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[PS3 Review] Shovel Knight

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Shovel Knight is a game developed and published by Yacht Club Games, a team of hardworking ex-WayForward members. The game was successfully Kickstarted reaching $311,503 total over a $75,000 goal, and smashing all stretch stretch goals.

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! You play as the eponymous Shovel Knight, a small knight with a huge quest. Shovel Knight has come to this land with two goals: to defeat the evil Enchantress and quest for his lost beloved. He wields a Shovel Blade: 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!

But, between Shovel Knight and his beloved stands a cadre of villainous knights. These terrible foes, known as The Order of No Quarter, have been dispatched to prevent Shovel Knight from reaching the Enchantress, and will pursue their mission at any cost. If you love games with perfect platforming, beautiful art, infectious music, crazy bosses, humor and levity, and real heart… Shovel Knight is for you!

Shovel Knight is a retro style action platformer, with brilliant gameplay and memorable characters. The PlayStation edition has Kratos from the God of War series as an exclusive boss character for the players to defeat. Defeating Kratos will award players with an upgraded shovel. He can be found in the hall of champions, an optional bonus stage that is exclusive only to the Sony platforms.

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Players take on the role of Shovel Knight, he who wields a powerful ShovelBlade, and set out on a quest with two goals: to defeat the Enchantress and to rescue his beloved. Players will get to slash and dig their way to success. The only thing that stands in the way of Shovel Knight and his beloved is the villainous knights known as the Order of No Quarter. They have been sent to stop Shovel Knight from the reaching the Enchantress, and they will do it at any cost!

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The game’s difficulty ramps up with each stage, so make sure to equip yourself with Shovel the upgrades, magic, and extra health so that you’re ready when the need arises. When I started playing, the overworld map reminded me of the Super Mario games with a node system where you have to clear each area for a new node to unlock. Some nodes have stages, others have villages where you can buy upgrades and talk to NPCs, and others will have a puzzle for you to complete.

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Each stage has a number of checkpoints to clear before you face a boss battle – the loading screen will show you how many checkpoints you need to reach before a boss and clear that stage. When Shovel Knight dies, he loses some of his money, but don’t worry because you can recover it as it will be waiting for you when you arrive back at your point of death… unless you died over a large bottomless pit. That money will be hard to recover!

Players should always be on high alert in order to find all the secrets in each level. If a wall looks a bit odd, try digging and see what happens! There is a lot of stuff to find, including special items to improve your attack arsenal or to increase your enjoyment of the game’s awesome soundtrack.

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You see, each stage in Shovel Knight has several music sheets to find, and these collectibles will allow players to receive shiny and valuable coin to use for improving their odds of survival. The game also has nine bonus stages to get through too, some of which have music sheets to collect. All in all, there is a total of 48 music sheets to find throughout the game, so make sure to search every nook and cranny for them!

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Relics are the sub weapons you will obtain during your quest. Players can either find them in levels hidden area to acquire them, or they can later purchase them for a fee in town. The relics can perform a variety of actions that will support your offense or defense. But using Relics costs magic, so be sure to balance things right, or you will run out of magic when you reach one of the game’s bosses! Some relics can even be used for other things outside of combat, like the fishing rod that you can use in areas with white sparkles where you don’t catch fish… you catch treasure!

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The game has a full trophy count with 28 Bronze, 3 Silver, 6 Gold and one shiny platinum to earn, and trust me on this….It is NOT an easy platinum! On top of the trophies, Yacht Club Games has included 46 in-game feats for you to complete at your leisure, adding an extra set of objectives for players to aim for.

The main game will take about 6-8 hours to complete, maybe longer if you are going for the platinum run and completing all feats. There is a speed running opportunity for all you speedrunning fans, and the game even includes a trophy for completing the game in under 90 minutes! Oh, and once you are done with the game DO NOT DELETE it! Yacht Club Games has FREE DLC coming soon that will unlock new campaigns and content, so stay tuned at for more news on said releases. I had an absolute blast playing Shovel Knight, especially since it was on my list of most anticipated games for 2015!

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[review pros=”Amazing gameplay.
Lots of Upgrades.
New content incoming.” cons=”Lack of manual save.” score=95]

This review is based on a digital copy of Shovel Knight provided by Yacht Club Games.