If the words “For Shovelry” don’t inspire some reaction by now, I want to know how you’ve managed to avoid the indie powerhouse known as Shovel Knight! Yacht Club Games are back with a new garden tool-based title and I’m ready to DIG into it. Yes, it’s Shovel Knight Dig.
Let’s Dig In!
Shovel Knight Dig starts with the titular character having a snooze by his bag of assorted swag, presumably from his previous adventures, Shovel Knight and Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon.
A mysterious figure appears and steals his bag ‘o swag before using a giant drill to retreat to the core of the planet.
Fortunately, drills aren’t the only thing that can dig. Shovel Knight thrusts his trusty shovel in the air once more before following “Drill Knight” to get back his loot once more.
I’m Really Digging It
While the series has a narrative, this isn’t some grand tale spanning title to title. They are usually serviceable stories with memorable characters and witty writing. I’m thankfully happy to report that is also the case here.
You’ll meet a cast of new and returning characters throughout the “Dig”. Some serve a purpose and others less so, but all of them are worth stopping and chatting to, just to see what they have to offer you.
Terrible Knight to have a Curse
Shovel Knight Dig is yet another new spin on the franchise which has seen a platforming game, a platform fighter, and a puzzle game under its belt. This time Yacht Club Games are presenting a dish of the roguelike variety.
While the original game was a side-scrolling platformer, this game focuses more on digging downwards, though there is a scrolling section. Despite being set underground, you’ll still be doing plenty of jumping so it’s a good thing that Shovel Knight is a spritely guy.
You have all the basic moves a Knight of Shovelry requires. You can swing your shovel, dig, use sub-weapons, and even pogo off of enemies à la Duck Tails. If you’ve played the original Shovel Knight, the controls will already be second nature to you.
Digging is the main change here. This mechanic will let you dig in one of four directions. You can’t spend too long in an area though! The game starts bombarding you with danger to get you to move on.
The aim is to get to the bottom of three stages and fight that area’s boss to move on. While the theme doesn’t change, each area is randomly generated, so each Dig is different from the one before. Should you meet your demise, you’ll start again. It’s a roguelike; you know this shtick by now!
There’s Treasure Down There
As you progress further and further down you’ll be collecting your body weight in jewels. These can buy items from the dungeons themselves, and upon death, you bank a certain amount. These can then be spent on the surface, giving you access to new armors and health/sub-weapon meter upgrades to help you get further down the hole.
Each stage also has various keys which can open doors and chests as you make your way deep down. In addition, you can find 3 golden cogs. Collect all three and you get a bonus, along with the choice of health-restoring food or a mystery gift. Naturally, these can be a pain to get and have that whole “risk vs reward” factor to them.
Reach the final stage in your sector and it’s boss battle time. These have that old-school, NES pattern learning aspect to them. Again, it’s not a far cry from the original game. After you run into them a few times, you shouldn’t have any issue knowing what attack they will do next.
Find the main challenge a little too easy? Shovel Knight Dig has online leaderboards, and daily and weekly challenges to add that bit of challenge. Otherwise, as roguelikes go this is one of the more forgiving titles and not to its detriment either.
Middleaged Altered Samurai Molepeople
Shovel Knight Dig employs some beautifully chunky sprite-based graphics. It makes heavy use of bright colors and an art style that would make any Saturday morning cartoon blush.
Shovel Knight himself looks suitably chunky and the returning characters from the series have never looked better. All of the new Knights have brilliant designs too. The amount of detail in the game in terms of touches like dust clouds flying around while you dig makes the game look like a playable cartoon.
The stages do lack some of the detail of the original game in some ways. This is due to their randomly generated nature of them. While the themes of the areas are varied enough, they don’t stand out.
The music in Shovel Knight Dig is just toe-tapping earworm after toe-tapping earworm. The developers always excel when it comes to providing the best chiptune, and once again they have knocked it out of the park. A good idea considering how many times you’ll be hearing it run after run!
Shovel Knight Dig is a good Shovel Knight title, but it doesn’t do anything different than any other roguelike on the market. I think that could be the sticking point for it.
The game looks great, plays great, and sounds amazing. It just doesn’t reinvent the wheel. With every other game being a roguelike or a deck builder nowadays, the game relies solely on the strength of its source material.
SHOVEL KNIGHT DIG IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to Yacht Club Games for a PC review code for this title.
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Pride of utopia & greatest thing ever, I found the One Piece, Collected the Dragon Balls & won the Mortal Kombat Tournament in one night, it was quiet for me that night! Follow me on Twitter @powahdunk