Shovel Knight: King of Cards—Farewell to the Indie Masterpiece

Shovel Knight: King of Cards
It’s the King.

Since 2014 we’ve followed the Yacht Club Games journey, starting with Shovel Knight. One of the biggest indie game success stories of all time.

The games are stunning—NES era inspired romps of joyous platforming fun. And here’s the last entry in the collective Treasure Trove series. 

King of Cards

Shovel Knight began in 2014, where you star as the eponymous protagonist.

The final installment in the Shovel Knight saga concerns King Knight. In the series’ timeline, this campaign is set before all of the others.

A card game, Joustus, is sweeping across the kingdom! After a tournament emerges to determine the champion of the game, King Knight desires the glory.

As the player, it’s your job to battle across NES era inspired 2D levels. As you progress your character gains new skills and abilities, which you unlock using money.

Whilst some of the level designs are the same as the first game, the point with this outing is King Knight has a different playing style you’ll have to master.

Graphically it’s the most impressive entry yet, with dramatic background flourishes. All set to that gloriously nostalgic, enchanced 8-bit aesthetic.

Now, the gameplay. Shovel Knight games are accessible but tough. Our advice is to “git gud”, and all that, but also to hoard as many gems (money) as you come across in each level.

You use that to upgrade your health. As you’re going to need a big old power meter. But as you progress, you’ll realise just how damn good the game is.

King of Cards absolutely follows in the shovelsteps of the previous games, such as the Specter of Torment (2017), in that here we have a perfectly realised platforming experience.

It revels in its NES era look, right down to the minor details—such as using the same music technology composers did back in the 1980s.

And yet it’s also a thoroughly modern indie gaming experience. Fluid, exuberant, inventive, and clever.

It’s enthralling stuff and an excellent final marker in a near perfect 2D platforming universe.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

For all four of the games, you can purchase the Treasure Trove pack. This includes the original game, plus the new campaigns such as Plague of Shadows (2015).

Highly recommended. These are some of the finest indie games ever created—right up there in the top five, no doubts.

The 2014 entry now has the retronym Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope. Full credit to Yacht Club Games for taking that first title and improving on it with each new campaign.

The great news is the Californian indie studio isn’t done with the Shovel Knight character yet. He has cult status, why waste that?

And whilst we won’t be seeing a new game as part of the Treasure Trove universe, there’s a fighting game coming up (Showdown).

Yacht Club Games is also starting to publish out other indie studio’s efforts, which is rather nice of them.

Shovel Knight Dig

There’s also this thrilling looking majigger to look forward to! It’s a collaboration with the London indie team Nitrome.

It’s a dungeon crawler, roguelike title and we already love the look of it. And, frankly, the more of this the better.

We bloody love indie games. We bloody love Shovel Knight. And we bloody well want as much of this bloody stuff as possible. For shovelry!


  1. I think Shovel Knight is the game that officially brought me into the indie scene. In hindsight, I think it was because it marked the exact moment the indie scene tossed away the prima donna, auteur attitude many pioneering artists such as Jonathan Blow and Phil Fish had, put their heads down, and focused on making games people can enjoy without suffering through any kind of insufferable pretentiousness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • World of Goo did that for me in 2008, but it’s around 2014 that many more devs started getting it seriously right.

      There’s still quite a bit of pretentious stuff going about. The First Tree and Seasons After Fall spring to mind (both involving foxes – so don’t make an indie game with a fox). But on the whole the quality is now very high.

      Liked by 1 person

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