Would have posted this on the review section but unfortunately on GameSpot couldn't rate the game or review plus had it released from December 31st 2015 on their site so instead writing the review on here for now. I have wanted to talk about this game a lot after completing the game myself a few days ago and waited since June for the 3DS release of this on top of that-
First thing you will notice straight away about Shovel Knight is the 8-Bit sprite visuals and animation; everything about this game is actually in fact that this 2D side-scroller was developed and published by an independent video game developer called Yacht Games which started off as a Kickstarter campaign and a year later it has been released for PC, Wii U and 3DS from this year. What really amazes me that Shovel Knight feels more of an NES titled game if this was released in the late 80's or even early 90's this would have been on the top favourite games for the console and in most people's game collection for its clever gameplay, nostalgia moments and unique style.
Following the adventurers Shovel Knight and Shield Knight fought alongside one another, journeying across the world and seeking treasure. When the two explore the Tower of Fate, the two fall to the dark magic power of a cursed amulet. When Shovel Knight reawakens, the Tower has been sealed and Shield Knight is nowhere to be seen. Grieving for his beloved, Shovel Knight gives up adventuring and secludes himself. However, during his absence, the Enchantress rises to power, spreading evil across the land. Upon hearing that the Enchantress has unsealed the Tower of Fate, Shovel Knight takes up his shovel again and ventures towards it, hoping to find and rescue Shield Knight. In order to do so, Shovel Knight must fight the eight members of The Order of No Quarter who have been dispatched by the Enchantress to impede him. Has a short story opening yet also past games that were released on the NES or the Genesis used that same idea to have a short opening and then start the game this is yet a nice touch and a trip back down memory lane for retro gamers.
Taking heavy gameplay influences from the Mega Man series each of the stages you explore on the map will have a different theme settings from bright to dark locations think of a medvial version of Mega Man because there will be a boss at the end of each stage. But the clever thing is that each of the bosses you face will have different ways to try and defeat you from one boss that throws potions and chemistry items at you or another boss turns into a giant tank-robot. There is yet a challenge along the way through each of the stages you come across where enemies will try and stop you, tricky platforms and moving objects this makes this game more of a challenge the difficulty is just about perfect making neither easy or normal but indeed a hard game but finding this highly addictive where you could just play this game for hours or even trying to finish it in one sitting which can be done. There are achievements for this you will be coming back for more than you as spected. You can increase your health and magic as you progress including your shovel and armour but if you die through a level you'll lose some treasure but you can reclaim it where you last die but if you die again before you reach the last place you died that treasure will be gone forever it does have the same idea that was used in both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls when it comes to losing souls. When I mentioned that your only weapon is a shovel that's right your weapon is your shovel you can dig up treasure from the ground and use it attack enemies and barriers. Like DuckTales you can use the shovel as a pogo stick to bounce off obstacles or the heads of enemies plus when I mentioned about treasure you do collect which you can either save or use it on upgrades for health, magic, and armour.
StreetPass has also been added in the 3DS version where you are thrown into game of who gets the most gems in the allotted time over three rounds. For each round, you record a ghost and in five seconds you can either focus on getting all the gems or anticipate your opponent's actions and set up attacks/relic actions. When you streetpass someone, you talk to the super skeleton and see how your ghost fares against the streetpasser's ghost if you win or collect most of the red gems within 2 rounds or defeat your ghosts opponent you'll earn a reward. Another thing that Shovel Knight does so well it has a chiptune soundtrack composed by Jake Kaufman, with two contributions by Mega Man composer Manami Matsumae you could easily listen to the soundtrack all if you wanted to you can find music notes for each theme through each of the stages but are quite hidden to find be sure to keep an eye if you see any around.
Once you've beaten the game you've got a choice to go through the game again on New Game+ but overall this is worth every penny and your time as well. Everything about Shovel Knight is just almost perfect for a 2D platformer and reminding gamers how great 8-Bit games can be even through the present day we are in now this stands out as possibly one of the best games you may come across for 2014.