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Videogame: Shovel Knight
Can you dig it?

"Prepare for justice, shovel justice!"
Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight is a 2D Platform Game by Yacht Club Games, an Indie developer consisting of former employees of Way Forward Technologies, set for the Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Steam (including 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 shovel justice 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 and Plague Knight.
  • 4-Player Battle Mode.


Shovel Knight contains examples of:

  • 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 will be made playable outside of the game's multiplayer, complete with their own altered versions of the normal story.
  • Anti-Villain: The Black Knight.
  • Autosave
  • 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 is noticeably made of wood.
  • Battle in the Rain: The final battle against Black Knight is one of these.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 arena to cover them.
    • The Enchantress who will destroy parts of the arena with her magic, but will also fix it occasionally.
  • 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.
  • Boss Corridor
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bottomless Pits: A platforming staple. Watch your step!
  • Chandelier Swing: In King Knight's level, although they will fall.
  • Charged Attack: One of the upgrades for the shovel.
  • Cheat Code: Done by way of putting in a specific code when naming a profile. Most famous is "Butt Mode", which replaces key words in the script with the word "butt." Players have since discovered literally hundreds of codes.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Can be done by the player's at their own risk, in a Self-Imposed Challenge. It also gives extra gold. Naturally harder stages, especially the last ones, will net more gold.
  • Clock Tower: The Tinker Knight's stage.
  • Collision Damage: One of the many woes to Shovel Knight.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 head, 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 reveals 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 checkpoints then you'll get thrown to the beginning of the stage.
  • 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.
  • Dem Bones: Boneclangs.
  • 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.
  • Emergency Energy Tank: The Ichor of Renewal.
  • Evil Counterpart: Polar Knight.
    • The Black Knight is a more direct example.
  • Evil Former Friend: Polar Knight seems to have been on good footing with Shovel Knight before the Enchantress created the Order.
    • The Enchantress.
  • Evil Laugh: The Black Knight and Propeller Knight give one before they battle.
  • Evil Genius: Tinker Knight, Plague Knight, and The Enchantress.
  • Evil Knockoff: The Slime Shovel Knights found in the Explodatorium.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Tower of Fate.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The main character is a knight. Instead of a sword, his weapon of choice is a shovel.
  • Everything's Better With Sparkles: Subverted with the Ornate Armor. The constant sparkles don't make it any less useless.
    • Actually, they do: they make it easier to keep track of Shovel Knight's position in dark areas.
  • 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 summons a bunch of them to shield him when he Turns Red.
  • Flip Screen Scrolling: Though usually done out of necessity, it is included for the retro aesthetic.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The characters all have these as part of their design.
  • Funny Background Event: In the final battle 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 open up his diving helmet to eat something. It still won't show his face, though.
  • 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.
  • Goomba Springboard: Shovel Bouncing off of enemies results in this.
  • 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.
  • Guide Dang It: Fell into a Bottomless Pit and your money is in a risky or hard, if not outright impossible, place to reach? You can try to fish it back. The game never even once tells you this.
    • There are few music sheets that are almost impossible to find unless you think of exploring every corner of every stage. Even those who 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 catch gold fishes which doesn't heal you.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: There are people with goat and horse heads in the towns.
  • Hat Of Flight: Propeller Knight's method of travel. Can also be re-purposed as a fan to blow Shovel Knight off the stage.
  • Humongous Mecha: Used by Tinker Knight in his second phase.
  • "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.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: The Ornate Armor costs more than any other armor in the game, yet all it does is make Shovel Knight look cool.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Plenty of them in Tinker Knight's stage.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: The final set of levels take place on the "Tower of Fate", instead of a fortress like in the Mega Man games, but it's quite similar, 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.
  • 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 that deals an entire health point of damage towards the bosses. It is also your only mean to recover health in New Game+ without wasting a chalice of Ichor of Renewal or coming across a rare carrot or apple.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The world seems to be populated by both regular humans and funny animals.
  • Mad Scientist: Plague Knight.
  • Made of Explodium: A good amount of things explodes in the Explodatorium, including rats, bombs and certain platforms.
  • Mini-Boss: One or two in each of the main levels.
  • Mini-Dungeon: Several on the World Map.
  • New Game+: Allowing upgrades to be carried over, but also increasing the difficulty of the game.
  • Nice Hat: Mr. Hat thinks yours is nice. Though it's a helmet.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One-Hit Kill: As per tradition, spikes, holes, lava, and crushing walls/ceiling will instantly down Shovel Knight. Period.
  • 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
  • Pungeon Master: The Frog.
  • 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. Thrice.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • Shock and Awe: Courtesy of Phantom Striker and the Baz.
  • Shovel Strike: Shovel Knight's main weapon is a shovel, in case that wasn't already obvious.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Any enemies present after the defeat of a boss will flee during Shovel Knight's victory sequence.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous.
    • One of the quotes when you start a level is Strike the Earth. Another one is simply "Ready".
    • The pogo-bounce is taken from DuckTales.
    • There are eight bosses, each with unique theme. All of them share the later part of their names, Knight, not only with each other, but with the protagonist as well. This is very similar to the Mega Man series.
    • The map screen is similar to Super Mario Bros. 3, with moving enemy encounters.
    • The jars can carry healing medicine. Many players of The Legend of Zelda series can see.
    • King Knight's strolling animation is strangely similar to the "Haters Gonna Hate" meme.
    • The relics work like the subweapons from the Castlevania series, with each relic sharing the same MP meter, like how subweapons use up collectible hearts from the latter series. There's even an option which allows you to use relics with the Up+Attack button combination! The way the Tower of Fate crumbles in the end also seems reminiscent of how Castlevania collapses after Dracula is defeated. Spectre Knight also bears a strong resemblance, in both looks and fighting style, to Death.
  • Silence, You Fool!: King Knight responds to Shovel Knight's promise to dispense shovel justice with an angry cry of "SILENCE!"
  • Silliness Switch: Butt Mode which simply replaces most recurring words with the word "Butt" Shovel Knight is renamed "Butt Butt" and Shield Knight becomes "Shield Butt"
  • Sinister Scythe: Specter Knight's weapon of choice, further strengthening his Grim Reaper motif.
  • Sleep Cute: In The Stinger, Shield Knight drags herself to Shovel Knight's campsite and ends up resting next to him in this fashion.
  • Some Dexterity Required: The game is designed to only have inputs that an NES control could use, so to use a special weapon, up and attack need to be pressed at the same time. This takes getting used to, particularly with difficult platforming sections that rely on special weapons.
    • Thankfully, an option to use a separate button, rather than up+attack, is also provided.
  • Spikes Of Doom: Spikes instantly kill Shovel Knight when he isn't using the Phase Locket or a Ichor of Boldness.
  • Squishy Wizard: Plague Knight, given his description as "physically weak."
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Shovel Knight. Treasure Knight at least seems to have a diving helmet.
  • Take That, Audience!: Well, more like Take That Backers. There is a level that is a hall of Kickstarter backers as a minilevel. To get in, you gotta pay gold. Once inside, you learn the whole place is haunted and you have to kill all the ghosts. Once you do, the doorkeeper thanks you for clearing them out, but says something along the lines of "You weren't expecting that when you paid to enter did you? Well you should be careful about paying for things you don't know enough about!" with "paying" being green. The level's music is even called "The Donor's Despair", and the boss music is named "Backed Into A Corner."
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Try to fish in the lava, you'll only fish those pesky flame fishes.
    • Also fishing near the Troupple King will not make him happy at all. But you'll earn a music sheet for that.
    • 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.
    • Talking to King Knight after the Boss Rush while wearing the Ornate Armor will result in an amusing reaction from him.
  • The Faceless: Most of the Order of No Quarter wear helmets, so their faces aren't visible. Shovel Knight himself also counts.
  • The Undead: Specter Knight is a "phantasm" who only sides with The Enchantress in exchange for her prolonging his undeath.
  • 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 will kill her.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Shield Knight is noticeable taller than Shovel Knight.
  • Turns Red: Nearly every boss will up the difficulty after a significant amount of their health has been depleted.
  • 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.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: You don't have to catch Shield Knight in any of the dream sequences. You can just stand there and let her hit the ground every time.
    • You can also ignore the knight's pleas after the Boss Rush and leave them to hang.
  • Video Game Settings:
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: After his defeat, Black Knight will flee during Shovel Knight's victory sequence. Mole Knight also pulls this off with the assistance of moles, and Plague Knight does so via teleportation.
  • Wandering Minstrel: The Bard is one of these, despite his name.
  • 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.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The ending shows the fates of the various characters, particularly the Order of No Quarter.
  • World of Pun: You can expect a fair amount of shovel and dig puns in the game.
  • You Dirty Rat: With propellers that carry them around. They serve as Mooks in Pridemoor Keep and the Tower of Fate.
    • There are also green, exploding rats in the Explodatorium and mechanical ones in the Clockwork Tower.

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alternative title(s): Shovel Knight
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