Shovel Knight - Recap Review

What's good

- Very authentic sense for NES nostalgia
- Mixes the best and most popular mechanics of NES classics with new gameplay ideas and some welcome modern gaming conventions
- Intuitive, spot-on controls
- Awesome level designs and boss battles
- Very good sense of challenge and difficulty
- Checkpoint system
- Upgrades and overworld towns
- Subtle emotional weight and humor put into the game's story
- Fantastic, catchy chiptune soundtrack

What's bad

- Health- and magic upgrades are purchasable and can therefore make boss fights a bit easy towards the end


The most expensive armor in the game being intentionally flashy yet completely useless

The Verdict

Crowdfunded through, Shovel Knight is an amazingly well designed Indie game, that not only shows that its developers are true fans of classic NES jump-and-runs, but also that they don't only rely on nostalgia but have their own fresh new ideas to come along with it.
Although Shovel Knight's core gameplay mechanics are very straight-forward and pay obvious homage to NES classics, like Duck Tales, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Mega Man, it never feels like the game's foundation completely relies on the success of said classics. Along with an own distinct world, surprisingly emotional backstory and characters, Shovel Knight's composition of all of its gameplay aspects, from its overworld towns over to its intuitive controls and upgrade system, is exceptionally well done. Levels as well as boss battles are very well designed and gradually get more challenging and hard as you move on, yet as good as never feel unfair or unbeatable. 
It really goes to show how much love and devotion the developers put into this crowdfunded game, which, most notably through its nostalgia oriented character and checkpoint system, additionally represents a great blend of old-school jump-and-run with modern gaming conventions.
It is all topped up with a fantastic chiptune soundtrack that qualitywise is very much up there with the best of the best the NES has to offer.

Shovel Knight is not only one of the best game's of this year but also undoubtedly one of the overall most well designed Indie games to date. Despite not being revolutionary, its a marvelous game in its own right, which every fan of classic 8- or 16-Bit jump-and-runs should absolutely dig into.       


Final Verdict: 9 out of 10

Status: Amazing!

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