Video Game / Shovel Knight

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JUSTICE IN SPADES!

"Prepare to taste justice! Shovel justice!"
Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight is a 2D Platform Game by Yacht Club Games, an Indie developer consisting of former employees of WayForward Technologies, released for the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and all PC OSes on Steam (Windows, Mac, and Linux). Featuring a Retraux 8-bit graphical style and inspired by the likes of Mega Man, Castlevania, and Dark Souls, Shovel Knight is a game that seeks to pay homage to the 8-bit era, while also...ahem, digging out its own place in the Video Game landscape.

The story goes that our eponymous hero was once part of a legendary adventuring duo with his partner, Shield Knight. During their travels, Shovel Knight and Shield Knight visit the mysterious Tower of Fate. After they encounter a cursed amulet within the tower, Shovel Knight loses consciousness, eventually waking up outside the (now sealed) tower - alone. His spirit broken after losing his best friend and ally, Shovel Knight retires from adventuring and resigns himself to a life of solitude. Unbeknownst to Shovel Knight, however, his self-imposed exile has left the land without champions, making it ripe for conquering by the evil Enchantress and the eight dastardly knights of her Order of No Quarter. Discovering one day that the Tower of Fate has been unsealed, Shovel Knight realizes that only he can defeat the villains wreaking havoc on the land. Setting off with his trusty Shovel Blade, Shovel Knight must fight his way through The Order of No Quarter and their minions, reach the lair of the Enchantress, and dispense justice in spades once and for all!

The game was released on June 26, 2014. However, there are several features still to be implanted in the game, which will be free thanks to the (very) successful kickstarter:
  • Gender Swap Mode.
  • Playable Boss Knights:
    • King Knight
    • Specter Knight
    • Plague Knight (Plague of Shadows)
  • 4-Player Battle Mode.

During the PlayStation Experience event, it was announced that Shovel Knight will be ported over to the PlayStation 3, 4, and Vita, with the addition of a new Bonus Boss for Shovel Knight only: Kratos from the God of War Series. During GDC 2015, it was announced that Shovel Knight will also be ported to the Xbox One, and Zitz, Pimple, and Rash from Battletoads will be featured as bonus bosses for Shovel Knight's story only.

The first free expansion, Plague of Shadows, was released on September 17th, 2015, starring Plague Knight in a story parallel to Shovel Knight's as he turns traitor on the Order in order to harness their essence in pursuit of an ultimate potion.

It's been announced that Shovel Knight will be receiving his own amiibo figure, unlocking Co-Op on Wii U, Challenge stages on 3DS, and customizeable knights on both. This marks the first instance of an indie character receiving an amiibo. Thanks to Yacht Club Games publishing partnership with Inti Creates for the Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack compilation re-release, using said amiibo will unlock an optional boss battle featuring Shovel Knight for Azure Striker Gunvolt 2.

Shovel Knight contains examples of:

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    General Examples 

  • Ability Required to Proceed: The three treasure stages each require a relic from one of the nearby stages.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
    • The villagers may cheer you on to defeat the Enchantress, but they'll still charge you a few thousand extra gold for each additional health and magic upgrade.
    • Chester not only charges you for the relics when you find them, he'll charge you extra if you buy them from him in the village instead.
    • The Troupple King still grants you ichors as Plague Knight, but he still requires a greater sanctification fee.
    • Justified and zig-zagged in Plague of Shadows. While Chester charges out the nose for arcanas because he is wary of taking possibly fake gold from an alchemist like Plague Knight, he won't charge a dime if they're exchanged for relics since he knows for sure they're legitimate.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The angler fish in the Iron Whale stage chases the player at first.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Near the end a Type 2 happens. King Knight of all people does this to Shovel Knight after he defeats the entire Order of No Quarter in a Battle Royale and leaves them literally hanging from the stage.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The Tower of Fate incorporates elements of all previous levels in it for a Final Exam Stage.
  • Annoying Laugh: Apparently Polar Knight has one. (It's like water torture.)
  • Another Side, Another Story: Specter Knight, Plague Knight, and King Knight were selected by fan vote and are made playable outside of the game's multiplayer within DLC content, complete with their own altered versions of the normal story and their own mechanics. So far, Plague Knight's is available.
  • Antagonist Title: The Plague of Shadows campaign is named after the first form of the mode's final boss.
  • Antepiece: The game is not shy about these. For almost every special gimmick in a level, you will have a chance to test and learn it before facing it again with hazards. Taken Up to Eleven in the Hall of Champions; the entire level is an enormous Antepiece which teaches you how to deal properly with ghosts before fighting a boss version of them.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you defeat Propeller Knight and fall into a Bottomless Pit, the game will still yield victory to you so you won't have to restart the battle again. The same applies to Polar Knight if you defeat him and end up stepping on the One-Hit Kill spikes.
    • If you die in a duel against the Wandering Travelers, the gold will still be there if you challenge the same opponent again (as long as you don't die again elsewhere).
    • Chester will sell the relics in the first village if you happen to skip or not find them in its stage.
    • The final boss has two: If you die in the second phase, you'll restart right there instead of the first phase, and if Shield Knight falls in one of the pits created by the boss, she'll hop back in a moment.
    • Part of the Battletoads boss fight involves a section based upon the infamously difficult "Turbo Tunnel" segments from the Battletoads games. Unlike said game, however, there's no consequences for dying — Shovel Knight doesn't get robbed of some of his Gold when he dies during that level. (Crashing is still a One-Hit KO, however).
    • During the Boss Rush, Polar Knight is always one of the first three rematches, to avoid frustration of dying late into the fights on his instant-death spikes. Propeller Knight's summoned airship also won't blast holes in the floor of the arena.
    • A patch was released for (only) the PC version that made the game speedrunner friendly by removing certain elements of RNG like where Specter Knight spawns and when bullets that split will do so.
    • Plague Knight's campaign allows you to check your level completion before beating the game, which helps with the 420 Cipher Coins you can collect.
  • Anti-Villain: The Black Knight only attacked Shovel Knight and Plague Knight to protect Shield Knight.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Plague Knight and Specter Knight both have promo art that looks much more consistent with their playable appearances (Plague Knight looks shorter and his "beak" is smaller, whilst Specter Knight's armor now has gauntlets).
    • Percy and Mona, NPCs without plot importance in the main campaign, get a number of new sprites and animations in Plague of Shadows, with Percy even getting a complete aesthetic overhaul to make him look much more detailed.
  • Autosave: The game auto saves after each level completed.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: A few of the stages have a section consisting of this. The Flying Machine section adds a wind that steadily pushes Shovel Knight back.
  • Bamboo Technology: Certain parts of Tinker Knight's Humongous Mecha are noticeably made of wood.
  • Battle in the Rain: The final battle against Black Knight is one of these.
  • Beneath the Earth: Lies the Lost City. Claimed by Mole Knight.
  • Black Knight: Doing his best Monty Python impression as well.
  • Blackout Basement: A few areas are shrouded in darkness, with periodic lightning strikes to provide illumination.
  • Blob Monster: Several minor enemies are like this.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • The Flare Wand found in Pridemoor Keep, which is likely to be the first relic that a player will get. It simply launches a rather slow-moving fireball which will travel straight until it hits an enemy or obstacle... which is one of the most useful tools to kill enemies positioned on ledges just ready to knock you into a pit. It is also highly useful to damage bosses from a safe distance in most cases.
    • The Float Burst for Plague Knight makes him descend slower after doing a burst jump. While it doesn't provide much combat benefit, it makes bomb jumping considerably safer, easier to control, and helps a lot whenever you have to traverse long segments full of ground hazards.
    • The Vat Arcana's only use is to summon a vat directly under Plague Knight to use as a platform, which then slowly starts sinking and falls off the screen. However, since using it instantly resets your jumps and gives you chance to charge up another bomb burst, this can save your skin if you mess up a jump or get knocked back by an enemy into a pit.
  • Boss Arena Urgency: Downplayed, as both bosses will "fix" it given time, but it will kill an uncautious player.
    • Polar Knight, who digs up one hit kill spikes, but he will make snow fall from the top of the arena to cover them.
    • The Enchantress, who will destroy parts of the arena with her magic, but will also fix it occasionally. Longer fights increase the urgency, as the amount of blocks she destroys before repairing the arena will increase.
  • Bonus Boss: The director for a day bosses, Reize Seatlan, Phantom Striker, Mr. Hat, and The Baz, are this. So is the boss of the Hall of Champions.
    • Kratos and the Battletoads are this as well. That said, beating them does net you some pretty good sets of armor.
  • Boss Corridor: Each of the main stages has a breather room containing a checkpoint and sometimes hidden food before the boss.
  • Boss Remix:
    • The boss themes for the Order of No Quarter and the Black Knight incorporate the bosses' respective level themes.
    • Black Knight's second theme takes this further, as a remix of both the first level theme and the game's main theme.
    • Both of the Enchantress's themes are remixes of the game's main theme and Shield Knight's theme.
    • In Plague Knight's story, Shovel Knight, taking Plague Knight's place as boss of the Explodatorium, has a remix of that character's theme with the tempo and instrumentation of Plague Knight's boss theme. Also, the final boss of Plague Knight's story has a remix of his normal boss theme.
  • Boss Rush: In the second part of the Tower of Fate, Shovel Knight crashes the Order's dinner, forcing him to fight all of them one by one. Luckily, every time you beat one of them, you get a full-health chicken. Except on Hard Mode, of course...
  • Bottomless Pits: A platforming staple. Watch your step! Made all the more perilous because some of the platforms that would protect you from the bottomless pits are destructible, either by your pogo strikes or by certain enemy attacks. It is entirely possible to chip away the last bit of a platform you were standing on and fall to your own self-inflicted death.
  • Chandelier Swing: In King Knight's level, although they will fall.
  • Cheat Code: Done by way of putting in a specific code when naming a profile. The most famous is "Butt Mode", which replaces key words in the script with the word "butt." Players have since discovered literally hundreds of codes.
    • The Japanese version is no slouch in the cheater department, as their equivalent to Butt Mode replaces Shovel Knight's name to either Shovel Samurai or Squid Knight depending on the code, carrots with radishes, and gold pieces with koban-style coins - on top of the latter two changes being kept along with the rest of the Japanese regional changes if you play in other languages.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Can be done by the player at their own risk, in a Self-Imposed Challenge, by literally destroying the checkpoints. It also gives extra gold. Naturally harder stages, especially the last ones, will net more gold, as do checkpoints placed before lengthy or particulary difficult segments.
    • Enforced in New Game+, which removes most waypoints, leaving one at the level's midway point and one prior to the boss.
  • Chest Monster: An angler fish miniboss using Chester's chest as bait appears within Treasure Knight's stage. Played with in that the chest is indeed real. You just have to defeat the miniboss first in order to free Chester so that you can buy the Throwing Anchor from him.
  • Clock Tower: Tinker Knight's stage.
  • Collapsing Lair: The Tower of Fate starts collapsing once the Enchantress' true form has been defeated. Though Plague Knight's story shows that this was his doing, and not because the Tower suffered from No Ontological Inertia.
  • Collision Damage: One of the many woes to Shovel Knight.
    • Plague Knight can inflict this on enemies using the Berserker's Brew. He still takes damage, though.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Dying while carrying a lot of gold can result in this — especially if you chose to break all the checkpoints and the gold went at an unfortunate spot. Might as well pause, pick "Return to the map" ,and retry the entire stage without getting a point in the death score.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Lava won't do anything to Shovel Knight as long as he doesn't get unnecessarily close to it; you can even turn it into a bouncing jelly!
  • Cool Airship: Propeller Knight's level. There is also one located above the Armor Outpost.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The Ornate Armor. It's made of gold! Wearing it throws sparkles with every move, turns your jumps into flips, and even allows you to nail the landing when using transportation catapults. But as far as actual gameplay effects go, it's identical to the starting armor.
    • Same thing goes for the Dandy Duds in Plague Knights campaign. When wearing them, he strikes poses when jumping, his burst jump explodes in a mess of sparkles and gold, he gets a different walk, and his victory celebration is different. But, just like the Ornate Armor, they're identical to the starting robes.
  • Cool Helmet: Nearly everyone: Shovel Knight himself, the knights of the Order of No Quarter (bar Plague Knight, who wears more of a mask than a helmet), the Black Knight, the Bard, Mr. Hat (who wears hats on top of his helmet), and Phantom Striker.
    • The game's single most amazing headgear may be Shield Knight's. She leaves it behind with Shovel Knight, only for it to instantly find its way back to her. Her equipment delivers serious protection.
  • Cool Mask: Sported by Plague Knight. Tinker Knight also dons a nice-looking welding mask.
  • Creator Cameo: The Bard is quite obviously the game's composer, Jake Kaufman, in a suit of armor.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: In the 3DS and Wii U versions, B confirms and A cancels, which goes against the Nintendo tradition of confirming with A and canceling with B. It does, however, conform to the NES tradition of confirming with the "jump" button and cancelling with the "attack" button.
  • Dark Reprise: The map theme changes to a lower octave near the end of the game.
  • Death Throws: A very rare example where this is exploited: during the boss rush, every time Shovel Knight downs a memeber of the Order of No Quarter, they are simply flung out of the stage, but once all of them are defeated, they are left holding each other from a Bottomless Pit in a Chain of People.
  • Death from Above:
    • Shovel Knight can jump and plant his shovel on enemies' heads. Additionally, he can hit enemies below him by using a fishing rod or a Throwing Anchor.
    • The Black Knight can also jump and shovel plant. And in his final battle, he can rain down meteors on the arena.
    • Plague Knight will occasionally jump very high and frenetically throw down bombs.
    • Propeller Knight will call for a backup airship that will keep firing cannonballs to destroy parts of his boss arena while limiting Shovel Knight's movement.
    • Polar Knight will jump and then shovel plant as well. It will reveal one hit kill spikes.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If a bit pricey; every time you die, you get about 25% of your current gold scattered around the place you last died. But if you broke all the checkpoints, then you'll get thrown back to the beginning of the stage.
  • Dem Bones: Boneclangs.
  • Depth Perplexion: Used intentionally with Blackout Basement during the first level of Tower Of Fate: the blocks that you can't jump on initially look identical to the ones you can jump on due to the darkness, but you can still tell them apart due to the rain that only hits solid blocks.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • If you die by falling into the lake of the Troupple King, you won't lose any gold, but you will get chastised by the King for polluting his nice, clean water with your corpse, especially if it's Plague Knight's.
    • Talking to King Knight after the Boss Rush while wearing the Ornate Armor will result in an amusing reaction from him.
    • If you manage to slip by the overworld battle against the Black Knight and then defeat him in the first Tower of Fate stage, his icon will disappear from the map.
    • In Plague of Shadows after the Troupple King teaches Plague Knight how to dance he can dance anywhere... Except close to Mona. If you attempt to do so Plague Knight will just stand there too embarrassed to do it, complete with Shy Finger-Twiddling. He will also do this during the final boss fight if you were to try and get him to dance while at least one Mona clone is visible.
    • If you fight Shovel Knight last on the second part of the map in Plague of Shadows, the campfire cutscene plays as normal, except a chest containing a Meal Ticket will be there, and Requiem of Shield Knight will be playing. The currently equipped Bomb Jump also carries over into cutscenes.
  • Difficult but Awesome:
    • Chaos Orb can cause a lot of damage against bosses as long it's properly used. Given most bosses move a lot, this isn't always easy.
    • The Charge Handle deals two points of damage, but when charging, movement speed is reduced to a crawl. Using it requires more planning and precision than the Dynamo Mail's charge attack.
    • The Conjurer's Coat gives 50% more magic capacity and makes enemies drop magic jars more often, but Shovel Knight will take extra damage while wearing it.
    • During the Boss Rush in New Game+, one of the plates before the energy refill will be a bomb. Make it explode against a boss, and it will eat four life points from them.
    • The Armor of Chaos, which can be forged after defeating Kratos in the Playstation versions, increases the power and reach of the shovel and lets you charge up a ranged fireball attack by defeating enemies. It also removes the ability to change directions mid-air when using the pogo attack until you've hit something, and causes you to hang in mid-air while attacking (just as Kratos does in his own series). The end result is that you have to learn a completely different set of mid-air controls when using it.
    • Plague Knight's bomb jump can be incredibly difficult to handle (unless you use Float burst), but mastering it allows the player to almost literally fly through the map at incredible speeds and even skip some segments which would be impossible to do as Shovel Knight.
    • The Goo Garment, one of the cloaks you can grab in Plague of Shadows, allows you to bounce off walls and do a rolling attack in the air that's otherwise only usable when using the Spin burst. The issue is, as the description explains, that it's fairly hard to control, and using it incorrectly can land you in a variety of death traps. Knowing when to use it and cancel out of it not only gives you great aggressive power and mobility, but can also allow you to escape the same variety of death traps as a makeshift Wall Jump.
  • Difficulty Spike: The game tells you the gloves are off on the second tier of bosses by ramping up the Bottomless Pits and instant death opportunities. The first stage of the Tower of Fate kicks the difficulty up even more by mixing all elements from previous stages in very cruel ways.
  • Epic Fail:
    • It's not uncommon for players to doom themselves because they got a little distracted and dug right into a Bottomless Pit, lava or spikes.
    • In Plague of Shadows, Percy attempts to send Plague Knight via catapult into an unguarded trove full of treasures and armaments. Upon fixing the contraption Plague Knight is launched right into Armor Outpost which is full of guards eager to arrest him. Keep in mind that said catapult was right outside said outpost.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Polar Knight. He's the only one of the Order who uses a (snow) shovel, and is one of the few bosses that Shovel Knight knew personally. For all we know, he may have picked up his shovel because of Polar Knight.
    • The Black Knight is a more direct example, having a similar appearance to our protagonist, same weapon, and identical attacks. Subverted when his true motivations for opposing Shovel Knight come to pass - to protect Shield Knight.
  • Evil Former Friend:
    • Polar Knight seems to have been on good footing with Shovel Knight before the Enchantress created the Order.
    • The Enchantress is actually Shield Knight being possessed.
  • Evil Laugh: The Black Knight and Propeller Knight give one before they battle.
  • Evil Genius: Tinker Knight, Plague Knight, and The Enchantress. They are an engineer, alchemist and sorcerer, respectively. Subverted in the case of Plague Knight who only joined the Order of No Quarter as part of his gambit to woo Mona to his side.
  • Evil Knockoff: The Slime Shovel Knights (officially known as Slimulacra) found in the Explodatorium.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Tower of Fate. It has greenish clouds within the background and greenish rain during some of the segments. To add to the vibes, the map music gets replaced with a Dark Reprise once you've reached the stages that take place within the tower.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The main character is a knight. Instead of a sword, his weapon of choice is a shovel.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Every major character is known as "(Something) Knight".
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Subverted with the Ornate Armor. The constant sparkles don't make it any less useless, although they make it easier to keep track of Shovel Knight's position in dark areas.
  • Expy:
    • The Order of No Quarter share quite a lot in common with the Robot Masters. Not any one set, mind, but the concept. They're a group of highly memorable bosses who wait at the end of specifically themed levels, have great visual designs and a lot of personality for one-off bosses, fight with very specific gimmicks, and are fought a second time in a Boss Rush toward the end of the game. They even have a very similar naming scheme. The one thing they don't do is give a weapon or a skill upon defeat. That's what finding Chester is all about.
    • Shovel Knight and Shield Knight are expies of Mega Man and Proto Man (although the latter only in terms of appearance).
    • Black Knight is also an expy of Proto Man in that he's not only fiercely independent, he also serves as a somewhat similar foil to Shovel Knight. He's also an expy to Bass in that he's a black-armored rival to Shovel Knight, using the same form of attack as him and not being aligned to the main antagonist.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • Polar Knight can dig up spikes in his arena. It's almost impossible to avoid them and his attacks without abusing of the Phase Locket or using an Ichor of Boldness.
    • The Enchantress' first phase. You fight her on an arena consisting entirely of breakable blocks, which she will start to destroy eventually and can even be broken accidentally by the player. You can be doing a perfect job of avoiding her attacks, but get hit a little too close to a gap and you'll have to restart the entire thing.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: In King Knight's level and the Tower of Fate.
  • Fireballs:
    • The domain of the wizard enemies and the fire wand sub-weapon.
    • Reize will also summon a bunch of them to shield him when he Turns Red.
    • In the Playstation versions, the Armor of Chaos (your reward for defeating Kratos) lets you fire them every few enemies you defeat.
  • Flip-Screen Scrolling: Though usually done out of necessity, it is included for the retro aesthetic.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Black Knight is never depicted alongside the members of the Order of No Quarter. This is a quick hint about his alignment. A more meta instance for this foreshadowing is that the achievement for defeating a member of the Order without taking damage cannot be gained when fighting Black Knight.
    • A subtle one is given from the opening sequence and onwards: Shield Knight and the Enchantress have the same beauty mark.
    • Similar to the above example, the cover art for the game depicts the Enchantress at the top-middle of the piece, just under the logo. The version that appears on the Official Soundtrack is identical, except the Enchantress is replaced by Shield Knight.
    • In Plague Knight's story, if the music sheet Plague Knight gives to Percy doesn't unlock a new piece of music to listen to, he may give Plague Knight some "Romantic advice". In addition, Reize fights Plague Knight as a dare because he wants him to brew a love potion to win a girl. Lastly, the dance the Troupple King does for Plague Knight is different and involves some of his Troupple Fish forming into heart-shaped formations at certain points within the song or kissing. All these foreshadow Plague Knight's true motivations for brewing the ultimate potion.
      • Before the final Black Knight encounter as Plague Knight, he questions why Plague Knight defeated the Order and stole their essences.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The characters all have these as part of their design.
  • Funny Background Event: In the final Boss Rush against the Order of No Quarter, each one will come to fight Shovel Knight individually while the others merely watch and wait... while eating or drinking. Special mention goes to Treasure Knight, who will raise his diving helmet to eat something, although it still won't show his face. Plague Knight will pull out a straw dramatically to drink while he waits for his turn. In Plague of Shadows Shovel Knight himself will barge in and after a clunky landing he'll pass out for a moment, but will regain consciousness and look around... Before taking another nap.
    • In Plague of Shadows if you wait long enough in Village and Armor Outpost before conquering it, you'll be able to see Shovel Knight walking around.
  • Gender Flip: A planned mode for the game will switch the genders of every major character. The Enchantress becomes the Enchanter, the Order of No Quarter becomes all female, and so on. The game's dialogue will even be changed slightly to reflect it.
  • Grim Reaper: Specter Knight is a version of it.
  • Glass Cannon: Mentioned by name, this is what Propeller Knight would have been if he was playable.
  • Guest Fighter: Kratos is a boss in the PlayStation ports of the game while the Battletoads will be in the Xbox One version.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Fell into a Bottomless Pit and your money is in an impossible-to-reach place? You can try to fish it back. An NPC tells you this, but you might miss him.
    • There are few music sheets that are almost impossible to find unless you think of exploring every corner of every stage. Even those that are likely to kill you in the process.
    • You can ease the difficulty of New Game+ by a whole lot. The New Game+ turns almost every piece of food in silver plates, and even from mini-bosses, into bombs. If you want recovery items (aside from Ichor of Renewal and the random apple or carrot in a pile), you'll have to fish, and since you had plenty of food during normal gameplay, chances are you'll have totally forget about the Fishing Rod other than to catch gold fish which don't heal you.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: There are people with goat and horse heads in the towns.
  • Harder Than Hard: Though accessible only through cheats, one can start a game where enemies do four times their normal damage.
  • Hat of Flight: Propeller Knight's method of travel. Can also be re-purposed as a fan to blow Shovel Knight off the stage.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, some of the Order of No Quarter go on to use their abilities for good. Special mention goes to Tinker Knight, who turned his stage into a workshop and now spends his days making toys for children.
  • Hero Antagonist:
    • The city guards are this within Plague Knight's story. The only reason why they still attack him (or prevent him from entering the village) is because they still believe he's still part of the Order of No Quarter.
    • Shovel Knight himself is also this, attacking Plague Knight for the same reason he's attacking the other Order of No Quarter members. In fact, Plague Knight only got Shovel Knight's essence because Shovel Knight happened to be raiding his Explodatorium to defeat him.
  • Hero of Another Story: Several of the Bonus Bosses either state they've defeated many foes before they battled Shovel Knight (i.e., the Phantom Striker and Mr. Hat) or that they, themselves, are currently on a quest (i.e., Reize Seatlan and Kratos). In addition, Shovel Knight himself becomes this within Plague Knight's story due to him still going on his quest.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords:
    • Averted. The game's called Shovel Knight for a reason.
    • Played straight with two of the Bonus Bosses. The travelers Mr. Hat and Phantom Striker utilize swords, with the latter also using a rapier.
  • Humongous Mecha: Used by Tinker Knight in his second phase.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: The player recovers his health via carrots, apples, chicken, and fish. He also extends his health via carefully prepared dishes.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: The Ornate Armor and Dandy Duds costs more than any other armor in the game, yet all it does is make Shovel Knight and Plague Knight look cool.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Plenty of them in Tinker Knight's stage.
  • Interface Screw: Specter Knight's stage can flash on and off at some points, and Joke Bombs will cause the background to explode in rainbows.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The final set of levels take place in the "Tower of Fate." It's quite similar to the fortresses in Mega Man games, even including a Boss Rush right before the end.
  • Kung-Fu Proof Mook: The knight type of enemy. They will block a frontal assault or even a jumping one. The only ways to hurt them are charged attacks, the Throwing Anchor, the Dust Knuckles, and carefully timing and positioning your attacks to hit them where their shield currently isn't.
  • Ledge Bats: Not exactly bats, but any enemy close to an edge will be eager to catch a reckless player and push him into an early demise. Played to a highly evil degree in the Clockwork Tower, where enemies with the exact same movement pattern of Medusa Heads will more often than not make Shovel Knight plummet to his doom in a Bottomless Pit.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The world seems to be populated by both regular humans and funny animals.
  • Lost Forever:
    • If you move away from the last camp without picking up the Meal Ticket, you won't be able to get it until New Game+.
    • If you don't talk to The Baz after defeating him in Plague of Shadows, you can't recruit him to be one of Plague Knight's minions.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The order of the Knights fought at the Boss Rush is random. You can face the bosses you have the most trouble in succession or Polar Knight (who has an instant kill maneuver) last. This is especially aggravating in New Game+, where you only get a refill after every other encounter.
    • Speedrunning the game while there are many opponents wandering around the map, especially when the Tower of Fate is unlocked; you may end up having either the Phantom Striker or Black Knight in the only path to the stage, and even entering and quitting a stage may not help, as they can walk even further. A later patch fixed this by making it so that if you've spent less than an hour playing the game in total, no map encounters beyond the first one will spawn until you beat it.
  • Mad Scientist: Plague Knight.
  • Made of Explodium: A good amount of things explode in the Explodatorium, including rats, bombs, and certain platforms. But given the name of the stage, you should have expected that coming in.
  • Mini-Boss: One or two in each of the main levels. Straight up done when Shovel Knight defeats Kratos; the Ghost of Sparta gives Shovel Knight a suit of armor that replicates several of the God of War's moves.
  • Mini-Dungeon: Several on the World Map.
  • Mirror Boss:
    • Black Knight, who you fight a number of times, fights a lot like Shovel Knight himself.
    • In Plague Of Shadows, Shovel Knight fights even more like the player would for obvious reasons, even using the relics he'd normally acquire within his journey. The penultimate boss against the Plague of Shadows also counts, being identical to the boss fight against Plague Knight if you were playing as Shovel Knight.
  • Mook Chivalry: Actually Boss Chivalry. It's in full effect during the Boss Rush when the members of the Order of No Quarter politely attack Shovel Knight one at a time.
  • Musical Nod: Lost City's theme contains a brief snippet of "Dance Through The Danger" from Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. Both games' soundtracks are composed by Jake Kaufman.
  • New Game+: Allows upgrades to be carried over, but also increases overall difficulty of the game: most things do double damage, almost every health pickup is now a bomb instead and there's only two checkpoints in each level, one usually somewhere near the middle and one before the boss.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The game isn't insanely difficult, but certain stages require a lot of precision with jumps.
    • New Game+ turns every piece of food but those randomly found in piles of stuff into bombs and makes enemies and bosses do double damage. It also gives only two checkpoints throughout most stages: one in the middle and another right before the boss. Additionally, you will only get energy refills once per two battles in the Boss Rush. Also, during the battle against The Enchantress, the spell she uses to "fix" the arena is much less effective.
    • Plague of Shadows also takes the difficulty a notch upwards, as Plague Knight's jumping controls are quite a bit harder to master than Shovel Knight's.
  • No Fair Cheating:
    • The Phantom Striker can tell if you've healed yourself during battle and will point it out if you do so. He'll then give the lesser reward even if you're still at full health.
    • If you start a new file with any of the cheats active or use Custom Knight, you cannot earn Feats/Achievements on that file.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • The Bonus Boss Reize Seatlan looks a lot more Animesque than any other character in the entire game. Justified in that this is actually a cameo appearance of a pre-existing character made by a DeviantArt user back in 2001.
    • The Battletoads uses their standard cartoony design in the crossover in the X-Box version of the game, in contrast to the standard anthro frog NPCs in-game whose heads look like those of a realistic frog's. This is Justified by them being aliens from another world.
    • The Hall of Champions is filled with pixelated portraits based off of the Real Life people who backed the game's Kickstarter. One of the portraits is of Egoraptor, who is depicted with his chibi head from Game Grumps instead of the somewhat realistic portraits all of the other backers got.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Tinker Knight is a funny little guy who can't fight to save his own life, right? Not so much when he gets into his MASSIVE mecha, though.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The final segment of the game has no enemies, just blocks rising when you draw close enough, but there are several Bottomless Pits scattered throughout it. All while an eerie music plays, raising the tension.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: There's a somewhat difficult feat called "Untouched" that requires you to beat a member of the Order of No Quarter without taking any damage from them. Since the bosses tend to be pretty difficult and hard to read at times, many players would just fight the predictable and slow King Knight to get it. Plague Knight's version of the feat in the Plague of Shadows DLC specifically states fighting King Knight doesn't count for it.
  • One-Hit Kill: As per tradition, spikes, holes, lava, and crushing walls/ceiling will instantly down Shovel Knight. Period.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • After being released from Shield Knight, The Enchantress turns into the Remnant of Fate, a ginormous sorceress capable of great power.
    • After the final boss of Plague Knight's campaign, the Plague of Shadows, gets defeated, it transforms into the Corrupted Essence, a ginormous Eldritch Abomination that resembles a twisted version of Plague Knight in terms of appearance.
  • Path of Most Resistance: Though often hidden or obscured, paths with traps and enemies will almost always have something worth your trouble.
  • Pet Monstrosity: The two griffin minibosses fought in Pridemoor Keep are revealed by the Deposed King to be "Plume" and "Beaky", his pets.
  • Platform Game
  • Power Copying: A downplayed example, but most of the relics you can find and buy within a given stage emulate part of the stage boss's attack pattern or an attack from of one of the distinct enemies introduced in that stage. Even the Bonus Boss fights against the Battletoads and Kratosnote  would result in Shovel Knight gaining relics that allows Shovel Knight to mimic their attacks using his shovel.
  • Power Up Let Down: The Ornate Armor. The game puts it best:
    Tagline: Flashy! Acrobatic! Useless!
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • Plague Knight got his own campaign, and, Specter Knight, and King Knight are going to as well due to the Kickstarter meeting its stretch goals.
    • Battle Mode is said to feature all of the Order of No Quarter proper, including the Enchantress. Yacht Club games has also hinted that they're adding Shield Knight to Battle Mode.
  • Quirky Boss Squad: The Order of No Quarter.
  • Rainbow Speak: The names of each of the major characters are displayed in colored text.
  • Recurring Boss: The Black Knight is an (admittedly more humorous) example.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Black Knight, with notable red accents to his black armor.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: In full effect with the rivalry between Shovel Knight and the Black Knight. Their final duel is essentially an 8-bit version of Dante vs. Vergil from Devil May Cry.
  • Retraux: An 8-bit style done out of love, not convenience. The tribute to 8-bit games is deliberately idealized, though, so the occasional cheat is done to improve the presentation.
  • Riding the Bomb: Must be done in Treasure Knight's stage. Also used to get on top of Tinker Knight's mecha.
  • Rise to the Challenge: In the final part of Clockwork Tower. Comes back with a vengeance in the second stage of the Tower of Fate.
  • RPG Elements: The gems found throughout the levels are a currency for upgrades.
  • Rule 63: Set to be invoked with a Gender Swap mode in the future.
  • Schizo Tech: Propeller Knight and Treasure Knight both own an airship and an underwater vessel, respectively, despite the game supposedly being set in medieval times. Tinker Knight is particularly notable, as his specialty is building complex machinery. Possibly Plague Knight as well, since his stage is in an "alchemical lab."
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Several have achievements attached to them, ranging from the classic "No Damage", to completing the game without any relic, breaking all checkpoints and not ever dying even once, nor falling into a Bottomless Pit.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: Only the boss fight against Plague Knight and the Plague of Shadows can summon multiple vats at once (as well as make them not disappear), teleport around the arena and throw three potion bombs at once.
  • Sequential Boss:
    • Tinker Knight, whose first mode is nearly a Zero-Effort Boss and the second a Humongous Mecha.
    • The Final Boss is also this, but fortunately you get healed between the phases, and dying in the fight merely puts you back at the beginning of the phase you were currently on.
    • The Playstation-exclusive battle with Kratos is fought in 3 increasingly difficult stages.
    • The Xbox One-exclusive battle with the Battletoads has you go through challenges reminiscent of the original games (including a remake of the speeder bike section).
  • Shock and Awe: Courtesy of Phantom Striker and the Baz.
  • Voice Grunting: Almost every distinct character gets uniquely pitched beeps when dialogue occurs. Examples include Specter Knight having low, nearly ethereal beeps, while Polar Knight's are louder and deeper pitched.
  • You Dirty Rat:
    • With propellers that carry them around. They serve as Mooks in Pridemoor Keep, The Flying Machine, and the Tower of Fate.
    • There are green, exploding rats in the Explodatorium and mechanical ones in the Clockwork Tower.
  • Your Size May Vary: While Plague Knight's as tall as King Knight when you face him as a boss, he becomes as tall as Shovel Knight when you play as him. The discrepancy is more obvious in the battle against the Plague of Shadows, who acts the same as Plague Knight does in his boss fight; despite being a clone of Plague Knight himself, the Plague of Shadows is clearly taller.

    Shovel Knight Examples 

  • An Aesop: The game rewards you with treasure and an achievement for properly putting out Shovel Knight's campfires before leaving them.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: Titan Mode, which turns Shovel Knight into a giant. Hitbox Dissonance is in full effect here, as otherwise you can't complete the game with Shovel Knight that big, but even then, it's still very difficult to do so. Downplayed with Giant Mode, where Shovel Knight, while still a giant, isn't as big as he would be in Titan Mode. That, and his hitbox matches his size.
  • Battle Couple: Shovel Knight and Shield Knight.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him:
    • Black Knight when his true motives to fight Shovel Knight are revealed. The Enchantress uses a spell to empower and control him, forcing him to battle Shovel Knight one last time.
    • The Enchantress herself, who is possessing Shield Knight via a cursed amulet.
  • Big Bad: The Enchantress.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Black Knight, who arrives right in time to save Shovel Knight while Shield Knight holds The Enchantress' final attack back.
  • Book Ends: You start the game with five new music sheets going through a stage with unbreakable checkpoints. Assuming you find the secret area in the last stage, you end the game with five new music sheets going through a stage with unbreakable checkpoints.
  • Charged Attack: One of the upgrades for the shovel: charged swings do double damage and have twice as much reach, but they halve your horizonal movement speed when you're charging one, unless you're using a specific armor.
  • Controllable Helplessness: A non-malicious example: you can move the control pad around, making Shovel Knight shake while he's asleep. He'll only wake up when you jump, though.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Shovel Knight and the Order of No Quarter end the story on friendly terms. This is especially true if Shovel Knight chooses to rescue them after the final Boss Rush.
  • Disney Death: Shield Knight is forced to stay behind in the Tower of Fate as it crumbles, holding off a final attack from the Enchantress. She reappears in The Stinger, with a heavy limp and having lost her shield.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: The Giant Ghost in Hall of Champions will occasionally use this trick to throw off the player.
  • Emergency Energy Tank: The Ichor of Renewal replenishes all your health and magic. You can only carry up to two at the time, assuming you're not using the two chalices for the other two types of Ichor.
  • Extreme Omni Goat: The Goatician, who is occasionally seen eating a piece of paper. He also discusses this trope.
    Goatician: Ah, decisions, decisions! Should I extend my health or magic? Or just eat a tin can?
  • God Mode: One of the cheat codes grants this. Shovel Knight is completely invincible, even to spikes and Bottomless Pits, and he also gains a massive speed boost in his movement, can jump extremely high, and starts with all relics with each having infinite uses. Oh, and treasure is automatically drawn towards him. Another cheat code has the same effects except enlarging Shovel Knight's sprite, having his armour change colour every time he jumps, all Order of No Quarter stages already cleared, and all wandering travelers already defeated.
  • Goomba Springboard: Shovel Bouncing off of enemies results in this.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Croaker, who is found in the basement of the Village, will tell you a pun every time you talk to him, ranging in quality from pretty funny to groan-inducing. There's even an achievement for getting him to tell you all of them.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • The first phase of the final boss fight. The Enchantress is actually Shield Knight under the influence of the cursed amulet.
    • Black Knight actually tried to reach Shield Knight with words, but to no avail, much to his despair.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game allow one to battle the Battletoads and Kratos from God of War, respectively, as well as gain relics that allow Shovel Knight to perform techniques with his shovel based upon those characters' fighting styles.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "Shovelry" note 
  • It's Up to You: Without Shovel Knight and Shield Knight to protect the land in their adventures, evil has taken hold. When Shovel Knight sees the chaos, he realizes it's up to him to save the day! The subversion comes when it's revealed that Shovel Knight has little interest in saving the day until the very end: the only reason he's adventuring is to get back to the Tower of Fate and try to save Shield Knight, and the only reason he's taking on the Order of No Quarter and the Enchantress is because they're in his way.
  • King Mook: The Giant Ghost, which serves as the boss of the Hall of Champions. It can do much more than just slowly float towards Shovel Knight.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Even after The Reveal, The Enchantress is the only villain in the game who is not played for laughs and is portrayed as evil throughout.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Toader looks even more grumpy every time Shovel Knight tells him a pun.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Fishing Rod. It's only for fishing, right? Wrong. Besides being useful to recover money in case you died, it's the only item besides the Alchemic Coin that deals an entire health point of damage towards the bosses. It is also your only means to recover health in New Game+ without wasting a chalice of Ichor of Renewal or coming across a rare carrot or apple.
  • Mistaken Identity: Reize mistakes Shovel Knight for Black Knight.
  • Mythology Gag: The item Kratos bestows upon Shovel Knight after his boss fight is the "Grave Digger's Shovel." In God of War, the Grave Digger is a disguise used by Zeus.
  • Nice Hat: Mr. Hat thinks yours is nice. Though it's a helmet.
  • Not Completely Useless:
    • The Ornate Armor only offers cosmetic changes, and thus offers no benefits over any other armor... except during sequences where everything turns dark. Even if you can't see Shovel Knight himself, you'll be able to track him by the sparkles of his armor.
    • The Dust Knuckles. Although it has a low MP consumption, its short range makes it at best situational to use it... However, it's the only thing, besides a charged attack, that can punch through the shield of those pesky knight mooks (in a matter of speaking).
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: The crossover with the Battletoads, characters from a sci-fi series of games, is Handwaved as them accidentally taking a space warp to Shovel Knight's world.
  • Pungeon Master:
    • Croaker. Trying to cheer up Toader results in Shovel Knight himself becoming one of these.
    • The level start messages include a plethora of shovel jokes, like "Dig in", "Justice in Spades", "For Shovelry", and "It's Shoveling Time!".
  • Shovel Strike: Shovel Knight's main weapon is a shovel, in case that wasn't already obvious.
  • Silence, You Fool!: King Knight responds to Shovel Knight's promise to dispense shovel justice with an angry cry of "SILENCE!"
  • Sleep Cute: In The Stinger, Shield Knight drags herself to Shovel Knight's campsite and ends up resting next to him in this fashion.
  • Solid Gold Poop: Request an ichor from the Troupple King that will give you either full magic and health, 10 seconds of invincibility or the ability to absorb nearby treasure for 60 seconds and he hocks a loogie into your cup.
  • Stealth Pun: The Dust Knuckles are a play on the term "knuckle duster", a nickname for brass knuckles.
  • The Reveal: Black Knight is faking his loyalty towards The Enchantress and the Order of No Quarter. He's actually trying to prevent Shovel Knight from reaching The Enchantress in the Tower of Fate not because he's The Rival or wants to prove that he's stronger than him, but because The Enchantress is Shield Knight possessed by a cursed amulet and he's afraid that Shovel Knight might kill her.
  • The Unreveal: Nothing about the amulet that caused the events of the game to happen is really told or how the Tower of Fate returned, or anything about The Enchantress' past.
  • Undying Loyalty: During the ending, when Shovel Knight finally reuinites with Shield Knight.
    Shield Knight: You never gave up on me!
    Shovel Knight: I will NEVER give up on you. I will follow you to the end of the world.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Bonus Boss fight against the Battletoads within the Xbox version has you briefly play 2 minigames while you battle them: one where Shovel Knight and one of the Battletoads are being lowered to the ground via rope á la Wookie Hole from the NES Battletoads game, and one based upon the infamous "Turbo Tunnel" segments from the Battletoads games. You can play the latter minigame at any time once you've beaten them.
  • Utility Weapon: Besides the obvious applications of Shovel Knight's namesake, the Propeller Dagger vaults you through the air and lets you skip certain obstacles entirely, the Mobile Gear can be ridden over spikes and used to give you an edge in jumping challenges, and the Dust Knuckles let you plow through diggable dirt very quickly, even in midair.
  • Videogame Caring Potential:
    • During Shovel Knight's dream sequences, he has the chance to help Shield Knight who is helplessly falling down. Even more so after the first form of the Final Boss, where Shovel Knight finally has the chance to actually save her. However, not catching her just means her shield takes the hit; she isn't hurt; and she still is glad Shovel Knight came for her.
    • After defeating the Boss Rush before the final battle, you're given the option to pull up the Order of No Quarter from the walls before they can fall. Some of them will offer you their sincere thanks for it.
  • We Can Rule Together: Polar Knight attempts to get Shovel Knight to join the Order. The Enchantress has also been pulling this on Black Knight.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Polar Knight and Shovel Knight were friends and even shared an oath.
    • They probably bonded on the fact that both of them use shovels as weapons. (Shovel Knight uses a spade shovel for directly attacking while Polar Knight uses it as a anti-air shield and to roll up the snow into snow boulders to be used as projectiles)
  • Weakened by the Light: Ghosts can be only harmed by a sphere of light; trying to hit them with anything else will only make them phase out for a brief moment. Said sphere is only found in the Hall of Champions.
  • Where It All Began: Shovel Knight must return to the Tower of Fate, where he lost Shield Knight.
  • World of Pun: You can expect a fair amount of shovel and dig puns in the game.
  • Wreaking Havok:
    • The game runs on Box2D. This is more apparent when Shovel Knight bounces off stuff using his shovel, when gems fall to the ground, when Shovel Knight or the enemies use projectiles that bounce along the ground, during certain parts of Propeller Knight's level that involve alternating air currents, during the second phrase of Kratos's boss fight where gravity is lessened to simulate falling, and during Titan Mode (where it becomes more obvious that Shovel Knight's movements are based upon a physics engine).
    • There are cheat codes that alter the in-game physics so that they behave differently.

    Plague of Shadows Examples 

  • 100% Completion: Collecting all 420 Cipher Coins (you only need 230 in total to unlock all the upgrades in Mona's shop and for Percy to fix his catapult) in Plague Of Shadows unlocks the Pandemonium Cloak, which randomly changes your bomb properties, Arcana and burst every 10 seconds but also bypasses any bomb number limits, allowing you to kill most things in record time with multiple Cluster and Cascade Powder bombs if you happen to get either one of those.
  • Alternate Timeline: Possibly. The ending "where are they now" scene is entirely dissimilar from Shovel Knight's, and as such cannot exist in the same course of events with it... Yet, at the same time, the campaign's story is modeled in such a way that absolutely everything Shovel Knight went through could have still happened, and you actually see him going through his journey as Plague's too progresses. This even extends so far as him going to face the Enchantress, as she vanishes after her essence has been taken, but the lack of Shield Knight's reappearance shows she has yet to be actually defeated.
  • Anti-Hero: Plague Knight. His methods are still underhanded, he still has a ulterior motive, he's still a Bad Boss to his minions, and he still gets in trouble with the law, due to being associated with The Order. But at the end of the day, Plague Knight helps to take down the Enchantress and destroy the Tower of Fate. Due to saving the land, he, Mona, and the rest of his crew are praised as heroes alongside Shovel Knight and no longer have to operate like criminals in the shadows.
  • Artificial Brilliance: When fought as boss, Shovel Knight has some clever reactions towards the player: he'll reflect bombs coming straight up to him with great accuracy, if blocks of the arena are obstructing his way he'll blow the War Horn to clear the path, if the player is jumping too much - or on a higher ground - he'll use Throwing Anchors, if he's getting hit too many times he'll use the Phase Locket to protect himself, to get closer safely he'll attempt to use his Flare Wand as cover fire and he'll also occasionally distance himself from the player to use Chaos Orbs. He'll also drink the Ichor of Renewal should you whittle down his HP to half (thankfully, he has only one cup). All this in addition to him having the same limitations a player would have as a player character (including the fact that he could only use his relics a certain amount of times before he can't use them anymore).
  • Book Ends: The story begins with Plague Knight and Mona talking about the old alchemist saying "The bigger the explosion, the better the alchemist", the story ends with the two reciting the same quote right before they use the Ultimate Potion to blow up the Tower of Fate.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In Plague of Shadows, Shovel Knight can be seen interacting with the NPCs while Plague Knight's taking the secret route to Mona's lair. He becomes the boss of Explodatorium in Plague Knight's stead.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In Plague of Shadows, when you face Shovel Knight in the Explodatorium, he has all 10 health bubbles and access to the War Horn. In the normal campaign, it's impossible to have those by the time you fight Plague Knight since you can only get the War Horn in Polar Knight's stage, which is only accessible after beating the second tier of knights, one of whom is Plague Knight. You might say he was on New Game+, but here he takes regular damage instead of double.
  • Continuity Nod: In New Game+, you can see a picture of Mona in Plague Knight's secret room, reminiscent of how the two finally came together, even though the two are back to square one as far as the story is concerned.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In Plague of Shadows, the only reason why Shovel Knight and Plague Knight happened to be at the Explodatorium at the same time is because Shovel Knight just happened to be raiding it while Plague Knight investigated an incident that happened during his absence.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: In a reversal of Shovel Knight's version of the Hall of Champions, within Plague Knight's version of the exact same stage, the rooms are lit when there's still enemies within the area, but darken when there's not. Light Is Not Good is averted here because said enemies happen to be the city guard who only attacked Plague Knight because they still believed he's part of the Order of No Quarter.
  • Dark Reprise: Zigzagged. Plague Knight's theme and the various remixes are slightly more upbeat, but still sinister in this game mode. The Corrupted Essence's theme, however, is much more dark and foreboding.
  • Dueling Player Characters: Shovel Knight himself is fought as a boss in Plague of Shadows. The fight is as hectic as you'd imagine with him using several tricks against you.
  • Early Game Hell: A couple parts of the very first stage of Plague of Shadows can be rough if you haven't yet gotten comfortable with Plague Knight's radically different control scheme. You also don't have any upgrades to improve your mobility yet.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The second form of the Plague of Shadows, the Corrupted Essence, resembles a highly distorted version of Plague Knight.
  • Exact Words: The intro text makes Plague Knight out to be a villainous Starscream who only joined the Order of No Quarter to help him along with his own evil scheme to brew the "ultimate potion", with which "nothing he desired would be in out of his reach". It turns out he was only brewing the ultimate potion to woo Mona to his side. After finding out Mona loved him anyway, he destroys said potion due to already having "everything he desires".
  • Face–Heel Turn: Or possibly a Heel–Face Turn depending on how you look at it, when you enter The Exploratorium, all of Plague Knight's former minions have turned on him and will attack him without hesitation. It's never revealed why they turned on him.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The fights against Shovel Knight within Plague of Shadows are this, as right after you've beaten him, he'll perform a surprise attack that knocks Plague Knight unconscious. Not that Plague Knight cares as he still gets what he wants from beating him.
  • Interspecies Romance: At the end of Plague of Shadows, The Magicist hooks up with Percy the horse-man.
  • Life Energy: Possibly the best way to describe the "Essences" that Plague Knight extracts from other members of the Order of No Quarter and Shovel Knight, assuming it really isn't their souls he's extracting from them.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Subverted at the end. Defeating the final boss doesn't destroy the tower. Plague Knight and Mona using the Ultimate Potion as an ultimate explosive does.
  • Meaningful Name: "Plague of Shadows" is the name of the penultimate boss of the identically-named DLC campaign, being a shadowy copy of Plague Knight.
  • Musical Spoiler: The soundtrack to Plague of Shadows lists Shovel Knight's battle theme as "Battling the Burrower", spoiling the fact that he becomes a boss fight within that mode.
  • Reverse Shrapnel: A bomb casing that Plague Knight can obtain is the Orbit casing, which, when thrown, causes bombs to circle around Plague Knight. It's not too useful against bosses, as most of their attacks will simply ignore the bombs, but it works well against enemies that approach you at odd angles.
  • Sequel Hook: In Plague Knight's credit sequence, Specter Knight's scene has him discovering that the phase locket is gone and his reaction is to cut the treasure chest in half in a rage. This might be a hint at the plot of his own future expansion.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: During the fight with the Plague of Shadows, an alternative method of defeating it is standing completely still. The boss will never harm you as long as you never move a muscle, and after 40 seconds, the fight will end, he'll compliment your resolve and die automatically, letting you move on to the second part of the fight.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: After being defeated, Baz can be hired by Plague Knight as a minion. If you do so, he'll occasionally restock Plague Knight's Tonics for free. If you don't hire him, he disappears and you're stuck with either buying them from the Magicist or finding them in stages.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Despite not having any reason to, Plague Knight can blow up his minions. This has absolutely no gameplay effect.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "Plague of Shadows", it's never explained what became of The Enchantress, Black Knight went to follow her, but she isn't seen again after that.


For Shovelry!
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/ShovelKnight