Since the last 8-bit style game came out, Shovel Knight has expanded into many other genres as developer and publisher Yacht Club charted a route that takes its eponymous aristocrat will go next. In December, we got something great Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon, which cleverly combines falling block puzzle mechanics with roguelite game design. Now, we are getting another roguelite in Shovel Knight Digi, only this time the gameplay is more in line with the action platform of the original game. As you might expect of this franchise right now, it’s a explosion play; Nitrome developer (Bomb chicken) offers a challenging, rewarding, and exciting new experience that movie enthusiasts will want to learn right away.
Shovel Knight Dig takes place before the original Shovel Knight, so the Shield Knight hasn’t disappeared yet and the Enchantress hasn’t come to power and established the Order of No Quarter. Here, the main villain is a new character named Drill Knight, who has formed a group of knights called the Hexavator to help him raid a room containing treasure buried somewhere deep in the universe. ground. Their efforts to do so — and the huge hole they’ve created — are creating problems for the people on the surface, so Shovel Knight and Shield Knight dive in to try to get to the bottom of what’s going on. what is happening.
Obviously, story isn’t the focus here, as it’s a replayable roguelite platformer first and foremost. What’s here, though, creates a certain amount of intrigue as you can’t help but wonder what awaits you at the bottom of the pit and fans of the series will appreciate the many nods to the characters. Other titles take place later in the Shovel Knight timeline. For example, it’s interesting to see the Shovel Knight and Shield Knight relationship play out in the many brief flashbacks we get elsewhere in the series and interact with previous incarnations of Mole Knight and Tinker Knight from before they joined the Order of No Quarter. some interesting details about the characters. ‘Legend’ doesn’t weigh too much here, so first-timers of the franchise won’t feel like they’re missing out on a lot, but those who’ve played previous releases will appreciate how this fits. fit.
The gameplay can best be described as how the original Shovel Knight game would have looked if it had been created with a design philosophy in mind. Downwell. You play as the famous green knight and start each run by jumping into the hole, with the simple goal of getting to the bottom as quickly as possible while collecting as many as you can on your way down. Each run is divided into biomes consisting of three levels, with the final fourth level consisting of a boss battle with that area’s resident knight. Each time you fall into battle, you’ll be brought back to the surface and have to try them all over again. You retain some of your collected gems from each run, but otherwise lose all upgrades and non-existent inventory items forever.
Suffice it to say, hardship is brutal, but not necessarily unfair. You don’t really have much health to start with each run, and although this can then be expanded through shops and upgrades, healing items are usually pretty sparse. So most failures are not because you hit a brick wall you simply can’t get through, but the death of thousands of cuts as each jump is miscalculated and the encounter with rough enemies add up to finally get the final result. You’d think the solution would be to simply slow things down and play it safe, but constantly there’s a giant, invincible hacksaw knocking you down from above. Most of the time, you don’t even know it’s there, but if you take too long to fool around and try to get every gem and collectable, it will catch up to you quickly and kill you. right away.
With this, there’s a great kind of tension to every minute of your run. Shovel Knight Dig certainly adheres to the ‘rich-rich-richer-richer’ philosophy, where playing effectively will get rewards that make the game easier, while playing poorly will make things difficult. harder for you as you continue to stretch. It is in your best interest to collect as many gems as you can on your way down, as this will directly give you more ability to buy relics, upgrade items, and cures if your partner flags passing a shop. However, if you don’t learn to effectively prioritize which groups of gems to take and which gems to transfer, you’ll find the saw will eventually catch you. Figuring out that risk-reward line is a big part of the fun of Shovel Knight Dig, and you’ll find yourself slowly building a knowledge base as time goes on and you learn to make the best of the multitude. situations and obstacles that may arise.
While every level is randomly generated, we appreciate how the gimmicks on the stage and the enemy types here come together to give the biomes a handcrafted feel. this new. Whether you’re bouncing among mushrooms, dodging between bubbles and swimming fish, or disarming bombs before they explode, there’s rarely a dull moment in Dig as you frantically swipe and jump your way. I get to a safe place. Crucially, the moment-to-moment gameplay feels incredibly similar to the original Shovel Knight; you get the same set of moves and even the physics feels pretty much the same. With this in mind, it seems like you always have the ability to overcome the immediate hurdles, but not to the extent that any of them are considered trivial. Even arch-enemies can deal a hard blow to you every now and then, and the damage you take there can mean the difference between life and death as you then land on some thorns.
Along the way, you find ways to add to the Shovel Knight’s repertoire, and this is where your chances of survival increase dramatically. For example, in treasure chests or at shops, you can pick up Relics that give you access to new expired items to help increase the odds. Whether it’s a form of short-range teleportation, a useful projectile attack, or a short-lived levitation vehicle, each Relic has very clear use cases to help you get out of trouble. constraint.
Plus, you can get upgrades in stores that give you health or magic stats or useful passive abilities like gem magnets or a wider range to swing your shovel. If you diligently collect gems along the way, you can usually afford one or two at each store, but you never have enough to get everything you want.
In addition, there are three golden gears on every level, which are placed in obvious but slightly hard-to-reach areas. They usually require you to put yourself in more danger to pick them up, but if you collect them all, you’ll be given a choice at the end of the phase between full health recovery or a random new passive upgrade. These golden gears make a big the differences in your runs — the benefits of that full health recovery can’t be overstated — but they do present another variable to consider when you’re mulling things over and weighing options. mine. We appreciate the role of gears in the overall game loop; they challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and push yourself, but the cost to do so can be very high.
Those of you who like some meta progress in roguelite will kindly note that there are some permanent upgrades that persist between runs. Gems left over from a run will be thrown into your bankroll and can then be spent on things like different armor sets to tweak your playstyle or possible new types of relics. appear on subsequent attempts. These upgrades are not diverse will Insurance You succeed if you simply keep studying long enough, but they provide useful tools and skills to increase your chances of success beyond the basic set. Perhaps most importantly, it feels like the economy here is well handled; you can’t just buy everything in a few runs like you can in a Pocket Dungeon.
In terms of presentation, Shovel Knight Dig takes the franchise from 8-bit to 16-bit and delivers all the new fidelity you’d expect. The art style feels like a natural progression of what came before, and seeing beloved characters and enemies is rendered in a much more expressive and detailed style. is interesting for Shovel Knight veterans. Each environment is given their own distinctive color palette, and there’s a lot of fun going on in their setting, whether it’s slimy insect nests or ruins decorated with stains.
Meanwhile, the soundtrack mixes with remixes of classic tunes and all-new music to create a compelling backdrop for all the swashbuckling and dandy. Listening to music that is more complex and layered than the original game’s 8-bit chiptunes is a pleasure, but nothing feels out of place or out of place compared to what came before. It seems that the soundtrack is generally a bit less memorable here, although admittedly this is likely just a side effect of the game’s more intense pace. You don’t have much time to focus on music when you are fighting for your life!
If there’s one complaint we have about the Shovel Knight Dig, it’s that it can feel a bit too short, even by roguelite standards. Our first full clear comes in less than three hours of overall play, and even though there’s more to unlock and try on subsequent runs, we’re still more than 50% done for your file at this point. The content here is certainly high quality and well worth your time, but in many ways it feels more like a side dish than a main dish. Those of you looking for a Dead cells or Enter Gungeonstyle experience can take dozens in the hour to fully conquer can feel a bit disappointed.
That said, there’s also quite a bit of replayability here beyond the raw unlocks for those of you who are more competitive. While there isn’t any multiplayer, you can post scores from your runs to the global leaderboard to see how you rank, and there are also daily and weekly runs provided. levels to help you go back. You can also sort these leaderboards to only show people on your friends list, allowing you to focus on keeping your competitors more local if you want. This leaderboard integration helps keep subsequent runs from getting too tiring by providing extra motivation, as there’s always who There’s a little better than you out there who you can work to topple.