Shovel Knight poses the question, “What if someone crafted an authentic NES game with 2014’s knowledge and hardware?” The answer: “Something pretty amazing, actually.”
Shovel Knight takes every good idea from NES classics, and combines them with the technology of 2014, and makes one of the greatest fake Nintendo games ever. It’s got the Duck Tales bounce, the Castlevania atmosphere and weapons, the Mega Man speed and platforming, the Super Mario Bros. 3 world map. Shovel Knight is a child of everything special that came from the NES, plus enough modern sensibility to not make you waste your time with every death.
It isn’t just a retread, though, because it has enough fun new ideas to carry you to the final level. You’ll find a surprisingly heartfelt story inside Shovel Knight’s cold, metal exterior. There’s also great comic writing that pokes fun at the tropes of gaming culture from NES to now. The levels are excellently designed, and have tons of secrets to prod at and discover. Every boss is unique, and the stage fits their individual themes; Specter Knight’s spooky graveyard is a favorite of mine. With plenty of hidden bosses to find, weapons and abilities to discover, and a load of additional content on the way, Shovel Knight is a full package.
After being hyped for over a year, Shovel Knight didn’t disappoint. It brought back my fondest memories of old games, adding several great new ideas to the mix. With the promise of a sequel in the future, I’ll be glad to see a lot of Shovel Knight in the years to come.