club experience. Though it wasn’t present in the demo, you can buy items to help customize your experience and make things a little less overwhelming.

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Much of the demo was me frantically digging down, avoiding instant death spikes and sudden mechanical menaces like drill machines. I died plenty, but each time the urge to keep going a little farther spurred me on. I even found a cool mirror upgrade that let me see hidden goodies even easier as I traversed the subterranean labyrinth. My last time through the demo I even managed to get to the boss, Spore Knight, but I only had a sliver of health. He made quick work of me with bouncy mushrooms and wild attacks. I’m very happy with the current state of Shovel Knight Dig, and cannot wait for a release date announcement.

Yacht Club | Cyber Shadow

Next up is Cyber Shadow. I knew I would like this one from the minute it was announced by Yacht Club Games, and I wasn’t disappointed. Thought the demo didn’t have many bells and whistles, what was there was solid and attractive. Visually and mechanically it was kind of like the love child of Ninja Gaiden and Contra, though not nearly as hard as either. Obviously you play a ninja hell bent on saving his clan, but your foes are all mechanical monstrosities. And they’re tough, too. Many will race at you and try and knock you out of mid jump, much like the games that inspired it. But armed with a powerful katana blade, I was able to get all the way through the demo.

Cyber Shadow | Bad Robots

It all culminated in a boss fight against a giant crushing machine that was surrounded by turrets that would constantly spawn. Even then, it wasn’t all that hard, especially since I was able to heal right before the fight, though I could have also traded in some currency for a powerful weapon upgrade. More than anything, I just wanted to see even more from Cyber Shadow, but I’m sure Yacht Club and Mechanical Head Studios won’t disappoint in the end.

Cyber Shadow | Smasher

All in all, I had a great time as expected at Yacht Club’s booth at PAX West 2019. Stay tuned for much more coverage from the many great games I got to play at PAX West this year!

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.