Help Shovel Knight achieve “shovel justice” on the PlayStation 4
I recently received a review code for the PlayStation 4 version of Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight. For those who don’t know, Shovel Knight was originally a game that was released on the Wii U and the 3DS eShop for download. Outcry from fans from Sony and Microsoft got the attention of Yacht Club and they eventually released the game for the PS4 and Xbox One as well. Does the PS4 version hold up to the Wii U version, which is one of the best games on the system?
Shovel Knight does a great job in bringing the classic old school games into a new light. What I mean by that is the game takes inspiration from the classics and gives them new light with a Shovel Knight twist. Without giving away too much with the story, Shovel Knight loses his best friend, Shield Knight. Without knights to oversee the land, the land was taken over by the Enchantress and the Order of No Quarter. Shovel Knight knew that Shield Knight was still out there, he just had to find out where!
As I mentioned before, the game pays homage to the games of the past, notably the games of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Games like Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, Mega Man, Ducktales and more are on full display in the arsenal for Shovel Knight. Having an open world map( to an extent) and being able to fight the Order of No Quarter in an order of your choosing are just some of the ways the classic games play into Shovel Knight. The way Shovel Knight attacks with his shovel and his thirst for treasure is reminiscent of Scrooge McDuck from Ducktales. Safe to say the guys at Yacht Club Games did their homework when it came to honoring the classic games of the past!
Anyone who has read my work knows that I’m a sucker when it comes to good video game music. Shovel Knight has some of the best music the Wii U and for this review, the PlayStation 4 has to offer. As I’m writing this review, I’m listening to the soundtrack for the game and it still sounds great. It should sound amazing since the game has many Mega Man sounding tracks. Mega Man has some of the best music in games so that was a good stepping-stone for musical cues.
All the songs go perfect for what’s going on in the stage. For example, the Explodatorium sounds spooky and mysterious yet still is upbeat enough to show the action is going to be fast paced. Whereas Spectre Knight’s stage sounds like a graveyard and that sounds eerie as well as quick to sound scary too. One of my favorite songs is the Village in how it sounds. It has the main theme in it and yet it sounds different enough to show the player this will be an important place. The Village is your base of operations and you can get all sorts of stuff there like items as well as character interaction. The music that plays in the village changes just enough when something different occurs on screen and at times changes to play off the mood on screen.
Like I mentioned before, I have now played both the Wii U version and the PlayStation 4 version of the game. Both versions have their pros and cons but lets stay focused on the PS4 version. The controls felt tight and I didn’t have to be fearful that the controller wasn’t going to react when I needed to make a precise jump. The same could be said for item usage and not worrying about being able to use the right item at the right time.
When games get a re-release, you like to see things different from the original. That could be as simple as updated graphics or it could be something from deep right field. Shovel Knight for the Xbox One was given the Battletoads as added content but PlayStation 4 owners were given the chance to fight Kratos from the God of War franchise and serve him a dose of “shovel justice.”
Added material like this shows that Yacht Club wants to give the fans something fun to play and not just make the same game on another system. After you defeat Kratos, in a long battle, you get your hands on the Gravedigger’s Shovel, which needs to be forged at the shovel smith’s shop in the Outpost. The Gravedigger’s Shovel will then become the Armor of Chaos that allows Shovel Knight to perform a three hit combo as well as attack with fire at times. I’m not going to reveal how to unlock the Kratos fight. That secret will just to be found on your own!
To recap, Shovel Knight for the PlayStation 4 keeps the charm and originality that made the game great on the Wii U. It actually improved on some things like the tightness of the controls as well as added hidden unlockables like Kratos from God of War. The music is still some of the best I’ve heard in gaming. It’s these reasons that I’m giving Shovel Knight for the PlayStation 4 an 9/10!
Still holding out hope for Shovel Knight 2!
Score: 9 / 10