Full disclosure: I did not like Shovel Knight when I first started playing. I think video games should be 85% a good time as fights are won, collectables are found, the story progresses and fun is had. The other 15% ideally should be a struggle, either from dying or just failing one way or another. For me, that is the perfect balance since I am moving forward but there is enough challenge to spice up the experience. Shovel Knight began with very low fun and very high struggle for me (30% fun, 70% struggle if I had to pick) mostly since I seemed completely unable to stop dying. Usually in the exact same spot in the level. Multiple times. For hours.
To give you the full picture, Shovel Knight is a 2D side scrolling platform game (think the original Mario games) that was created by Yacht Club Games in 2014 after a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Shovel Knight follows the adventures of, wait for it, Shovel Knight as he travels the land fighting villains and looking for his true love and companion Shield Knight. The whole game is a nostalgic throw-back to the original NES games like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and Super Mario Bros. 3. The art style is 8-bit, the music sounds 8-bit and the game makes you feel like you are a kid again playing an older sibling’s game some rainy day. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove includes the original game and some spin offs that were downloadable content previously. It’s got a lot of heart, and I REALLY wanted to like it.
Wanting to like a game and actually liking a game are different things however. I had a hard time enjoying the game because the levels and bosses are super tricky, requiring the kind of coordination and skill I haven’t used in a while since I’ve been playing mostly Animal Crossing and Pokémon this year. This led to a lot of frustration because I wanted to know what happened next but just couldn’t get past this jumping puzzle or that boss. I have to admit though, as much as I disliked the game to start, it’s growing on me the more I play. The better I get the more I see all the details, fun characters and soul that was put into the game by people who obviously enjoyed working on it. And the more my fun ratio goes up as well!
My final verdict is Shovel Knight is a solid game which might be better for older players who remember and miss 8-bit games instead of new players just starting out. But don’t listen to me, check it out through the library and see what you think!
I rate this game 6/10 for now…I am going to play some more and then may return to upgrade it…
It has a ESRB rating for E for Everyone.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is available through the library on the consoles listed below: