Shovel Knight’s Free Plague Knight Expansion Released

I exhibit levels of nostalgia some describe as “monstrous” – I recently decided that keeping both the last birthday card and the final Christmas card from my dead grandmother constituted hoarding and binned one of them, and don’t even get me started on chiptune – so you can trust that I’m not simply taken in by the retro stylings of Shovel Knight [official site]. It’s pretty nice. Now it’s bigger, as this week brought the free expansion Plague of Shadows, a pleasant bundling-up of old Kickstarter stretch goals including a secondary campaign starring the dastardly Plague Knight.

The double-crossing constable of crucibles will follow a slightly different path through the campaign, turning on his pals in his own quest for power. He plays differently to Shovel Knight, with new alchemical abilities, and will encounter new bosses and things.

The expansion also brings crafting, a new Challenge Mode (with boss battles, speed runs, and things), and more. It’s out now on Windows, Mac, and Linux, free for everyone – paid for by Kickstarter backers. Here, have a look at Plague Knight’s antics:


  1. CaptainHairy says:

    Just finished this about an hour ago. Really, properly good, and a decent amount harder than the Shovel campaign. Also lots more dancing.

  2. LTK says:

    I’m about halfway through and I’d rate it as quite a bit more than a decent amount harder, given that my head nearly burst from raging at yet another death by bottomless pit. Plague Knight is tricky as hell!

    Also, there’s a cheat code for unlocking the expansion right from the start, which I used due to lacking my previous saved game. It is as follows: On Title Screen: Hold Attack – Press Up Up Right Down Left Left – Release Attack.

    • aoanla says:

      This makes me sad – Shovel Knight itself was far too hard for me, and I was hoping at least one of the DLCs would be easier.

  3. PanzerVaughn says:

    I’m about halfway through, i remember seeing clips of the creating, gathering bus from different enemies, Did they axe that all together? There’s the Bomb part loadout, but I wouldnt call that crafting.

  4. DaceX says:

    Just finished it for the second time. Was surprisingly managable with your basic loadout. Its a very nice campain, love the writing, and Plague Knight plays so fundamentaly different, its basically a new game.
    And its not really crafting, in the classic gaming sense.You can customise your bombs on the fly,”crafting” new mixtures.Each part you switch out changes the picture of your bomb in the menu, its a nice attention to detail. I´m quiet happy with the way this system works,keeps the game free of grinding.

  5. Jalan says:

    Also available is its soundtrack – link to

    • aoanla says:

      This is pretty awesome, however (although, the stylistic constraint of making every track themed like Explodatorium/Flowers of Antimony from the OST means that it isn’t quite as awesome as the original Shovel Knight soundtrack. Even if the former is actually one of my favourite tracks from the original.)

      • Jalan says:

        I can respect that.

        I like that he chose to use the original track that Manami Matsumae did as a thematic basis for his work on the expansion, even if it did limit him in regard to where he could go without losing the same elements entirely in the new tracks. One of those cases where you get the sense that creative ambition was reined in a bit in order to respect the original material. However, the end result is still good.

  6. Helmsguard says:

    I think there will be an easy mode on Youtube.

  7. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Hailing back from the NES age I also don’t easily share the retro pixel hype. Whenever a game has pixel or pixelia in its name I shake my head in dismay – lazy graphic design disguises as an art form.
    Shovel knight is really good though -it works with its NES graphics and would have worked with SNES Mega Man X graphics. It’s the game that has to be good.
    ALso hurray for free content.

  8. SuddenSight says:

    I have been looking forward to this since I finished Shovel Knight. And it is fantastic! I had lost the original save, and I didn’t know there was a cheat code, so I replayed the main game yesterday and I have been playing Plague Knight today.

    It feels so different. I would agree with previous commentators that it is more difficult than the main story line, though not by much. Having just play it, it was not easy either.

    More exciting (to me) is how completely different it feels. Because Plague Knight can basically fly over stuff, there are a lot of platforming sections that can just be skipped. However, Plague Knight is critically missing the pogo stick. This makes a lot of enemies you could just pogo to death in the main campaign very hard, while many of the enemies I had difficulty closing with in the main campaign are actually quite easy with Plague Knight. Overall, this campaign is wonderfully different.

    I also want to mention how much new content there is. This is not just a new character, this is a new story, new areas, new lots of stuff!

    • koeklimas says:

      How does it compare in length with the main story?

      • SuddenSight says:

        It is the same levels. Most levels are only changed a little bit (moving a few platforms). Some levels have more major changes – the final boss is different, both towns are different, and the boss at the end of Plague Knight’s stage is different.

        So the game is the same length. The levels are mostly repeats, but the move set is different enough that it feels fresh.