Shovel Knight: The Game I Never Knew I Wanted - irwin529 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Shovel Knight: The Game I Never Knew I Wanted

As video game's evolve more and more each year, there have been plenty of games released these days that capitalize on people's nostalgia of the old days. Games that feature 8-bit graphics and old gameplay mechanics that act as love letters to games from the NES era. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and people who grew up with that console are sometimes more than happy to play new games that bring up memories of their favorite NES games. This has never been the case for me. I grew up in the 90's with a Sega Genesis, but the games I played most on that console was the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Aside from playing Super Mario games at my cousin's house on her SNES, I never played old classics like Mega Man or Castlevania. Because of that, modern day 8-bit games have never been of interest to me. I'll play anything fun, but I've always felt these modern day retro games are really meant for those who grew up on the NES, and as such, I wouldn't be able to appreciate them fully. That is, until I played Shovel Knight.

I hadn't heard of Shovel Knight until reviews began to crop up on various websites, but even then I didn't pay too much attention to it. It just didn't look like the type of game I normally enjoy, plus, I assumed it was a PS4/Vita title, of which I have neither. But after finding out the game is actually on the Wii U/3DS, and reading Game Informer editor Kimberley Wallace's Tips For Surviving The Summer Gaming Slump, I decided I should give it a shot. She suggests you should play something that is outside of your comfort zone, and Shovel Knight definitely meets that criteria, so I downloaded it on my 3DS and was surprised at how much I loved it.

For the uninitiated, Shovel Knight tells the story of, well, Shovel Knight, a knight with a shovel for a weapon who goes on a quest to save the kingdom from The Enchantress and her Order of No Quarter. The gameplay is taken straight out of the NES era. I may not have ever played Mega Man or Castlevania, but it's easy to see how Shovel Knight draws inspiration from them. Mega Man's Robot Master bosses are common knowledge, and Shovel Knight draws directly from that with the eight Knights from the Order of No Quarter. Take Castlevania's weapons, Ducktales' combat and Super Mario Bros. 3's world map and you get the idea.

You don't have to have played those games to fully appreciate Shovel Knight, though. Anyone can fall for it's tight platforming mechanics and infectious soundtrack. It's a tough game, but it's always fair. I died plenty of times against a single boss, but I know it was my fault and not the game's. Never did I feel that the game was being difficult just for the sake of a challenge. And surprisingly, it's actually a pretty funny game. I cracked a smile numerous times while reading the dialogue from the colorful cast of characters. I dare you not to laugh during the Troupple King's ridiculous dance.

I'm glad I played Shovel Knight. It's a great game that introduced me to a genre I didn't know I had an interest in. It actually makes me want to go back and play old classics like Mega Man, if only so I can appreciate it even more. If you haven't played it, or are like me and don't care much for nostalgia, I highly recommend you give it a try. You don't have to have been a product of the '80s to love it.

 

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