Shovel Knight is a Castlevania / DuckTales mashup from Yacht Club Games that looks, well, rather epic. The end product of a very successful Kickstarter, you play as the eponymous Shovel Knight, a hero wielding a ShovelBlade and questing to destroy an evil sorceress and save his beloved. Also, you dig up buttloads of treasure to upgrade your weapon and armour. I love the aesthetic of this game, the worlds seem varied and interesting, with intricate backgrounds and a wide array of enemies and bosses. The ShovelBlade’s utility as a weapon, shovel, and pogo stick, marks the game as a fitting homage to DuckTales on the NES, which was also about simultaneously questing and treasure hunting and pogo sticking. You’ll clearly need to become pretty talented at the pogo stick mechanic to clear some gaps using the craniums of some of the games baddies. I love the intelligence with which the treasure hunting is incorporated into the game, as you will might miss it entirely if you’re not fast enough to keep up with a treadmill or make a quick leap across a pit from which you can not return once you’ve fallen down. Platform fans rejoice, this is one to look out for!
Treasurenauts, by Renegade Kid, is the spiritual successor to Mutant Mudds, a notoriously tricky platformer also by the same developer. As either an adventurer, ninja, or that nerdy kid from Mutant Mudds, you scour dungeons questing after treasure. You need to be careful though, like Sonic if you get hit at least some of the treasure you’ve collected will go flying off in all directions. The enemies seem pretty tricky, and you have a choice of weapons to deal with them. Overall the world and characters don’t seem as well fleshed out as in Shovel Knight; clearly this is not a narrative-driven game. However, one advantage this game has over Shovel Knight is cooperative play which you can engage in with a friend over wireless, and if we’ve learned anything from Gauntlet Legends it’s that competing with your friends for who can get the most loot never gets old. Hooray for backstabbing!
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