NOTE: This is a shortened review without screenshots. For my full review, please visit Real Gamer Reviews
CAN YOU DIG IT, SUCKA?
I'm sorry. I had to.
This is the best Megaman game that's been made in nearly 2 decades.
This game is a very very high-quality tribute to the games were popular during the late 80's/early 90's. The influences are obvious - The character itself, the level design, boss fights, graphical style and music are very reminiscent of the early Megaman games. The level selection pays tribute to the slightly-less-than-linear level select screen of Super Mario Bros. 3, where there is a general direction of progression, but you may be given the opportunity to stray from the path at times. The shovel jump mechanics are a less-than-subtle throwback to the pogo stick in Ducktales. Most importantly, however, is that the controls are both simple and responsive. If you miss a jump, it'll always because you
missed the jump, rather than the game itself boning you. As with most 2D platformers on PC, I would strongly recommend a controller (with the Xbox 360 controller being the standard).
The difficulty of this game is often spoken about. The game is fairly difficult
, but I do have to stress that this game is NOT Nintendo difficult
. The difference is mainly that although Shovel Knight does have challenging sections, there is rarely a point in the game that is strictly unfair. Most of the time when you die, it'll be more of a "dammit, I messed up" than a "this game is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥" type of thing. Furthermore, unlike many NES games of old, there is no limit to the number of lives you have. Instead, dying causes you to lose a portion of the gold you've collected, which gets left at the point at which you died. You then spawn at the latest checkpoint and have an opportunity to obtain the money that you dropped. This means that there are rarely any parts of the game that require extensive replaying of the same areas over and over again. Seasoned platform gamers (for which this game is most likely targeted at) will probably get through this game without too much of a struggle. Newer gamers however are likely to get stuck and potentially frustrated at various segments of the game. With that said, regardless of how difficult you may find the game, each level you complete will feel like an accomplishment.
As previously mentioned, both the graphics and the music in the game are very much influenced by game such as Megaman. The graphics are, in a sense, "beautifully ugly", in that it is an 8-bit style game done in high resolution. The music is more or less the type of chiptune that you'd expect from a game like this. It's catchy, yes, although I found the music less memorable than the NES titles that inspired this game.
Overall, I would recommend this game to anyone looking for a good NES-style 2D platformer. Yes, the price of this is currently relatively steep for an indie game (as it has never been bundled or, to my knowledge, gone on special for any significant amount to this date). With that said, as PC gamers, we are spoilt for choice. We live in an age where, on Steam, and with the overabundance of bundled games, we are able to get decent-quality games for very cheap. From a value-for-money point of view, I would recommend getting much cheaper-but-high-quality 2D platformers such as Super Meat Boy, Limbo, Braid, Spelunky and a host of other games well before you got this one. However, if you're like me and time
is a considerably more limiting factor than money, then Shovel Knight is the best value.
In other words, I strongly believe that Shovel Knight is the best 2D platformer currently on Steam, bar none.