Game of the Month - June 2014 - Shovel Knight

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See our Game of the Month winner for June 2014
Digging for buried treasure.

June is the one month out of the year where we expect to catch a glimpse of the future of gaming, and sure enough, this year's E3 delivered loads of exciting announcements. But even though most of those games won't be in our hands until 2015, it was still a great month thanks to all the games released over the past few weeks that kept our heads, hands, and hearts busy.

1001 Spikes was an early favorite, with its pixelated charm and enjoyable but punishing platforming, but that same day, we also got WildStar, a colorful massively multiplayer online role-playing game stuffed with character, unusual things to do, and interesting places to see. A week later, a revamped version of the sharp-looking Blood of the Werewolf landed on the Xbox 360, and we were pulled in by its monster-movie lore and lycanthrope-fueled platforming. We were also drawn into the melancholy Valiant Hearts: The Great War, which presented the human side of armed conflict and involuntary enlistment, which is so often ignored or omitted from games that use war as an excuse for "gritty" settings and unchecked brutality. As deserving of recognition as those games are, it was Yacht Club Games' Shovel Knight that ultimately won us over and secured the award for Game of the Month in June.

Shovel Knight is a smart and refined platformer that evokes the spirit of some of the best NES games of the late '80s and early '90s, including the likes of Mega Man, Castlevania, and Duck Tales. But, this heavy dose of nostalgia is just the icing on the cake. Shovel Knight stands tall on its own merits.

Like Mega Man, Shovel Knight thrives on a variety of enemies and platforming challenges, making it near impossible to plow through levels your first time through. But Shovel Knight is a less punishing game than Mega Man ever was; numerous checkpoints per level help stave off the frustration of starting from scratch when you inevitably meet your doom. Of course, if you've got bravery and greed coursing through your veins, the checkpoints strewn throughout each level can be destroyed for extra cash, paving the way for new upgrades and greater feats of shovelry. Likewise, alternate, treasure-lined paths stand out, beckoning for your trowel's sting.

Tread carefully, intrepid knight, but keep your eyes and ears open. Visually, Shovel Knight is a feast for the eyes. Yes, it's lo-fi with an 8-bit lean, and the music is suitably chippy, but you could also characterize it as a game filled with delightful art and a catchy, fast-paced soundtrack. It may be easy to point to the old-school qualities that can be found in every element of Shovel Knight and call it a nostalgia grab, but that top-level analysis ignores the fact that, even though it borrows from the past, it does many of the things it seemingly emulates better than the source material ever did, despite what our memories of the past would like us to think. Still, there's a reason we hold those classics dear in our hearts and minds, and a reason Shovel Knight deserves recognition for standing up to the caliber of its muses, and then some.

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this seems horrible. not sure. any good new game out there?


You fail at life if you havent AT LEAST tried Wildstar out. Yeah I know it's an MMO once again, but holy carumba is this the one MMO after The Big One aways back.Tinker-junkies would enjoy the oniony levels of customization from crafting all the way to client level addon mods.

Here's their channel to get ya started:


<< LINK REMOVED >> nvm. saw one of the trailers. THIS IS AWESOME!


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> play it! its... how do I put it... AWESOMER! :D


<< LINK REMOVED >> hmm I saw this on another site. Is it good?


Yet not out in europe nor are there clear signs of it coming out in europe. Yankeedoodle crap!


Simply put , this game is horrible.


Shovel Knight's great, but people need to stop it with the excuses that people only like it because its retro.

The game has great gameplay mechanics even if you take away the retro graphics.

All 3 versions that the game is on (Wii U, 3DS, PC) is awesome but if i may quickly say, i really enjoyed the 3D effect on the 3DS version, 2D Images do 3D much better.


I wonder what the lowest score a game has received and was still selected as "Game of the month."


They're just trying to be edgy. They rate it a 7 yet other games get an 8? Logic tells you that a higher score means it's a better game. Huh?


it kills me knowing that ign thinks this is GOTY worthy, which clearly its not


It's Duck Tales with coin collecting. Had this come out in the 80s, it would have been ripped to shreds for being a copy.


Well deserved. It's become rare to see a game were developers actually know what they're doing in this age of sellouts and casual pew pews.


isn't shovel knight about a guy rescuing a girl, we can't have those kind of sexist misogynistic game storylines anymore in games it's the year 2014 after all, I think you should not be promoting this game where women are helpless and need to be rescued by a man


@Deano i disagree. we do need some generic and simple story games like shovel knight. the game is about the adventure, not about the realistic story. every fantasy advanture game, book and what not is about a prince/knight/just a brave man who safes a princess/woman that somebody loves and so on.

nothing in the game is meant to be sexist and no normal player will or should see it like this.

if you cant enjoy the game for what it is, then dont play it. but saying that the whole concept should be removed is just wrong. the more variety the better.


@game_gt3 He was poking fun at how GS always brings up the sexism/race issues when ever and where ever they can be bring it up.


I dont understand why platformers are still so popular, even as a kid they got tiresome and I would have played other games if there were any. nowadays there is so much more interesting types of games out there.


Well this month was an easy one, wasnt it.


I really like these game of the month rundowns! If i could suggest something, maybe you could say which console each game is available for? I haven't heard of 90% of these games and I have to open up a new tab on each one to see if I can even play it.


Got it on the 3DS, and it's awesome. The 3D is wonderfully implemented.


cool game


A properly made Megaman/DuckTales/GhostsNGoblins game? Of course it's better than the usual AAA crap being shoveled out.


Didn't Gamespot give this game a 7?

Saying something along the lines of; "Shovel Knight is a good reminder that game design does age but can never die and that simple mechanics can still be immensely satisfying. But this is not another classic. "

And; "Shovel Knight is a memorable re-imagining of what I grew up with, but doesn't have the longevity or inventiveness to be great in its own right."



Review scores vary, everybody has their different opinions.

For example, Almost everybody thought Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was amazing, except Mark who gave it a 6 and GOTM was given to Last of Us DLC


<< LINK REMOVED >> Metacritic's an 87. Gamespot blew it again.

Oh look, Tom McShea was the reviewer again.


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Does the game being chosen for Game of The Month mean that most of the staff (the ones that get a vote) do not agree with Tom? :)



I wouldn't be surprised if Tom himself voted for this.

Besides, the lot of you need to be reminded that Tom doesn't regard game scores like you do.


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah, he regards them incorrectly.



That's just a difference of opinion over arbitrarily-given numbers.


Let's be honest. June is the month for watching E3, and catching up on a lot of games that you missed because of the Steam Summer Sale.


Just bought it on Wii U! Very happy!


@gdainezi Bought it on the what..? People still own those?

I'll wait for a steam sale, not implying the game isn't worth $15, I'm just cheap...


Cheap isn't the word I was looking for. Hmmmm...how about TR0LL. Yeah that's better.


A fine choice, but Valiant Hearts is easily my personal game of the month, and I suspect it will wind up being among the best I play this year.


Valiant Hearts: The Great War should be game of the month June 2014 imo =) Words cannot express how I feel about that game. Sniper Elite 3 review should have done in last month, btw why still no review?


Heard soo many good things about Shoval Knight I'll have to play it at one point. My Game of the Month June has to be Valiant Hearts


And EA says were in a "Golden Age" of gaming, but look at this month's line-up, ha!

I would love to see the looks on our faces if this article was shown to us gamers 20 years ago back in 1994, as an example of the best games of the month 20 years later. I think we'd weep, or just quit gaming. Sad, sad looking month.

Nothing is wrong with some indies, but we need more than just indies.


<< LINK REMOVED >> This month's line up?

You're complaining that the summer drought, the thing that happens every year, has hit again?

People don't buy games over the summer. They're too busy going outside or going on holiday. The lack of games in June shouldn't be a surprise to you.


<< LINK REMOVED >> Your 1994 example is a very good point I had never thought about, and yes I would have been disappointed. I'm not against indies and retro graphics, but I do miss those days when I would be wow'd by the graphics when a sequel came out, or the physics, things like that. However, that was on PC.

I am really looking forward to the upcoming sort of second gen of indies if you wanna call it that, the ones that have interesting ideas but also modern graphics. Some are already out of course, but there should be a lot more coming, and with the new subscription services they'll have access to top of the line engines too.


<< LINK REMOVED >> That reflink, NO U!


<< LINK REMOVED >> Beware and remember Sniper Elite 3. Never buy keys in shady sites.


I'd only buy the disc version or from Xbox Live. I would never buy games from 3rd party sites and I couldn't trust my credit card info to Sony.


<< LINK REMOVED >> the only reason you cant trust sony is because you're an xbox fanboy


Or...they compromised all their customer's credit cards during a major hack their network had a few years ago?

No, I will not give my credit card info to Sony.


<< LINK REMOVED >> Do you work for them or something? You've been posting this on every GS article all day now...


<< LINK REMOVED >> Buy it from GOG, it's DRM-free


At the year's halfway mark, looks as if Dark Souls II is the definitive Game of the Year to this point


<< LINK REMOVED >> My moneys on EVOLVE


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Nothing against Evolve, but I'm pretty sure it is one of those games that's going to get old quick...


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> That's unfortunate for you, it's a bad bet.


Titanfall > Dark Souls II.


Not according to GameSpot's March game of the month :/


I liked that something has been done with WW1 since today's youth knows very little about it. As a game though, I felt is was very formulaic and boring. I just played the demo so I couldn't get that in depth with it - but if the demo that's supposed to entice me to buy it isn't good - it doesn't say that much about the final product. Ubisoft may need to be re-educated in marketing because a training level isn't exactly 'fun'.


<< LINK REMOVED >> Well the critics seemed to mostly be into the story and emotional context. Games like that, the mechanics and gameplay often get a bit of a pass when it comes to the overall evaluation.


A videogame should be 'game' first - every time.


Divinity Original Sin hands down, GOTY so far.




<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Parah Salin


I've been enjoying Shovel Knight, but my gripe is that the official review given to us by GameSpot gave this game a 7, whereas Valiant Hearts, and others, scored 8's.

Mixed signals come from you guys saying, "Here's Tom's review, and we put him in charge of representing us to our readers as best we can...except that the rest of us don't agree with him, as we outvote him for picking a game that he liked less than us as Game of the Month." I'm not saying you guys can't disagree within the ranks, you're human too, but when it bleeds over to the content and the messages you give us, the readers, I think there are some issues that should be addressed.


<< LINK REMOVED >> Your confusion is completely understandable. However, you must keep in mind that the game reviews represent the opinion of the reviewer and not everyone that works for GameSpot. The "game of the month" is likely voted on by several people which is why the two won't necessarily correlate.


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> You make a fair point, I guess I'm just confused as to how it turned out the way that it did. Did Tom play Shovel Knight first, hence why he scored it? Or did only one person play Valiant Hearts, gave it an 8, but nobody else played it, bowing it out of the race? Did the rest of the crew not have faith in the 8 Carolyn gave VH, so they favored Tom's 7? Did they ignore their own scores completely when voting, essentially trivializing the content they provide their readers?

I'm not saying it has to, but it would be nice to see a little more consistency with scores and these representations, or, more specifically, perhaps they should include a series of Games of the Month listed from various editors and writers, so as not to give off mixed signals with the one game. If I were a more casual reader, I might easily skip Shovel Knight due to a 7, play Valiant Hearts with an 8, and feel a little miffed and confused that I apparently spent money on the wrong game. An odd case, to be sure, but the potential is there just the same, and something that could be remedied if they listed the votes, broadening our awareness to the various niches the editors and reviewers prefer, helping us out in the process..

Ha, sorry for the soapbox. That being said, Shovel Knight and Valiant Hearts, among other games, all turned out great, so the gamers still win, and it's nice seeing press, of any kind, showcasing them.


Excellent point. Why would something that scored lower get a GotM? Is Gamespot being 'edgy' again instead of making sense or using their own stats?


Take that, Tom.

Gamespot should keep some level of consistency. I know they are different editors, but how a website gives a 7 to a game, and Game of the Month? Slow month?


<< LINK REMOVED >> Why does it matter?



Indeed, why should the score matter?


They're trying to appear edgy again.


I can't even believe how stupid some of the comments people are posting here

Oh you personally didn't like this game this month so, your going to talk about how gamespot is failing as a website?

well a bunch of people did get over it everyone's entitled to their own opinion


<< LINK REMOVED >> You're sharing your opinion, and I was sharing mine.

How about making a comment on mine to discuss instead of being passive aggressive about it?


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> im being super passive aggressive and not saying anything




The thing that made retro graphics cool back then is that they were actually hand-drawn/painted like Chrono Trigger and FF and such. These new-retro graphics...no.


I have an issue in calling these titles 'games'. Those turn based 'games' seem to be more of a math calculation with a slight random curve thrown in.


My friends are pretty impressed with this game but I refuse to spend 15 dollars on it. Mostly because I already bought about 40 games since June 19.


Hated Mega Man as a kid, not surprised this isn't my fave now.

Losing faith in Gamespot. Complete lack of care towards a surprisingly good Wolfenstein in May, and now this. Blech.


They are also immensely biased and pro-Microsoft, advertising viciously for them. But that's been known since 2008 :P


Company of Heroes: The Western Front Armies.

Are you going to review it gamespot ?


<< LINK REMOVED >> Review what, how the Americans are completely underpowered and worse than the Russians?


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Well, russians killed 7 times more nazis than all other countries in the coalition combined.


I knew that they were going to pick some boring side-scrolling game instead of the shooters who are actually fun.


Damn. Xenonauts was reviewed late, Divinity Original Sin was released late thats why Shovel Knight took the honor.


I choose Forza 5.


<< LINK REMOVED >> ...




March had a lot of awesome games, but June... well not so much.


<< LINK REMOVED >> did you mean May?


This is game is so good. Playing on Wii U and it's pretty neat going back and forth from laying in bed playing it on the pad to sitting on the coach playing it on my TV. I love that feature.


<< LINK REMOVED >> Productivity be damned!


Divinity Original Sin is my winner this month..30+ hours in and I'm enjoying every second of it.


And the Game of the Month award goes to...

...a game that only scored a 7 on this site! Way to go, Mr. McShea and Gamespot!


<< LINK REMOVED >> their whole system is jacked up. Luigi's Mansion got a 6 from GS and got nominated for 3DS GOTY.


<< LINK REMOVED >> But everything scores a 7 on Gamespot.


<< LINK REMOVED >> Gamespot gives your comment a 7.


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I thought it was 8?


<< LINK REMOVED >> No it was definitely a 7. Blood of the Werewolf and Xenonauts scored 8 though.


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Eightspot is dead. That was just a phase.


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> 7spot. Hmmmm doesnt quite have the same ring to it


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The seventh letter of the alphabet is 'G'. So they can be called G-Spot.


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Usually any game that's worth more than a 7, I suppose.


Anyone else tired of seeing people fawning over 2D platformers with awful (read: "retro") graphics?



I had my share back in the days when it was the sh*t, if I want to revisit those days, I'll download a emulator or dust of my NES.


<< LINK REMOVED >> I liked retro graphics before they were cool.


<< LINK REMOVED >> Nope, just tired of people complaining about them.


Shovel Knight is a cool game and a good pick for game of the month...available on Wii U, 3DS and PC, I think that combination is pretty interesting. Just saying.


<< LINK REMOVED >> Hopefully be released on PSN. Afterall, they love indies


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> And Xbox one lol don't forget them..


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yea to hell with it, just release it on everything :)


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Would be a good PSN title, I agree.


these games need to come out on psn, so stupid.


<< LINK REMOVED >> THis just feels so much right coming out on Nintendo consoles first. The influences in this game just feel like they owe them one.

and Im sure it will come out for XBL/PSN next year.


Why no sniper elite 3 review?


The average age of video game player is 31 years old and has been playing games for 14 years. The average age of the person that buys the most video games is 35 years old. So I guess the reason for the frequent droughts in gaming in the summer have to do with people getting outside with their friends / family, BBQing, and when you couple that with work the average gamer has a lot less time to play games in the summer.

I on the other hand always have time for games and am disappoint at the lack of games this summer. After I finish Bound By Flame I might go lemming off a cliff from pure boredom.

EDIT: sorry for forgetting those in the southern hemisphere where it is the middle of winter. We all know how people in Rio or Sydney are huddling around the fireplace sipping their hot chocolates right now.


<< LINK REMOVED >> Ohh!!! Those poor people that are in the middle of winter! How sad I feel for them. Here's me wishing them they would melt in the 101 degrees I'm currently experiencing and wishing they too could also wake up in a bed soaked in sweat and having to shower 3 or 4 times a day because balls stick to their knees. Boo hoo! <joking> wish I was there freezing with all of you. :)


<< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah, it's terrible. All these "fans" at the FIFA World Cup throwing snowballs on the pitch, distracting the players...just terrible.


<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I live in brazil, and where i live is a little cold, avg 10ÂșC in winter. But not cold as in US. I've never seen snow, here at least...


@AzureBonds76 You lucky b*stard! *Freezing to death*