Oh boy, this game. Shovel Knight is a superbly developed platformer that adds various genres from older games into the mix; You have some influence from Megaman regarding your freedom of choice in which stage you can pick first, Super Mario (for obvious reasons), a little Metroidvania in there, and some LoZ. While it may be quite a task to list which game mechanics have been inspired by specific games of the genre that I've aforementioned, I'll spare you the details and point out the good points of this phenomenal revival of the classic platformer.
-Good story, with the cliche of saving the "princess" (Shield Knight), but nevertheless a good story
-An expanse map that features the areas and territories governed by other enemy knights you have yet to face. Plus, side quests of all difficulties can be accessed, allowing for more replay value even after you beat the storyline!
-There is a Mana mechanic included, which allows you to pull off special moves during any tough situations!
-Digging and harvesting jewels is practically the backbone of this game. While this may sound like an effort, it's actually quite addicting (and easy) to rack up thousands of jewels in-game. Plus, you can reward yourself by upgrading Shovel Knight with more health and mana! However, it's just as easy to lose money as it is to gain; the difficulty of the game is reasonable, and if you're not careful, you may find yourself losing scores of that hard earned cash.
-Armor Upgrades that alter your defenses, attack capability, and general physics in platforming. Each one has its pro's and con's well balanced in such a way that no armor is "stronger" than the other.
-In addition to your Armor Upgrades, you gain access to Shovel Upgrades as well during that same point of the game. Again, each has its pro's and con's. These moves deplete your mana bar varying in strength of the attack respectively.
-Each knight that you battle is equipped with a quirky personality, generally regarding it's motif. This results in commendable characterization. And the dialogue is memorable as well.
-Amazing soundtrack that captures the moment of each stage setting.
Ultimately, this game is a must-have for all you avid old-school gamers out there. As stated before, a little bit of everything from the classics have been incorporated into this game, so it never grows stale. Would highly recommend!