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Games : Highly Recommended
Release Date: April 21st, 2015 Movie Release Year: 2015

Shovel Knight

Overview -

Wayforward Technologies has led the charge for preserving the 8-bit gameplay glory days wherever they can (they're the folks responsible for that pretty 'Ducktales' remake from a few years back, after all). But a few of their rank have taken it a step further by splintering off to form Yacht Club Games, and spearheading their first major release, 'Shovel Knight', an NES game in all but console. The game made huge waves when it debuted on the WiiU and 3DS. Now it's come to Sony's systems, and they've brought the God of War himself along for the ride.

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
April 21st, 2015

Video Review


Naturally, one has to judge 'Shovel Knight' on its merits as a 8-bit showcase than any sort of workout for one's HDTV, and with that in mind, its still a colorful, evocative piece of work here that never misses an opportunity to to evince more than just cartoonishness out of this blocky collection of pixels.

Audio Review


Fun story: The first time I ever heard of Jake "virt" Kaufman was in my Overclocked Remix obsessed days, where I came across what's still probably the greatest piece of fan remix work I've ever heard: A 20 minute prog metal arrangement of the entire 'Super Metroid' soundtrack called Crystal Flash. It's still floating out there on YouTube, last I checked. I only mention this because compared to most fan works that just seek to reinstrumentalize the music willy-nilly, that was a piece of work that so thoroughly understood the tone and timbre of that soundtrack, it felt like a complete inevitability that virt would start actually working in games. So when his name showed up in the credits for 'Shovel Knight', the fact that it's one of the best chiptune soundtracks ever written made a hell of a lot more sense. While the sound design is an appealing collection of 8-bit blips and bloops, the chiptune score is a perfect harmony of catchiness, capturing every ounce of self-awareness, heroism, chivalry, and adrenaline-boosting action that the game needs. This is one of those special scores that those in the know will be humming for years to come. (That soundtrack is available here for a Name Your Price price.)

Final Thoughts

Nostalgia is its own genre of film, TV, and music these days, which isn't necessarily a good or bad thing, with enough creativity employed. 'Shovel Knight', however, is a better kind of nostalgia, the kind that proves there's still plenty of life in a concept rather than trying to remind an audience the concept was good once. 'Shovel Knight' isn't an attempt to remind us of better games; it IS the better game.