PAX Prime: Shovel Knight – First Impressions

Shovel Knight has made a few PAX appearances, though we seem to have missed getting our hands on it at PAX East earlier this year. It was a regretful oversight, because it seemed like everywhere we turned, the game was getting rave reviews!

Fortunately, the team of forward WayForward developers who put this one together were able to bring it to Seattle for PAX Prime, so we had a second chance at checking it out. This is the first solo venture from Yacht Club Games, an action platformer that’s reputably inspired by the downward sword thrust from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Yes, that’s right—it’s inspired by one specific move from a very old game!

The shovel in this game is used for just about everything—not only combat, but also travel, and as a tool. You can dig up treasure, slice ‘n dice your enemies, or hilariously use it as a pogo stick. Who knew shovels were so versatile!

The game has a retro feel with a modern sleekness. It’s a fast-paced game that requires timing and precision (specifically with the jumps), and the demo will bring you through a level to a boss fight. If you’re not sure what to do at any point, stop thinking and pay attention to the game—there are subtle hints to direct you, but nothing overt or annoying.

The game also maintains that NES color palette to keep a retro feel, but there’s certainly nothing retro about how it plays.

The team is hosting a demo of this title at the Nintendo booth each day of the con between 2-4pm, so you do still have time to check it out tomorrow. Play the demo and get a button!

We don’t have a firm release date on this one yet, but we’ll keep you posted.


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Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

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