Let me start by saying, I am about to go full fanboy, and you are going to have to deal with it or move on because, truthfully, I won’t be able to stop myself. If you ask any avid gamer what they think the top 10 best games of all time are, chances are you are going to get at least 5 classic Nintendo games every single time – and there is good reason for it. While I am almost exclusively a PC gamer these days, I have to give credit where credit is due. As bad as it tastes coming out of my mouth, I have to admit that Nintendo made some of the best early platformers ever made, and have continued to make at least a few great games on every console since the NES (Just look at the Zelda series). Naturally, when I saw a game being released for PC that hearkened back to the old NES platformers I was raised on, I jumped at the opportunity to try it out – boy am I glad I did. I actually played through Shovel Knight before its release, but life happened and unfortunately I had to delay my review until now.
Shovel Knight’s plot is fairly basic, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Some of the best stories in history share the same basic plot- Slay the dragon, get the girl. Saving the rest of the world is just a perk, right? Anyways, Shovel Knight is the story of the Shovel Knight and the Shield Knight, who were separated in a tragic event (trying to avoid spoilers here, like I said the plot is pretty basic). The Shovel Knight withdraws into a life of solitude, and in his absence, the world is overrun by an evil ruler called The Enchantress. The Shovel Knight is the only one that can save the world, and of course his long lost ‘friend’ the Shield Knight.
Yacht Club did a fantastic job at borrowing all of the best features from our favorite classics. Shovel Knight features a world map reminiscent of Super Mario Bros 3, Bosses that scream Mega Man, Towns that hearken back to Zelda, and so much more. While Shovel Knight clearly borrowed from the classics, seamlessly integrating all of our favorite features into one huge nostalgiafest, Yacht Club still managed to bring us something completely new.
I had one very small issue with Shovel Knight, which is overshadowed by the rest of its awesomeness. The mouse and keyboard controls are horrible. In fact it is almost unplayable without a game pad. I’ve always preferred playing with mouse and keyboard, but playing with a game pad is a small price to play for this outstanding game.
Shovel Knight was a breath of fresh air among stale platform clones – A love letter to classic platformers like Super Mario Bros 3, Mega Man, and Castlevania. Yacht Club borrowed all of the best features from all of our favorite retro games, and added in their own flare, creating possibly the best platformer I have ever played.
Developer: Yacht Club Games
Publisher: Yacht Club Games
Genre: Action Platformer
Price at time of review: $15
Gameplay - 10
Visuals - 9.5
Features - 9.5
Yacht Club borrowed all of the best features from all of our favorite retro games, and added in their own flare, creating possibly the best platformer I have ever played.
Ben is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PCGR. He writes much of the content, manages the site, and does other editorial things that would bore you to tears.