Shovel Knight Review

Initially released for Windows, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U in June 2014 and funded through a kickstarter campaign and now to Xbox one through ID@Xbox, Shovel Knight is a classic style action adventure game with 8-bit retro aesthetic from Yacht Club Games, a studio of 5 employees. Their first game, marketed as a mashup of games such as Mega Man, Castlevania, or Dark Souls, Shovel Knight will pit you against your willfulness to persevere and take on progressively difficult gameplay and boss battles as you countlessly die, restarting checkpoint after checkpoint until you master the timing and abilities of the maps of the game.

shovelknight2The difficulty isn’t a joke!

Shovel Knight, as called, takes you a knight who uses a shovel as his weapon of choice who must fight the members of “The Order of No Quarter” in order to try and save his beloved Shield Knight, whom has been taken over by a cursed amulet. The Order whom have been dispatched by the Enchantress to impede Shovel Knight consists of 8 members; King Knight, Specter Knight, Treasure Knight, Mole Knight, Plague Knight, Polar Knight, Propeller Knight and Tinker Knight, each with their own specific skill set and challenging gameplay challenges to learn and conquer. Along with the Order there are plenty of other notifiable characters such as Black Knight whom is Shovel Knights’ rival, certain townsfolk, and multiple Wandering Travelers. Each adding a nice touch to the story of the game and adding to the games world.


Even the fiercest warriors need a break.

The gameplay for Shovel Knight is pretty fluent and grows as you play, as you progress and get more Relics (which are unique weapons, defense items or power ups) each unique in nature and have its own use and times for when to utilize them, over the time of play of the game you’ll learn which ones work best and which don’t for your preferred gameplay style. The game takes gameplay elements from a lot of retro sources, such as the down attack from Zelda (Or pogo jump from DuckTales) or moving levels from Super Mario allowing the game to live from the nostalgia of retro 8-bit games from the past, but at the same time lives and rises as a game of the present and does well for gamers of both eras. The only downside originally for the game had been the control layout as I would accidentally use a relic and cause me to later on when I required the magic to use the relic die from not having the ability, however after playing through and messing with the menus found that all controls in the game are modifiable to any button on the controller so you can set the controller up to whatever layout suits you best.

shovelknight5Who’d of known dragons were weak to shovels?

The game can be pretty difficult at times, but it’s highly gratifying finishing a part that you’ve been struggling on and after putting dedication into it, can pass with less effort behind it. Anyone who likes a challenge can find it here with new game +  after finishing the game which allows you to start the game anew with the equipment you’ve gained up to that point however providing more difficult gameplay where the enemies are twice as hard, food is more scarce and the game has less checkpoints to rely on. The achievements (Feats) in the game also can provide challenge, from beating the game without falling in a pit, beating the game with no deaths, destroying checkpoints or even those with a lot of determination, a speed run achievement for beating the game within an hour and 30 minutes, these will provide fans of the game with plenty of game to go back to and strive for. Along with the challenging achievements there are also a nice number of feats that don’t give Gamerscore for completing, however they reward you with something just as good, concept art, which you can set as your background on Xbox One.

Shovel Knight is a great game, that a lot of fans of retro games will enjoy, those whom like a challenge or anyone as a matter of fact. The game is just great overall, the progression never leaves the player feeling like they aren’t progressing through the game, multiple different side areas for extra gameplay, and end game content that lets you keep coming back for more when the game is done. There’s just so much content for the price of the game. Plus to take the cake, Yacht Club Games added exclusive content to the Xbox one version that consists of BattleToads fights against Shovel Knight which adds a full level of awesome content, as well as later on there will be free DLC that considers of story for Plague Knight.

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight Developer Interview

Overall Game Rating



    • Retro gameplay
    • Awesome music
    • Customizable controls
    • End game content
    • Battletoads


    • Difficulty can be frustrating

    About Joshua Rodgers

    Profile photo of Joshua Rodgers
    Joshua lives in Newfoundland, Canada, and since he first got his hands on a gameboy and played Mario has been hooked on video games. He likes playing all sorts of games, but especially Music and RPGs. He's studying to be a programmer, and aspires to create a game of his own one day.

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