In making Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games set out to create a game that captures the nostalgia and rosy memories that many people have for favorites of the 8-bit generation, like Castlevania, Mega Man, Ducktales, and The Legend of Zelda: Adventure of Link. The issue for me is...I don't like any of those games. I recently took stock, and of the top 20 NES games that you could bring to me...I don't think I like any of them not named Mario or Tetris. So, Shovel Knight is made for people who aren't me, right? What happens when a game is made with the stated goal of appealing to nostalgia that I don't have?
Well, it turns out that that didn't matter at all, because Shovel Knight is just an outstanding game. The controls are snappy, the tutorialization is best-in-class, the boss fights are fair and fun to learn, the soundtrack BANGS, and there is just enough story to make you care about the characters just a bit. Shovel Knight also replaces lots of frustrating things about many games from that generation by doing away with lives and game overs, instituting a checkpoint system, and doing away with cheap difficulty tactics designed to eat quarters or pad game length. It's a joy to play from start to finish, and the fact that I didn't catch tons of references to Zelda 2 or Ducktales didn't matter at all, because Shovel Knight stands on its own...and in my opinion, stands above its inspirations.
Joining me in this episode to discuss Shovel Knight is Mikey Tabletop from Big Drink Energy. Mikey is a treasured member of our podcasting community, and it was a blast to go through the game with him. Big Drink Energy is a podcast that uses energy drink reviews as a springboard for discussion, and you can find all things BDE by following this link.
You can listen to episode 58 of Tales from the Backlog (Shovel Knight) of Tales from the Backlog in the player below, or you can follow the links to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, Stitcher, Google Podcasts or search "Tales from the Backlog" in your favorite podcast app!