Retro platformers are pestilence. They’re a lighting rod for cheap nostalgia, a familiar smile with mountains of mold sandwiched between rotten teeth. That is what I would say if I were prone to over-generalizing, which I’m absolutely, positively not – except when I am. Yeah, the modern gaming landscape has more retro platformers than ye olde days back when these tropes were actually invented, but that doesn’t necessarily render all future additions redundant. Hopping is fun. It has been fun for 4389295732 years – ever since man invented legs. But something’s always been missing. Shovel Knight asserts that it was – yep – shovels the entire time. And goodness me, I have never been so delighted by crude tools used primarily for digging (well, except that one time MF Doom said, “Can you dig it like a spigot?”).
There are also words about this game. Encouraging words:
“Shovel Knight is a sweeping classic action adventure game with awesome gameplay, memorable characters, and an 8-bit retro aesthetic. It’s a hot mashup of new and old that may remind you of Mega Man, Castlevania, or Dark Souls! You play as the eponymous Shovel Knight, a small knight with a huge quest. Shovel Knight has come to this valley with two goals: to defeat the evil Enchantress and save his lost beloved. He wields a ShovelBlade: a multipurpose weapon whose techniques have now been lost to the ages. Always honest and helpful, Shovel Knight is a shining example of the code of Shovelry: Slash Mercilessly and Dig Tirelessly.”
Nothing insanely original, in other words, but plentiful personality (“SHOVEL JUSTICE”) and the fact that the whole thing looks like a massive labor of love mean that my interest is piqued.
It’s also worth noting that Shovel Knight did absurdly well on Kickstarter, climbing from a modest-ish $75,000 goal all the way up to $311,502. In the process, it gained multiple modes, playable bosses, and multiplayer, among many other things.
Shovel Knight will be out this winter. Can you dig it in much the same fashion as one might a spigot (or equivalent dirt displacing interface)?