Since 2014, Yacht Club Games has been making banger after banger for the Shovel Knight series. Developed jointly by both Yacht Club and Nitrome, Shovel Knight Dig incorporates key ideas from Shovel Knight’s 2D platformer his gameplay. And so on – and all of them fit into the fabric of an exploration roguelite. It turned out to be very fitting, even if the adventure ended so quickly that there was little compelling reason to delve deeper.
Shovel Knight Dig is a roguelite, with all the usual hallmarks of the genre, such as Permadeath, procedurally generated levels, and small elements of persistent progression, making every successive run slightly less than the last. It could be easier. It also plays much like Shovel of Hope, the first game in the mainline Shovel Knight series. The blue-clad and armored knights operate in a similar fashion, have pretty much the same sequence of moves, and fight many of the same enemies with the same behavior. I didn’t rely on it. There are still plenty of new enemies, new relics, and new hazards, most of which are specifically designed to take full advantage of Shovel Knight Dig’s biggest differences. Right, in Shovel Knight Dig you can only move from top to bottom of each level.
This leads to tricky level design where you have to be really careful how you descend. This is because Shovel Knight can dig laterally and downwards, but not upwards. I can’t pick myself up. But you can’t go too slowly. Because there’s a constant threat of one-hit kill excavators chasing you through the levels. It all adds up to great tension and well-designed risk versus reward in each section of every level. Lots of tantalizing secret passages, treasure chests, precious gems and equipable relics, plus tough decisions that matter most to all interests. roguelite.
In more typical roguelite fashion, you can purchase new relics and accessories between each run. These add to the pool of potential treasure you can find on subsequent runs. Fortunately, relics and accessories aren’t the only things you can use your hard-earned loot for. You can purchase shortcut tickets that allow you to start running deeper stages. You can also buy different armor sets with different effects, but only after finding blueprints hidden in wells, you can carry more items when you are spelunking, and special If you can hold it long enough to reach the door with the lock, you can purchase special keys that unlock more powerful relics.
One problem with this whole system (which is very similar to the problem I had with Pocket Dungeon) is that most of these purchasable items don’t add any sort of sense of progression. The armor set is nice and feels like a worthy reward for saving money. Especially the red armor that reduces the damage you take by sacrificing the gems you get, but a lot of the unlocks are the blue guys coming from Chester. Lives in chests and sells accessories for subsequent runs. It’s either very situational or has such a small effect that it feels like a waste of money and is positively harmful to add to your potential loot pile. I’d rather use an item that is useful throughout the run than useful in and then wasted.
This detracts from the overall sense of progression, and I’m also less interested in trying to buy every item after beating the first run.
Still, Shovel Knight Dig excels in just about every other area, so this was a pretty minor issue and my first full playthrough was a joy. One of my favorite design choices is that every level has his three cogwheels that are always in sight but rarely easy to come by. If you manage to collect all three, at the end of the level you have the option to pick an item or restore all health. , it feels great knowing you have a fighting chance and can keep running. On the flip side, if you’re sailing through stages and don’t need health, it’s also a great feeling to know that you’ll be given some tangible prize at the end…to hook all those cogs.
Another very smart feature included in Nitrome and Yacht Club is one that feels very inspired by other great roguelites like Hades and Slay the Spire. There are small signs that let you know what to expect from the procedural generation of levels and the rewards within them. The most desirable paths are usually locked, requiring you to bring the key at the end of the level, while others warn you that certain enemy types are plentiful, or deadly drills left and right. It warns you of continuous movement. stage. It can also let you know the good things you have in your level, such as increased shops and health drops.
Screen – Excavator Night Dig
It’s also worth mentioning that this is the best Shovel Knight we’ve seen so far. Shovel Knight Dig has no such restrictions and looks like a generational jump from the original game, more in line with 16-bit SNES and Genesis. era. The high-quality sprites, animations, and backgrounds are all excellent, and the chiptune soundtrack (again, courtesy of his Jake Kaufman) is one of his catchiest this year.
It didn’t take long to reach the end of Shovel Knight Dig’s short four-level excavation. My play clock he arrived in just under 4 hours. There’s certainly a lot of game left in the form of feats to accomplish, hidden armor blueprints, relics to unlock, and accessories to buy from shops, but there doesn’t seem to be much reason to keep going out. Satisfies the perfectionist itch.[Edit] After publishing, I realized that there is actually a very cleverly hidden ending that adds one extra level and adds a few more hours to the total running time. It doesn’t change my overall score, but it certainly adds a reason to keep playing after the credits roll the first time.