|Pardon the dust!
This page includes some jargon that hasn't been added to the site's glossary yet. I'll be around to fix this later, but sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime.
Review: Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope
At a Glance
|This game is recommended!
This game is not just good fun, it also stays fairly true to Christian moral values, making it a great addition to anyone's library!
|ESRB Rating:||E - Everyone|
|My Rating:||Ages 6 and up|
|Review Published On:||May 13th, 2020|
Your progress is automatically saved whenever you clear a level; if you return to the map prematurely, anything you accomplished in that level is undone and the game restores your last save.
While there is some mild violence, the bigger issue is the amount of magic present in the game's world. One level, The Lich Yard, is the prime example, as it's filled with ghosts, skeletons, and other undead monsters.
Our story begins after another one had ended; long ago, Shovel Knight and Shield Knight had worked together to bring peace and order to a lawless world. But alas, one fateful day a cursed amulet was activated, and Shield Knight disappeared. Lost in his grief, Shovel Knight retired to a quite life of solitude and reflection. However, years later, something evil has begun to stir at the old tower where he had last fought along side Shield Knight, and a new evil has come to pillage the land. Unable to stand by and watch, our hero raised his mighty shovel and returned to challenge this new threat.
Gameplay wise, Shovel of Hope is a combat-oriented platformer centered around the idea of themed characters. Each of the main characters are named after their respective gimmick, and each of the antagonists resides in a lair based around their theme. For example, Tinker Knight is obsessed with machines, and his stage is riddled with conveyor belts, gears, and other bits of random technology. As silly as it might sound, it's actually a good idea to judge a book by its cover in this world.
In order for Shovel Knight to save the day, he'll need to find and defeat all eight members of the Order of No Quarter and then take on the Enchantress' tower fortress. There aren't any shortcuts to be had, as the roads that take you across the map are often locked by gates that correspond to a specific Knight. This also means that you can't go after the antagonists in just any order; you'll need to open the paths to their lairs first.
In addition to the dangerous traps, each Knight's lair also contains a relic in some hidden location. These relics give Shovel Knight new abilities, though it costs some energy to put them to use. You don't need to hunt down every relic, but they can give you an edge in some levels and they'll be needed to travel through special puzzle levels found on the world map.
And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot of extra stuff to do, items to find, and even some surprises hidden throughout the game. I'd strongly recommend giving this one a go, especially if you're fond of older games.
Points of Interest
As for the sheet music, it belongs to a minstrel in the first town. He claims it was lost, but considering how many pieces ended up getting tucked into remote corners or locked in chests, I think somebody is simply preventing him from performing. Probably annoyed by the noise. Anyway, the minstrel will pay 500 gold pieces per song you recover, and if you want, you can ask him to play any song you've already found. Of course, there's also an achievement for finding them all, so get looking!
Unexpectedly, the last three stages available in this mode are crossovers featuring the heroes of the Battletoads franchise, pitting the Shovel Knight against them in some of their most (in)famous levels.
Of course, there's also a set of Steam trading cards that you can earn while playing and replaying this game.
Concerns and Issues
However, while everything is generally treated with the lightheartedness of a child's fairytale, there is a section of the game where things are unusually bleak and macabre. This is the Lich Yard, home of the Spectre Knight. The level takes you through grave yards and catacombs, all of which are filled with evil-looking skeletons and ghosts, and it ends with a battle against the scythe wielding phantasm himself.
There is also the possibility that someone at the ESRB interpreted the Troupple King's various ichors to be alcoholic in nature (as they are stored in magical chalices). The problem there is that ichor has always been a purely magical liquid (literally, it's the blood of the gods in Greek mythology), not an alcoholic beverage. More to the point, in Shovel Knight, it's magical fish spit, so again, not some sort of booze.