Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Yacht Club Games really made a name for themselves with Shovel Knight, one of the most successful indie games ever.  It’s an 8-bit styled 2D action platformer starring a knight with an unusual weapon: a shovel!  But it proves to be an effective way to defeat enemies, dig up treasure, and pogo bounce over obstacles.  The game takes the best of the most memorable 8-bit classics, like Mega Man, Castlevania, DuckTales, and Super Mario Bros. 3.  Shovel Knight has even appeared in other games, like an assist trophy in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or even a playable fighter in Blade Strangers.  To celebrate Shovel Knight’s success, this week is going to be Shovel Knight Week here at GamerDad.com!  I’ve got three articles and reviews based on recent Shovel Knight releases!  First up is Shovel Knight Treasure Trove, which takes all the DLC and side games from the Shovel Knight franchise and puts them all into one game!  It’s available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

Over the years, Shovel Knight has amassed a bevy of side games starring other characters in the series, and we’ll go over each one of them included in this collection.  But there are some things every game has in common.  Solid and tight controls, charming 8-bit graphics, and fantastic tunes.  The 8-bit music is so good and I liked it to much that I bought the Shovel Knight soundtrack at Yacht Club Games’ booth one year at PAX (actually I bought a bunch of merchandise from them that year).  But all the games on this collection also share the same problems.  For one, I wish the games weren’t so gosh darn hard!  I’m not a super pro player, but I CAN beat MOST Mega Man games, so I’m not too shabby.  But I can’t beat Shovel Knight.  I wish it had an Easy mode or something.  The other problem I had with the games is that each one uses the same graphics, level design, and most of the music.  I just wish they’d make a new Shovel Knight game, maybe Super Shovel Knight with 16-bit graphics, and then after that they could make a 3-D Shovel Knight 64 game!  Surely I’m not the first person to think of that.  But anyway, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at each of the titles in Treasure Trove.

Shovel of Hope

This is the original game starring Shovel Knight.  You must battle the eight knights in the Order of No Quarter, defeat their leader, the Evil Enchantress, and save Shield Knight.  You’ll tromp through 2-D stages with a boss knight at the end.  Hidden in each stage are special weapons you can use if you have enough magic, and they are effective against bosses, like Mega Man.  You’ll travel around a world map and can select levels like Mario 3.  You can even use your shovel to bounce on enemies for height like DuckTales’ pogo cane!  If you die, you’ll only lose some money, but it flies out in winged money bags you can collect if you make it that far again.  There are checkpoints in each stage, but you can break them for more treasure if you are feeling brave.  Use the treasure you’ve earned to buy upgrades and health and magic extensions back in town. The Switch version even adds amiibo support for this and the other games on here.

Plague of Shadows

One of the bosses in Shovel Knight is Plague Knight.  His stage is a chemical lab and he uses explosive bombs and potions to attack you.  And now you can play as him in this reworking of the original game.  He’s out to steal the essences of the other members of the Order of No Quarter for his own nefarious deeds.  He throws bombs, so it becomes more of a long distance attacking game.  Collect special green coins and you can buy new bomb parts that effect how you throw them and how they explode, so there is a wider level of customization.  Also, while he can double jump, his jumps are so tiny that he has a special move where you press down on the jump button to build up power, then release it to explode into the air.  The only problem is he is flung so fast that it’s hard to control him in this state.  It made the game much tougher for me.  Also, aside from some slight changes, the stages are basically the same as in Shovel of Hope.

Spectre of Torment

Another boss you can play as here is Spectre Knight.  His stage has a spooky theme and he’s kind of a Grim Reaper guy with a sickle and everything.  In this prequel game, he’s out to recruit the other members of the Order of No Quarter for the Evil Enchantress.  He swings his sickle to attack, and while in the air he can do a dash move on enemies and certain targets.  Because of this, his game reminds me of Mega Man Zero.  Most of the upgrades are hidden in the stage themselves, and you don’t explore a world map.  Instead you visit the tower after each stage and can select the next one at a mirror portal.  The stages are arranged a little differently and have a darker, spookier mood to them, as does the remixed music.

King of Cards

The last of the bosses you can play as is the self-proclaimed King Knight.  This prequel game tells how he got his title.  In the game there is a popular card game called Joustus, and King Knight wants to win a tournament so he can be crowned the King of Cards.  Most of what you do is still 2-D platforming, though.  King Knight has a shoulder thrust move to defeat enemies and break blocks, and it kind of reminds me of Wario Land games.  But when he hits an enemy or certain walls, he twirls upwards, gaining height to his jumps and lets him hit enemies from below.  You’ll have to solve a lot of jumping puzzles with those moves.  Also the stages are shorter, which is fine with me because the stages in the other games could get rather long.  And because of that, there are more levels here, too.  You can play the Joustus card game, but you don’t have to in order to beat the main game.  But you may want to play it because to buy your upgrades, you must spend Merit Medals, and many of them are found by winning the card game.  The card game reminds of some of the Final Fantasy card distractions.  Only problem is the learning curve here is a bit too steep.  The rest of the game is a bit easier, though, which is a plus.

Shovel Knight Showdown

This is a four player fighting game featuring Shovel Knight characters.  But it’s also a stand alone game so because of that, I’ll be reviewing this one separately next time on this Shovel Knight Week.  So stay tuned for that one!   And that’s all there is on Treasure Trove.  If you’ve never played a Shovel Knight game before, this is definitely the way to go.

Kid Factor:

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  You can hit enemies with weapons and magic, and downed characters just fall over, disappear, or run away when defeated.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may find it too difficult.

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