I usually try to have one game that I’m consistently playing at home and one game that I play on the go and Shovel Knight was the perfect game for the commute or random spurts of boredom. So when Yacht Club Games came out with free downloadable content (DLC) where you get to play as one of the bosses, I was all over that (a couple months later). I just finished it up so prepare your potions!
Shovel Knight brought back a love for a genre that a lot of people hadn’t felt in quite some time, the 2D platformer. Now there have been PLENTY of 2D platformers but how many have done it well and memorably? Maybe like 2. Shovel Knight was crowdfunded within hours because of the lovable mascot and awesome 16 bit, throwback style. Shovel Knight has memorable characters, difficult but cool bosses, an engaging story, and great level design. Go. Play. It. However, I’m not reviewing Shovel Knight. I’m reviewing Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows.
This FREE DLC lets you play as Plague Knight, one of the original bosses from the main game. Plague Knight has a variety of different abilities and mechanics that differ from the original game and make it feel almost completely new. You will travel through the same environments with small changes but how you get around and face off against enemies has changed a lot. Instead of a shovel, you throw potions. You can customize your potions to travel and explode differently (such as in an upward arc vs. straight ahead) which are pretty situational based on who you are facing. You also have a burst that can be changed as well but the float seems to be the best by far. These upgrades are locked behind coins that you collect in each level. I would recommend that you play the original Shovel Knight first because the platforming sections get much easier with Plague Knight. Some people would say this a bad thing but after you complete the main game, it honestly made me feel more powerful and a part of the natural progression of the game.
The story is just as engaging as the main game as well. (SPOILERS) Plague Knight is in love with his assistant, Mona, and thinks he must gather all of the other boss knight’s essence in order to create an all powerful potion which he can use to become… all powerful and win her over. In the end, after defeating the enchantress and gathering all the essence, Mona tells him that she already loved him and he uses the potion to destroy he tower once and for all while the two live happily ever after. The moment to moment dialogue throughout is hilarious as well. Other characters just look down on Plague Knight and it leads to funny little moments (like each time you defeat shovel knight, he just gets up and kills you anyway). The relationship between Mona and Plague Knight is realistic too and it makes it very fun to be a part of. They only speak briefly each time you defeat a boss but you can tell they awkwardly like each other from the get go. There’s even a little bonus you get from them talking where you can hold down to dance for the remainder of the game.
Overall, all of the little details and changes make this one of my favorite pieces of DLC ever made. The new mechanics and design make it feel like an entirely different game than the original and almost like a natural piece of the progression. The little one liners and the awkward crush that Plague Knight and Mona have makes the game funny and engaging. This isn’t your typical 2D platformer and I loved every minute of both games. I wish there was more! I give it 5 out of 5 Troupple kings.