Currently Playing: Shovel Knight (PC)

Would you believe me that the screenshot above is actually a game just recently released. The game is called Shovel Knight. I took some time to play Shovel Knight since I hear it’s very similar to playing classic old NES games. Some games just really try to replicate classic 8bit graphics and show it off in a new game. Even look at the game Flappy Bird, the graphics look 8bit the movement doesn’t feel like it comes from the 80s or 90s. This one on the other hand has been very careful with every single part of the game. The animation, the sound, the gameplay itself feels like it’s from that era. The only dead giveaway with this game is that there is an autosave feature once you finish a level or get an upgrade. But you can’t save anytime inbetween.

There is a story in the game, Shovel Knight used to fight with Shield Knight. But one day while fighting, Shield Knight was lost. It’s not explained if she dies or if she just vanished. Shovel Knight tried to live a simple life, but when the Enchantress came with her Knights, Shovel Knight had to save his land. That’s pretty much it. It’s that simple. Once in a while, after finishing a level, Shovel Knight dreams of saving Shield Knight, and the more you get through this, the harder it gets later on since you have to fight hordes of enemies at the same time.

The game reminds me of several games, but right now, the games that do stand out is Super Mario Brothers, Megaman/Rockman, Legend of Zelda 2 and Castlevania. I’m pretty sure that there are other games that were an inspiration for this modern take.

There is also a town, this is where you can get upgrades and talk to ingame characters. You really have to talk to them since other than they can talk to you and give you details, they really are interesting characters themselves the more you talk to them. They will talk more every time you finish a level. They will show more character, give you upgrades or even give you tips. Some of them will even give a dance number which you really can’t skip through.

The game levels themselves are very similar to playing Megaman or even Castlevania. There are secret passage ways, the map is generally linear, but you may find interesting paths. You’d really want to get back to some of the levels since they have secrets that can only be opened once you have a certain item or upgrade.

Controls are not complicated at all. It’s best if you have a gamepad, but you should be fine with a keyboard. You can easily modify the controls to your liking. The buttons are so few, that their diagram for the controls is a classic NES/Famicom controller. In other words, its just the directional pad, pause, options, attack and jump. It’s so simple that you can get into the game pretty easily. They didn’t even give you instructions how to play the game, you just get it. If you don’t know how to do it, you’ll learn how to do it eventually. The more you play, the more you get better in the game. The only time that they’ll give an instruction is when you get an item that uses magic or for fishing. And if you’ve played classic NES games, it should be pretty easy to understand.

Another thing that reminds me of newer gameplay is that there is a little grinding involved, but it’s not that bad. It reminds me of playing Megaman 7, where I can go back to older levels to gain some power ups before going into the final battle.

Stage selection is very similar to Super Mario Brothers 3 where you are shown a map and is given access to areas that you can go back anytime. The map unlocks more areas once you have defeated some bosses. Also, level selection is not completely linear, you have an option on which ones you want to start off and end at.

Overall, it a great game. Even without the 8 bit graphics, it’s challenging enough to frustrate you a bit, but not impossible. I really enjoy the game so far, and I can’t wait to go back for more. It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a game like this.

The game should be out on PC, WiiU and 3DS.

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