Shovel Knight? The Plague of Shadows? Eh?! In the history of shovels not much really stands out. To Professional Moron’s knowledge, the only shovel based cultural thing we’re able to recall is Michael Palin’s excellent Ripping Yarns episode, where Yorkshire bore Eric Olthwaite drones on and on about shovels and the predictability of precipitation in the local vicinity.
If that’s too obscure as a reference, at least now there’s Yacht Club Games’ brilliant Shovel Knight to make things easier. Kickstarted (as in, publically funded) in May 2013, the NES era graphics based 2D platformer became an instant classic upon its release last year. Now there’s an official DLC package, Plague of Shadows, to accompany it, the time is now for more Shovel Knight!
First released on Nintendo’s Wii U, Shovel Knight’s critical acclaim was such it soon warranted a release on pretty much everything imaginable. Blending the old with the new, it was such a charming and addictive experience DLC was guaranteed, and here it is.
This time the player is Plague Knight and, after a bit of plot exposition, the game commences! Yes, a game which launches you straight into the action without at least 20 minutes of loading screens and cut scenes!
Shovel Knight takes a back seat in the Plague of Shadows, referred to and occasionally seen, but here you take control of a skeletal dude. It’s an entirely different control system to master, as Mr. Plague Knight can leap about the place like you can’t believe and perform explosions and other sorts of alchemy based trickery.
The game is one difficult SOB, is has to be stated, replicating realistically the borederline impossible difficulty levels of 1980s NES games (History Lesson: developers made their games extremely difficult to make them appear to last longer – back in the ’80s most titles could be completed in 30 minutes otherwise).
Due to this, Plague of Shadows can become irritating as the game’s fairly brutal in its punishment for mistakes, but it’s so fantabulous you can’t stay mad at it for too long. Indeed.
A Plague On Both Your Shovels!
This isn’t a review, btw, FYI, it’s a statement. A statement to get out there and play this game, if you like video games that is. If you don’t, watch Netflix instead. Otherwise, Shovel Knight, and Plague of Shadows, represent the very best in video gaming excellence.
We’ve droned on and on in other posts about our dislike of the modern industry’s infatuation with graphics, the overreliance on brutal violence, and the godawful scripts which have started to accompany many major titles. Shovel Knight and its DLC are the perfect antidotes!
The Plague Knight update is, brilliantly, free (the DLC was also public funded) if you already have the game, about £10 ($15) if you’re dim-witted enough not to own this masterpiece already. We can’t emphasise enough the sheer excellence of this title. What are you waiting for? Download it. Now!