Shovel Knight was a breath of fresh air to a video game environment deprived of great retroesque experiences. We had seen some releases like Mega Man 9, other indies and fun handheld games but nothing felt as fresh and innovative as Shovel Knight. I am going to give you my thoughts on the Wii U version of Shovel Knight but the main purpose of this article is to review the new Amiibo unlocked co-op function and see if it is the real deal or a bust!
(If you are only interested in the co-op feature then just scroll down)
Shovel Knight is a fun basic but innovative platformer. you see right away that it takes a lot of features from some of your favorite NES games games and mashes them together in an amazing way. You have the platforming and pogo jump from Duck Tales, relics you use with Up+B like in Castlevania, a stage select from Super Mario Bros 3, shovel beam when you have full health like in Zelda and more.
I am not going to tell you the basics of the game since that info is everywhere and it is easy to google “Shovel Knight” but i will still tell you what i think of some aspects of the game. The game controls very well, the stages are well made, shovel knight has some sweet moves. The highlight of the gameplay are probably the boss fights. They are all unique and all bosses have their own tune which is awesome true dedication. Over all the gameplay is very solid.
But speaking of music… It is really really good. Jake Kaufman and Manami Matsumae made most of the tunes and they sound so nice and genuinely 8-bit it makes you shiver.The story is very basic but fun. You will care about Shovel Knight and his quest to save Shield Knight, his adventure partner gone missing. You will find the bosses interesting characters, and you will get to like the setting of the game which is made very well with a great mix of 8-bit graphics, great music, interesting characters and a fun story.
There are plenty of fun relics that enhance the gameplay among with armor and shovel upgrades you buy with treasure found everywhere in the game. After you beat the game there is still plenty of stuff to do. You can play the game again as Plaque Knight, take on mini challenges and do a new game+ with increased difficulty and more.
The difficulty is fairly moderate. you will die often in your first run both in stage and in boss fights. One thing that bothered me the most about the game is that the difficulty is not found in fighting, but in spikes and pits. This really annoys me sometimes that developers cannot make a game difficult by needing you to get skillful with your character’ skill set by dueling/fighting monsters and enemies but have to resort making you die platforming in a pit or on spikes when you have full health. When you have the potions from the fish king that give you full health mid stage, you will almost never die fighting in this game except for in boss fight. I complained about the same in the review for Super Castlevania IV for the SNES. Fighting should have been more difficult while platforming and annoying falls should have been lessened.
The Wii U version benefits from the variety of controllers available for the system so you can just pick what you like. i also liked playing the game on just the Wii U controller pad. This and the co-op feature unlocked by the Shovel Knight amiibo makes this version probably the best version of Shovel Knight out there but i cannot say for sure because the only other version i have playerd is the Windows one.
ENTER! CO-OP MODE!!!
A cousin dream! We are still playing it a lot but we have found that essentially the co-op mode is:
-Some of the platforming in the stages are is made easier since you can bounce on each other and reach higher places more easily. Other times it can be a bother because you get in the way of each other on narrow platforms since the players do not pass through each other.
-The game is also not over unless both players are dead at the same time so you can almost always just rejoin the game but if you do you take half of your partners’ health. This means not always having to go back to your last checkpoint after dying which is important to the flow of the game.
-At the end of each stage both players and given points based on enemies killed, lives lost and gold collected which can make the co-op play also turn into a bit of a competition which is very fun.
– You share the screen. If one player leaves the screen for the next section of the stage the other automatically follows so in many situations only one player needs to do the platforming while in others you must wait for your partner since the screen won’t stretch.
-Bosses have more health.
-Achievements will be disabled in co-op
– Extra challenges only for 2 players in co-op that are very fun.
-The 1P or 2P Player can play as a custom knight which has customizable features but you need 2 amiibos if both players want to be a custom knight. We just played as the classic knights since we are focusing on the co-op feature at first, but might update later on the custom knight playthrough.
-The custom knight feature basically lets your knight get stronger and gain more relics based on levels and you level up by getting gold. There are some new relics, new moves and alternative costumes+color palettes you can use for custom knight.
Info on custom knight: http://yachtclubgames.com/sk-amiibo-manual/
Not sure what else there is to say….It is really fun and really what you would expect from co-op play in Shovel Knight. It is difficult to say if the difficulty it gets easier or harder but at least it does not break the game. The gameplay is mostly the same but allows you to share the adventure with a pal which is very valuable and adds to the game’s depth and lasting appeal. Like with most games playing in 2 player is just a lot more fun than heading out alone. Cousin gaming has this co-op focus because of that reason so of course we think you should play it with a friend. This Co-op add-on is nicely done, not half assed and should be take seriously even though it just comes to the Wii U with the Amiibo purchase. Of course you have to buy the Amiibo so the game gets a lot more expensive…. But is it worth it? Yes, we think so… Especially if you have a good buddy to play with.
Gameplay 8,5 +0,5 (with Amiibo co-op) 9
Lasting appeal 8,5 +0,5 (with Amiibo co-op) 9
Is it fun? 9 +0,5 (with Amiibo co-op) 9,5
Overall 9 an Awesome game
Shovel Knight was at one point rumored to appear in smash bros for the Wii U but these rumors have been “slammed down”
But i think there is still a chance so i am still hoping 🙂 Crazier stuff has happened….
Thanks for reading