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Shovel Knight Review: Games of Future Past

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Welcome back friends to my esteemed blog.  I hope all of you out there had an incredible fire cracking 4th of July weekend.  As most of us prepare to return to our usual 9-5 occupations, some of us would like to know what is hot in the gaming world.  Thankfully, I have come back to bring you yet another fantastic dose of gaming goodness.  There are plenty of big names within the gaming industry, but for those of you who are not aware, indie games are making a huge positive impact within the gaming world.  

Independent developer Yacht Club Games has launched their newest title Shovel Knight for the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U.  This title is a tribute to retro platforming games that many, if not, all of us are too familiar with.  The question is, does Shovel Knight pay homage to a time period of great games?  Or, does it insult the genre of retro platforming that we have all loved since childhood?  Let’s find out shall we?

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The world of Shovel Knight…look familiar?

Graphics:  Shovel Knight is a retro gaming platforming adventure that takes a risk with having 8-bit type graphics, but you can’t help but be mesmerized by the beautiful execution of this trip down memory lane.  It dives back into the days of old without ever making the game look too outdated.  The sprites and backgrounds are very well executed, the colors are unbelievably vibrant, and the blend of graphical elements from different gaming titles of the 8-bit era (you’ll see which ones shortly) draw you in to the point where you completely forget that you are playing this game on a next-generation gaming console.  Yacht Club Games deserves high recognition and praise for their incredible and masterful execution of this element.  Score: 9.5/10

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You bring your lamp, I’ll bring my SHOVEL!


Sound:
 The music of Shovel Knight is a retro gamer’s dream come true.  It uses the 8-bit chip sound production beautifully, and more often than not, I found myself tapping my toes to some of these incredible tracks.  This is a reminder to gamers that you don’t need a full scale orchestra to create fantastic memorable music.  Score: 9/10

Tick Tock

Tick Tock

 

Gameplay:  The meat of this package is within the gameplay.  Shovel Knight is a side-scrolling platform adventure game.  It borrows elements from many of the “in-crowd” Nintendo games.  The controls are as basic as they come.  You have move, jump, and attack.  You side scrolling elements from Mega Man using your shovel as a pogo stick from Ducktales, and attacking foes in similar ways to Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania via swiping them with your shovel.  

The map layout is very similar to Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the greatest Nintendo games ever (at least in my opinion).  You traverse through different dungeon layouts and fight bosses in the same format as Mega Man.  You also earn currency via digging up and or discovering gems, gold coins, and other shiny goodies along the way.  Currency plays a critical role in this game, as it allows you to buy relics and potions that make your quest a little bit easier.  It also plays a role when you die.  Upon your death, chunks of your funds are sacrificed to bring you back.  Don’t fret, you can return to you place of death and reclaim your lost funds, which are floating in bags.  

Big tanks?  I got a SHOVEL!

Big tanks? I got a SHOVEL!

You may think that this game is a “rip off” of other treasured games of the 8-bit era, but it actually feels like a stand alone title that really makes it’s mark in an incredible way.  Some of us veteran retro gamers may find the difficulty of Shovel Knight a little bit mundane, but fear not friends, Yacht Club Games has provided a New Game Plus mode that is sure to scratch that itch for an extra challenge.  Shovel Knight looks simplistic but it plays smoothly for those who are veterans of the Nintendo 8-bit era and those of us who were deprived of the joys of these gaming gems back in the days of old.  Score: 10/10

 

Shovel Knight is a fantastic game.  It has been years since I played through a platformer numerous times in one sitting, and it felt pretty darn good.  Retro gamers looking for a hidden gem, or new age gamers wanting to find their gaming roots, look no further than Shovel Knight.  A fantastic tribute to retro games and this will be a classic for many years to come.

 

Final Score: 9.5/10

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PSP Games I have deemed as treasure worthy.

Good evening everyone, and welcome back to my blog.  As many of you know I recently purchased a PS Vita, and I have been loving it ever since.  I can honestly say that of the several PSP games I have downloaded from the Vita, I have listed these as my top three.  

1.  Final Fantasy 4: The Complete Collection- Anyone who enjoys a good classic RPG should not pass up this revamped classic.  With not only the original game remade, but also FF4 Interlude, and The After Years, this is a package well worth the price of admission.

2.  The 3rd Birthday:  The third installment of the Parasite Eve series.  Although the series veers away from the storyline of the first two it still delivers an action-packed experience with everyone’s favorite heroine Aya Brea.  Keep in mind though, this is not an easy journey.  The game is very difficult as Aya Brea is made to be very fragile and can die in one to three quick hits.  

3. Legend of Heroes:  Trails of the Sky- A very nice change of pace in turn-based RPG Goodness.  With a good story, excellent soundtrack and good blend of protagonists this game will keep you busy for quite a while.  

What are your favorite PSP titles?  I’d love to hear from you.  Thanks for reading and be sure to follow my blog.  Thanks!

 

Lucas