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  1. If you haven't heard of Boss Fight Books yet, it's essentially a publisher of books that do deep dives into different video games' development, cultural significance, and more. So far they've managed to do three 'seasons' of books so far, with games such as Earthbound, Shadow of the Colossus, and Chrono Trigger among others being written about and analyzed. Boss Fight Books has now announced a fourth season via Kickstarter, and the games that will be covered are as follows: Final Fantasy V Shovel Knight NBA Jam Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Postal Each book in the past has been full of interesting insights and interviews with developers from the games, so if this sort of thing piques your interest, be sure to check out Boss Fight Books' Kickstarter for Season 4. All five books in Season 4 are expected to release by the end of 2017. Source: Kickstarter Have you read any of Boss Fight Books' titles yet? Are you interested in any of the games covered in Season 4? Let us know!
  2. Inti Creates may have had a hand in the development of last year's critically lambasted Mighty No. 9, but the studio is firing on all cylinders this year with the the positive reception from Blaster Master Zero and the recently released Mighty Gunvolt Burst. That momentum kept going yesterday as they announced at Anime Expo 2017 that Shovel Knight and Shantae would be coming to Blaster Master Zero as DLC EX characters very soon; both of which fundamentally change up the game in pretty notable ways. Shovel Knight effectively acts as a melee character with a similar moveset to that of his own game, using his shovel as an attack and also being able to bounce off enemies with a downward thrust when he jumps. Similarly, Shantae also has pretty much the same classic moveset from her own games, which is attacking with her hair and magic as well as transforming into animals with special skills. Inti Creates is offering both characters for free when each debuts, but will then charge $1.99 for each when the free period ends. The period for when you can download them for free is as follows: EX Character: Shantae – 7/6/2017~7/19/2017 EX Character: Shovel Knight – 8/3/2017~8/16/2017 And as if that isn't enough for you, Inti Creates also teased that this isn't the end of new updates for Master Blaster Zero. More info on what's next for the game will be announced in the coming weeks and months. Could more DLC characters be in the works? Or will they add more game modes? We'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, check out the trailer for Shovel Knight and Shantae in Master Blaster Zero below. Source: Inti Creates Are you excited for Shovel Knight and Shantae? Are you planning to play through the game as them?
  3. Monday Musings is a feature where every Monday, I'll shoot the breeze about what I've been playing and what my thoughts are on various news and events in the game industry. This week I'll be talking about the upcoming launch of the Nintendo Switch on Friday, one early challenge that's come up already for it, and how I haven't been this excited for a new console in a long time. Is it Friday yet? No? Then is it too late to put myself in cryogenic sleep otherwise? Maybe that'd be overdoing it a bit considering the Switch comes out a mere four days from now, but seriously... I want that Switch yesterday. It's funny -- when I think of the Wii U, I actually can't remember much of the pre-launch hype for it. I do remember that it was barely advertised on TV (much less elsewhere) -- Nintendo claimed that it was due to high ad prices because of the 2012 election -- but when it comes to being excited for it and the games it was launching with, I remember... nothing. Of course, getting a new console is always exciting -- I do remember the day my Wii U arrived in the mail, but I don't remember being super hyped for it, and it's not hard to see why when you look at its launch lineup. People like to rip the Switch a new one considering that it's only launching with 10 titles (9, if you don't count Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove and Specter of Torment as separate releases), whereas the Wii U launched with just over twice that amount. But here's the thing -- there are more titles in Switch's lineup that interest me a lot more than the Wii U's, and I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who is thinking that. Despite its superior quantity and diversity of launch titles, only five titles in the Wii U launch lineup were exclusive, none of which had major hype behind it. Its strongest first-party title was New Super Mario Bros. U, a game that was too similar to previous games in the series and launched too soon after New Super Mario Bros. 2 released on 3DS just a few months prior. Nintendo Land was a decent pack-in mini-game collection that was largely overlooked, as was Ubisoft's ZombiU. In contrast, Switch has six exclusives (Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment is a timed exclusive for one month) -- all of which I'm much more interested in than the Wii U's five, which are now looking downright ho-hum. If Switch's launch lineup doesn't interest you at all, I don't blame you. Having more titles is never a bad thing, and it's not a hugely diverse bunch of titles either. But compared to Wii U's lineup, Switch's is looking more and more like it makes the argument for "quality > quantity." The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be the driving factor for most people buying the Switch on day one, but I'm already much more excited to play some of the other games coming day one than I was for the many launch ports on Wii U. Super Bomberman R, FAST RMX, Snipperclips, and Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove are all games I'm excited to dig into alongside Zelda, leading this to be one of the better launch lineups I've experienced in some time. While the verdict is still out on how good Super Bomberman R is, more than half of the launch titles have already received critical acclaim, which says a lot about the quality of the lineup itself. Honestly, it was easy to be disappointed when Nintendo revealed that the Switch launch lineup would be a bit more meager than both the Wii's and Wii U's, but the more time we've had to adjust to it, the more I think the Switch will be just fine in the end. Nintendo has already set in motion a number of titles (both big and small) that are set to launch in the following months and throughout the year, with more indies and third party games being announced every week -- more than enough to keep momentum and interest strong throughout the year. Wii U -- on the other hand -- had the inverse situation. It launched with a respectable number of games of varying quality and then... was virtually silent for months at a time. The next big exclusive to release after launch came in March, some four months after. This was a huge blow to the Wii U's momentum, and it showed in the monthly sales after 2013 began as the platform began to sell less and less. It's often said that a game console's library is judged by the amount of exclusives it has. Wii U had five at launch. Of 23 overall. The rest were available elsewhere. The Switch has six exclusives. Of ten overall. The remaining four? Probably not slated for doing big business, with maybe the exception of Just Dance 2017. Skylanders Imaginators isn't likely to sell gangbusters on Switch, because it's a game that's already been on the market for nearly 5 months now. Most of those third party Wii U launch games didn't sell like crazy either. Because they were also available elsewhere. You know what most people thought when they saw that Assassin's Creed III available on Wii U at launch? "Huh, that's cool. I'll buy it on Xbox 360 or PS3." 60% exclusives to 21%, that's what you're looking at with Switch vs Wii U when it comes to their libraries. Even if Tomorrow Corporation's games make Switch's launch (which it isn't guaranteed as of this writing) and bumps the number from 10 to 13, 46% is still a fairly good number for launch exclusives. One other thing Switch's launch lineup has going for it is that it knows its audience. Just look at the games -- 1-2-Switch - March 3 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - March 3 Skylanders Imaginators - March 3 Just Dance 2017 - March 3 Super Bomberman R - March 3 I Am Setsuna - March 3 Snipperclips - March 3 Fast RMX - March 3 Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment - March 3 Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove - March 3 For the most part, these are very Nintendo-oriented games, with a few casual games thrown in to attract the mass market crowd. It's not attempting to go after the Call of Duty crowd or the hardcore action crowd right now because it doesn't have to (and because it would be a moot point at the moment). Rather, they're doubling down on the games they know Nintendo fans will like best (and the ones that are actually ready to release): old-school platformers, arcade games, creative puzzle games, RPGs, racing games, and adventure games. Wii U tried to be everything to everyone, but it wasn't because it didn't have enough that was unique to it at launch, whereas Switch is more focused and selling to a very specific crowd with most of its titles, while relying on 1-2 Switch and Just Dance 2017 to reel in casuals. This is why Switch's lineup beats out Wii U's. That, and Breath of the Wild pretty much beats out the entire Wii U launch lineup anyhow. Seriously, is it Friday yet? What do you think? Is Switch's launch lineup more appealing to you than the Wii U's was? Would you have actually bought most of the third-party titles on Wii U, or would you buy them on PS3/360 at the time?
  4. If you're getting a Switch at launch, the list of available games to buy will be pretty slim, but things have gotten just a bit better with four indie games being confirmed for release on eShop on day one (March 3). The newest of them is Nintendo's Snipperclips - Cut it out, together!, an indie puzzle title developed by SFB Games that they picked up for publishing. The main objective in the game is to think creatively and overlay shapes together in order to cut -- or *ahem* "snip" -- them into new shapes that can accomplish each objective. It will feature three game modes: World - which acts as a main campaign in which you can play solo or through co-op Party - which you can play with more players Blitz - which is faster-paced and can be played with 2-4 players Snipperclips - Cut it out, together! will be available for $19.99. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMoCZIN3e94 The other two games rounding out the list of launch indie titles are FAST RMX and Shovel Knight -- the latter of which will offer both the Treasure Trove Edition and the standalone version of its newest campaign, Specter of Torment. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove will debut for $24.99 and will include all DLC released (including Specter of Torment and the not-yet-released King Knight campaign) while the standalone Specter of Torment can be bought for just $9.99. FAST RMX is an enhanced Switch version of FAST Racing Neo (one of my top 10 games of 2015), a futuristic racer in the same vein as F-Zero and WipEout. This new version will include 30 tracks and 10 cups to complete (nearly double the Wii U content), features 60fps at 1080p, and will cost $19.99. Source: Press Release Which of these Switch indie launch titles interests you the most?
  5. Yacht Club Games dropped the bomb we“ve all been waiting for today. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, the free update coming to all versions of Shovel Knight, explodes across all regions for a global release next week, September 17th, 2015. Not only does this update feature a brand new campaign, but it also comes with a Challenge Mode! If my impressions from PAX Prime 2015 don“t give you enough information about Plague Knight“s new mechanics, Yacht Club Games have included a Plague of Shadows instruction manual, some design docs, some tips and tricks, and even a full-blown Press Kit.Talk about going above and beyond! Remember: you“ll need to have finished Shovel Knight“s adventure before being able to play as Plague Knight in the update. But if Shovel Knight“s campaign has proved too difficult for you, and you want to change things up, or if you“ve switched platforms or lost your save data...they“ll be releasing a special code that lets you start Plague Knight“s adventure right away. Again--Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows is absolutely free to everyone who owns Shovel Knight. For more information, check out their official announcement page, or just wait a week to experience Yacht Club Games“ latest efforts for yourself! Are you excited for Plague of Shadows? Have you been replaying Shovel Knight at all in preparation for its release? Be sure to let us know!
  6. It“s not a secret to everybody. I love Shovel Knight. I purchased new merchandise at PAX Prime just because. I wish it could have been the amiibo. Heck -- I was there at "Nindies at Night" to see the amiibo unveiled in person. I am a super-fan; make no mistake. And my love for the game is fairly balanced by my skill. I“ve completed the full game on PS4 and 3DS, and finished the harder New Game+ on the latter. While I don“t consider myself a “Master of Shovelry”... I“m certainly no slouch. ...Told you all that to tell you this: Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows is an all-new campaign featuring Plague Knight from the Order of No Quarter, in a quest to create the ultimate spell. And when I say all-new, this is what I mean: the basic settings of the game are unchanged. Levels playable in the demo at PAX Prime included the first level fans already know and love, Pridemoor Keep and The Lich Yard. But there are new paths, new music tracks, a new story, and... well... Plague Knight turns everything about Shovel Knight gameplay on its head... and blows it to smithereens. I didn“t get a chance to play Plague of Shadows at "Nindies at Night" when I was there. The story I'm about to tell of this poor girl, a seasoned Shovel Knight veteran, proves that Plague Knight“s campaign changes everything. She picked the Lich Yard as her level to try. And when she exploded the bush-thing that Shovel Knight would usually bounce from to propel himself high enough to clear the level“s first gap... the entire line of ten people couldn“t figure out how to make Plague Knight clear that jump. As it turns out...one of the key mechanics of controlling Plague Knight involves mastering his Burst Mode, which is activated by holding Y on the Gamepad & 3DS, and propels Plague Knight upward while firing a projectile. His Burst Mode is just one of many aspects of Plague Knight“s gameplay you can customize to your liking. During my time with the game, I tried both the Lich Yard and Pridemoor Keep. The two different levels treated me to two different kinds of burst techniques, so I assume they will be plentiful. The bullet burst fired a laser-like projectile in the direction Plague Knight was facing when he jumped, and the Spin Burst devastated foes around me when I initiated the jump. As Shovel Knight, mechanics to master included Relics, simple shovel slashes, and using your shovel as a sort of pogo-stick to bounce off foes and projectiles. Plague Knight has none of this -- instead of shovel-work, you“ll be mastering bomb throwing. You can control whether his bombs explode on impact or after a short while, and you can control the manner in which he tosses his bombs. All the ways you can customize this gameplay add up to experiences I couldn“t possibly describe without going into detail about how the subtle nuances of bomb-lobbing affect jumping physics. It“s definitely something seasoned Shovel Knight experts should look forward to experimenting with themselves. Plague of Shadows isn“t all new... but it“s definitely new enough to make me think I should be paying money to play it. But nope... it“s coming to all versions of Shovel Knight -- even the physical ones -- absolutely free. Yacht Club games have said development of the game is done... so expect it very, very soon. For more information on both Plague of Shadows and Shovel Knight, check out Yacht Club Games“ official website! (And don“t worry, y“all: I spoke to Nick Wozniak from YCG. He“s said the Shovel Knight amiibo will be more plentiful than Nintendo usually makes them...he hopes!)
  7. If you haven't seen it by now, the new upcoming Shovel Knight campaign, Plague of Shadows, looks like a ridiculously good time, in part because of how different it seems to play from the main campaign. Our PAX-bound Jonathan agrees with this as well after having some hands-on time with it today. But looking ahead, what do you think of the other two characters that also have specific campaigns coming for them? The remaining two are Specter Knight and King Knight. Spectre Knight might have a pretty cool campaign since he has the scythe and can maybe float in the air (?), but I'm not at all certain what King Knight's campaign would entail. Which leads to my next thought - were Specter Knight and King Knight the best choices for having their own campaign? Not that I doubt Yacht Club's ability to make compelling campaigns for them, but it seems like a real opportunity was skipped over by not giving Propeller Knight his own campaign. Using his ability to fly (probably temporarily) seems like a bigger missed opportunity than King Knight. I also think Mole Knight would have made for a unique campaign, with him having the ability to dig through parts of the level and changing things up that way. Heck, Treasure Knight might have a pretty interesting hook being a heavier character and his shtick of going after treasure. But I digress. I'm sure Yacht Club will come up with compelling campaigns for the remaining two characters; I just think there's more potential with the two I mentioned. What do you guys think? Are you still looking forward to Specter Knight's and King Knight's campaigns? Would you have liked to see one of the other knights get the campaign treatment instead?
  8. The Shovel Knight mystery deepens! As we reported earlier in the week, rumors have been circulating that Shovel Knight will appear as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, and the announcement could come as early as tonight. While that bit of news has yet to be substantiated, another huge announcement has been leaked by GAME (a retailer that is essentially the UK equivalent of GameStop) — Shovel Knight is getting his very own amiibo. The leak comes by way of a specific GAME location's Twitter account (@GAMEBrighton) which mentioned a release date of November 27. Apparently, the tweet was sent out too early and has since been deleted, but was expected to be sent out alongside the supposed announcement that may happen later today (or this weekend). Interestingly enough, the Shovel Knight amiibo's box does not have the Super Smash Bros. moniker on it, so it appears that it will be entirely standalone from that specific line. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that it won't work with Super Smash Bros. We'll have to wait and see if his appearance in the game is in fact a reality first. However, the Shovel Knight amiibo is reported to work with Nintendo games that Yacht Club Games produces in the future. And though this part is just speculation, it isn't hard to imagine that Yacht Club may have something in store for current Shovel Knight owners; we'll have to wait and see. Source: Nintendo Life What are your thoughts on the Shovel Knight amiibo? And do you think we'll still see him appear in Smash Bros.?
  9. Shovel Knight is by far one of the most popular third-party characters that have been requested by fans for inclusion in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, but could such an addition actually happen? According to mounting evidence from several sources, the answer may be 'yes.' According to Nintendo Life, multiple anonymous sources with the video game retail sector have confirmed that Shovel Knight is indeed heading to Super Smash Bros. as a playable character and will receive an accompanying amiibo as well. A second hint that gives this rumor weight is the fact that Yacht Club Games has teased a megaton reveal this week that is separate from the Plague of Shadows trailer that was revealed yesterday. PAX Prime is also happening this week, and Nintendo will be throwing a big, Nindie-focused, pre-PAX show on Aug. 27 where Yacht Club will be there to discuss both Plague of Shadows and "what's next for Shovel Knight." Might this be the big Smash Bros. announcement? We'll have to wait and see, but there's certainly a possibility. Stay tuned for more on what the big announcement is when it rolls around later this week. Source: Nintendo Life Do you think Shovel Knight will be announced as a playable character in Smash Bros.?
  10. It's been a little while since we first heard about Shovel Knight's upcoming expansion, Plague of Shadows, but today Yacht Club Games has finally revealed a bit more about the new mode. The first bit of good news is that development on Plague of Shadows has officially finished and that it is now in the submission phase. Unfortunately, this means that we don't have a release date as of yet, but Yacht Club reassures that you'll be hearing one soon. Secondly, Plague of Shadows now has a trailer! There's a surprising amount of new content revealed in the video, from new gameplay techniques and items that Plague Knight can use to entirely new bosses and what looks to be a few new areas (within the core levels, most likely). Pretty exciting stuff; I for one can't wait to hear more. Stay tune for more info on Plague of Shadows as Yacht Club releases additional announcements in the weeks to come. In the meantime, be sure to check out the trailer below. And don't forget, Shovel Knight is getting a physical release soon! Source: Yacht Club Games Are you excited for Plague of Shadows?
  11. If you thought you had seen the last of Shovel Knight, think again! Yacht Club Games had some big news to announce today regarding the fan favorite indie game; not only has the game now sold 700,000 copies of the game, but a retail release is on the way for all consoles and 3DS (no physical Vita version, however). Yacht Club announced that they'll actually be publishing the physical version of the game themselves thanks to a partnership with distributor, U&I Entertainment, who helped distribute physical versions of Telltale's The Walking Dead and Divinity: Original Sin. Also worth getting excited about — Shovel Knight's first new free DLC campaign, Plague of Shadows, will actually be launching even before the physical release of the game. As reported earlier, this DLC will have you play through the game as Plague Knight, and he'll have his own narrative and such along the way. Yacht Club is teasing more news later in the month as well, including a breakdown of the Battle Mode that is coming as well as a release date for Plague of Shadows and more. Source: Yacht Club Games Will you be picking up the physical release of Shovel Knight?
  12. As many know, Shovel Knight released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita last Tuesday, and it's coming to the Xbox One before too long. Despite now appearing on all three current generation consoles, many insist the game would feel right at home on the NES. While it would be theoretically impossible to scale down Shovel Knight perfectly to the 8-bit era, Yacht Club Games has done something kind of neat for fans who liked to pay attention to instruction manuals or the credits of games like and . Suffice to say, if you check here, you can learn the names of almost every major and minor enemy in Shovel Knight. There are spoilers toward the end though, so be careful if you haven't beaten the game at least once! ...And speaking of Shovel Knight's PlayStation release, have you found Kratos yet? There are places you can go for a detailed guide, but if I may drop just the slightest hint: talk to some of the NPCs you run into while taking shortcuts, and thoroughly investigate the Hall of Champions. Good enough? Stay tuned for more Shovel Knight news, like word on Plague of Shadows, as it comes. Does something like knowing the names of enemies make a platformer that much more special for you? Be sure to share your favorite enemy with us below!
  13. Shovel Knight was one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed games to come out in 2014 (especially in our own review)—even going so far as to win Best Indie Game at The Game Awards 2014—but Yacht Club Games isn't quite finished with the title just yet. Today, the developer announced the first of a few special modes that will be coming to the game courtesy of reaching certain Kickstarter stretch goals in 2013. The first of these is a brand new campaign called Plague of Shadows, starring a playable Plague Knight; one of the villainous knights of The Order of No Quarter. In this story, Plague Knight is looking to concoct Serum Supernus, the Ultimate Potion, but to retrieve the ingredients he must turn on his former allies (the aforementioned Order of No Quarter) in order to extract them. Yacht Club mentions that this new campaign will feature a new play style, new story, new bosses, and more. It will also, of course, be free to everyone who has bought the game. They also mentioned that the first playable demo for Plague of Shadows will make its debut at PAX East coming up, so you can expect to hear more about gameplay specifics very soon. As mentioned before, this is only the first of several downloadable extras Yacht Club is working on as part of their achieved Kickstarter stretch goals; others include a gender-swap mode, challenge mode, 4-player boss fight mode with all bosses playable, and at least two more playable bosses with their own campaigns and stories (but presumably using the same levels). Also, Shovel Knight for PS3, PS4, and PS Vita finally has a release date of April 21, which will also be a part of Sony's Spring Fever sales event on PSN. Additionally, the game will be Cross-Save and Cross-Buy and will take advantage of PS4 and Vita's different features (such as the light bar and Vita's touch pad). And, as announced previously, Kratos will make a special appearance exclusively in this version as well. Regardless of whether or not you already have the game or will be experiencing it for the first time on PlayStation platforms, one thing is for certain—it's definitely a good time to be a Shovel Knight fan. Source: Yacht Club Games Are you excited to play Plague of Shadows and/or the main game on PlayStation platforms?
  14. Jordan Haygood

    Shovel Knight

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Yacht Club Games

  15. Jason Clement

    Review: Shovel Knight

    Developer: Yacht Club Games Publisher: Yacht Club Games Platform(s): Wii U, 3DS, PC (Steam) Release Date: June 26, 2014 ESRB: E for Everyone This review is based on the Wii U version of the game Playing Shovel Knight has been like a trip through memory lane. Imagine experiencing the best parts of some of the most classic NES platformer and action adventure games but combining them all into one game. That's essentially what newcomer Yacht Club Games accomplished here, and it's pretty incredible that they did it all so seamlessly in their very first game. Shovel Knight has all the makings of an authentic 8-bit experience, from the visuals to the mechanics and right down to its chiptune music, but don't be fooled; this might just be the best new property of 2014 thus far. Shovel Knight begins with the tale of the titular character and regales how he accomplished many great feats with his partner and love interest, the female Shield Knight, until one day, the two fell to the dark power of a cursed amulet in the Tower of Fate. Upon reawakening, Shovel Knight finds the tower sealed and Shield Knight missing. Falling into despair, our hero retires and secludes himself from the world, only for an enemy known as The Enchantress to rise in his absence, unseal the Tower of Fate, and conquer the land with her 8 knights of The Order of No Quarter. Upon hearing this, Shovel Knight takes it upon himself to journey to the tower and stop The Enchantress as well as hopefully rescue Shield Knight. As mentioned at the outset, the game takes heavy inspiration from several classic NES games, and it definitely shows right off the bat. Each main level plays out similarly to the 2D side-scrolling levels from Mega Man games, sometimes with a miniboss in the middle and ending with a main boss, which is one of the eight knights of The Order of No Quarter. A bit of DuckTales is thrown into the mix with Shovel Knight's ability to pogo bounce off of most enemies he comes across with his shovel (though you won't be able to pogo jump on the ground itself). Also, Castlevania influence is shown through the use of different items, and inspiration from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link comes into play in the form of the game's combat (attacking with the shovel, especially with the downward thrust) as well as a couple of towns where you can explore and talk to people. These also serve as hubs where you can buy additional health, magic, shovel, and armor upgrades. Finally, the world map is very akin to the one in Super Mario Bros. 3, in which you traverse a set of different locations interlinked by lines. The levels tend to steer more towards traditional platforming (along with a bit of puzzle platforming) with a lesser emphasis on enemies, though you'll still come across plenty throughout (and again, the occasional miniboss). Furthermore, each level does a great job of bringing new, unique game mechanics and playing to their theme well. For example, you'll have to touch snow in the air for it to get it to drop and cover spike-filled areas in Polar Knight's level, ride on torpedoes in Treasure Knight's submarine-based level, or ride and manipulate the wind created from propeller in Propeller Man's stage. There are also a number of additional areas to explore on the world map where you can gather treasure, but you'll usually need a special item to proceed. What makes the game especially interesting are other small but memorable aspects and quirks that set it apart from other titles. Being a "Shovel" Knight, naturally you can use it to break apart blocks or even dig certain piles on the ground which will reveal treasure. Instead of losing lives, you lose a percentage of your gold, but you're given a chance to retrieve it at the exact area you lost it. Villagers all seem like they have something legitimately interesting or funny to say. There are even random, roving enemies you'll encounter on the map, some of which have their own stories that will play out in the form of a boss fight. Where Shovel Knight really shines, though, is in its boss fights (and optional ones as well). Each is similar to a Mega Man boss fight, but taken to the extreme. Most are fast-paced, over-the-top, flashy, and extremely imaginative; a few standouts include Mole Knight, Propellor Knight, Treasure Knight, and Tinker Knight (whose I won't spoil); all of which are pretty creative and have an amazing visual flair. It might seem like simply trying to hit them would make it boring, but the number of different attacks and complex patterns each has is pretty astounding and makes these fights moderately challenging. And at the end of one, Shovel Knight delivers the final blow in slow motion, adding a dramatic flair that makes you feel like a real hero. Aside from its charming 8-bit presentation, the game has a great sense of visual style. Just about all of the character design is extremely likeable, starting with Shovel Knight himself, who has a great look. All of the Order of No Quarter have quirky yet different and memorable designs themselves, recalling some of Mega Man's bosses of old and how many of them ended up really growing on the players. Even the background imagery and scenery is fantastic, with multiple layers being used and highly detailed, and dramatic effects that include areas that are partially black (to simulate darkness) that light up when lightning strikes. While not adhering strictly to the NES's technical limits, Yacht Club Games did a brilliant job of breaking the boundary when they needed to in order to really make the game sing while staying true to the vision of a new retro-style game. Adding further to the retro aesthetic is a brilliant soundtrack, and arguably one of the strongest of the year so far. Jake Kaufman lends his musical talents here as well as Mega Man composer Manami Matsumae, who contributes two of her own tracks. And much like his work on DuckTales Remastered and the Mighty Switch Force games, Kaufman manages to pull off an extremely catchy soundtrack reminiscent of the old Mega Man games along with a dash of inspiration from Castlevania. He made mention that the OST can even be played on an actual NES, giving further legitimacy to what Yacht Club Games was attempting to achieve. In the end, Shovel Knight is not a game that is necessarily innovative or industry-changing; everything that it does already exists to some degree in other games during the NES era. However, what makes it truly amazing is the fact that it combines the best aspects of those games and creates something truly special and thoroughly entertaining because of it. From its quirky character design to its Mega Man/DuckTales/Castlevania-inspired gameplay to its outstanding music, Shovel Knight hits nothing but high notes all the way to its conclusion. Pros + Great, charming plot + Good amount of content to play through + Incredible boss fights + Soundtrack is very catchy; easily one of the best of the year + 8-bit visuals and effects are a joy to behold Cons - Some levels feel a bit longer than they should be. Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic Shovel Knight is a great new property by Yacht Club Games that plays like a retro game yet feels modern and fresh at the same time, and is easily one of the best games of 2014 so far. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  16. After hitting a snag and having to delay the game from its original launch date, Yacht Club Games' retro-inspired Shovel Knight is finally back on track for a release next week. The game will release on June 26 on the North American Wii U and 3DS eShops first, with an international release on PC/Steam to follow. Yacht Club Games also mentions that it is working through localization and ratings specific to the European region and hopes to have something positive to announce soon. In the meantime, North American 3DS and Wii U owners have just a little under a week and a half left to wait before they can finally play Shovel Knight, so stay tuned! Source: Kickstarter Are you excited for Shovel Knight's release?
  17. It's an unfortunate truth but delays happen to video games all the time and Shovel Knight's situation is no different. Yacht Club Games revealed in a recent Kickstarter update that the game was delayed a little longer to ensure that it's a world-class experience and so that it can release on all platforms simultaneously. The following is a list of what they're working on in the final push Dialogue and scripted events are being finalized Finishing touches put on level design for the final levels Overall game balancing Platform specific standards so everything runs smoothly on your system of choice! Testing, testing, testing… on all platforms! Also, due to not having a date locked in with Steam and Nintendo just yet, Yacht Club Games mentioned that they will not announce another release date for Shovel Knight until they can lock it in with both publishers for sure. Source: Kickstarter Are you disappointed that Shovel Knight has been delayed?
  18. Shovel Knight is a game that was originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign last year by Yacht Club Games, a newer indie game studio created by ex-Wayforward developer Shawn Velasco in 2011. The game's visuals and mechanics are more reminiscent of 8-bit titles from the NES era like Mega Man, though the main "shovel" mechanic looks to borrow a few ideas from Ducktales, what with the pogo bouncing and all. If this all looks and sounds great to you, then you're in luck - Yacht Club Games recently announced that the game will be releasing at the end of March. It just passed the alpha phase recently and is heading into the beta phase where they'll test the game rigorously, fix any bugs, polish it up, and work on certification and whatnot. Yacht Club Games also mentions that Shovel Knight ended up being a much bigger game than they originally planned, so that will be a nice bonus for players who are anxiously waiting to play it. Shovel Knight will release on PC ( as well as Steam, Mac, Linux), Wii U eShop, and 3DS eShop on March 31. You can check out the newest trailer for the game below.