Not many games originating on Kickstarter have gone on to be a huge success story. Shovel Knight is definitely one of them. Yacht Club Games completely smashed their target, with some to spare to continue making fresh new content. And, even a couple of years later, they are still at it.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is a collection of all three instalments in the Shovel Knight series. That includes the original Shovel Knight – now known as Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope, which we have previously covered – Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, and the brand new Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment. The latter being released first exclusively on Nintendo Switch, with other formats getting the update in April. All versions of Shovel Knight are upgraded to Treasure Trove at no cost, with more free content planned in the future.
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment is a prequel to the original game. You play as the mighty Specter of Torment on a mission to gather knights that will become the Order of No Quarter. Equipped with a massive scythe and the ability to walk up walls, it offers a familiar yet challenging new experience to play through. This will also release as a standalone game at a cheaper price, which we have reviewed separately.
As you start the game for the first time on Nintendo Switch you are given the option to choose which Shovel Knight campaign you wish to play. Each part of the game offers an entertaining story around the Shovel Knight universe with many hours of retro (in looks) platforming action, with upgradeable items and weapons, and collectables to keep you replaying for hours. If that’s not enough to keep you busy, there are also many challenge stages and Feats, an in-game achievement system, to push you even more.
The ability to play co-op that was unlocked by using the Shovel Knight amiibo will be rolled out to all consoles (bar 3DS and PlayStation Vita) soon, so what is the amiibo now good for? Well, you can summon the Fairy of Shovelry. A cute little Shovel Knight fairy that can follow you around on your adventure to keep you company.
It’s purely cosmetic and doesn’t do much – aside from trying to dig up treasure and not succeeding – but it’s a nice touch. You can also use your old Shovel Knight data to access your Custom Knight and levels. Another small feature to be included in the Treasure Trove update is the ability to ‘body swap’. This will let you become a female Shovel Knight and save a male Shield Knight or change all the characters to female – the decision is yours. You can change the gender of the characters at any time.
It’s fair to say, if you own Shovel Knight on another format there’s not a strong reason to pay to download the Treasure Trove version on Nintendo Switch (unless you only own the 3DS version, as it won’t be getting multiplayer). All versions will be getting the latest content for free.
However, it’s still fantastic value for money and offers hours of addictive enjoyment. The difficulty level might be a stretch for the more casual gamer but it’s not completely inaccessible. There are continuous updates, free ones at that, and there’s still planned content for the future, Shovel Knight has more life in it yet and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Classic ‘new retro’ platforming action. Challenging levels for all gamer types but fulfilling. Yacht Club Games continues with the same level of quality and there’s still more to come. A must buy if you don’t own Shovel Knight already.