YMMV / Shovel Knight

  • 8.8: Gamespot gave it a 7 out of 10, despite listing no negative qualities about the game. After extensive pressure from commenters, the reviewer elaborated the game lacked longevity... despite not playing the New Game+ or co-op modes (not to mention at least three free DLCs planned at the time that would allow players to replay the game as different Boss Knights). They then chose Shovel Knight as their game of the month.
  • Awesome Music: See here.
  • Broken Base:
    • People are torn about the romantic bent of the main plot in the Plague of Shadows expansion. Some people find it very charming, and feel it does a lot to humanize the otherwise-rather stock characterization of Plague Knight, while others found it a cliche and anticlimactic way to take the story. Some just Take a Third Option and consider it an Excuse Plot, deciding to judge the game based on the new gameplay mechanics and not the story.
    • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose tends to be a frustrating trope in and of itself, but the Shovel Knight fights in Plague of Shadows left a lot of players grumbling because it didn't make a whole lot of sense. That, and attacking someone while their back is turned isn't a very knightly thing to do, especially since Shovel Knight seems like the most Paragon of the knights. And then he abandons the Order to dangle after the Boss Rush.
  • Breather Boss: Because King Knight and Specter Knight don't gain any new moves during their rematches, they're relatively simple compared to the other members of the Order.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The girl with the broccoli hair at the inn bar invites you to watch her dance. Completely pointless to the game, but well animated and amusing to watch nonetheless.
    • The Troupple King's Dance is also pretty hilarious and thankfully optional after the first time he gives you an ichor.
    • If you wait long enough in Armor Outpost you'll find a NPC with the same armor of Shovel Knight walking around, except he has a fish head.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • Due to his large frame and old-fashion diver design, Treasure Knight is frequently compared to the Big Daddies from BioShock. Specifically Subject Delta because of their arm weaponry and similar helmet designs.
    • In terms of their contrasting personalities and gameplay styles, many people are saying that Plague Knight is the Luigi to Shovel Knight's Mario.
  • Crazy Awesome: Plague Knight. Hyper, erratic, and psychotic, this guy will make you feel like an all-powerful psycho while playing as him in Plague of Shadows.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Butt Mode replaces certain words (specifically Shovel, Knight, Health and Magic) with the word butt. While already funny on its own, this means characters like Black Knight will say things like:
    Black Knight: Steel thy butt!
  • Demonic Spiders: The Green Propeller mooks (appropriately named Hover Meanies) introduced in Propeller Knight's stage. They LOVE to push you into Bottomless Pits every time they appear and these enemies are rather fast and difficult to deal with since you'll have to watch your footing while dealing with them. They will make you rage in the Tower of Fate.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Specter Knight, Plague Knight, and King Knight. Specter won the playable boss contest by a large margin, while the other two were popular enough to also get their own campaigns.
    • Everybody loves the Propeller Rats! The Clockwork Rats and Plague Rats later in the game are just as cute if a bit more threatening!
    • The Spinwulfs, the wolves on the Stranded Ship, became a huge hit. It helps that they have a cute design, howl, and have just as much trouble on the ice blocks as you do.
  • Faux Symbolism: King Knight can stun Shovel Knight with one of his attacks which will make him kneel, what he does next? Bash him with his scepter. He's "Knighting" him.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Why one would use a shovel as weapon? Because not only it is a weapon, it is also useful to dig up treasure! It also helps to remind that Shovel Knight was previously an adventurer and, quite possibly, a treasure hunter.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • Due to its Kickstarter origins, it isn't uncommon to find Shovel Knight backers also backing other video game kickstarters, such as Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Mighty No. 9, Yooka-Laylee and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. These are the five more successful ones, as the Blue Burrower also finds his way onto other projects in some way.
    • With Freedom Planet fans, as its 16 bit little sister. Both are indie-developed Retraux games funded on Kickstarter that came out within a month of each other, are throwbacks to the golden age of platformers, and have detailed pixel art and excellent gameplay.
  • Game Breaker:
    • The Phase Locket found in the Lich Yard. It's one of the first magic items you can acquire and grants two seconds of invincibility. Combine that with a low use cost and the fact that most enemies drop magic refills on death and you can cheese your way through otherwise difficult fights and puzzles. The cost was later increased to make it much less game breaking, especially if your magic hasn't been upgraded very far.
    • For Plague of Shadows, there's the Float Burst. It causes you to slowly float down after your burst. This not only makes platforming much easier, but it also can make some bosses much easier since you can float above them and keep throwing down bombs on them. Combined with the Vat, you can easily just fly over all the enemies in a room or kill them while they can't touch you at all.
    • Plague Knight's sheer variety of weapons and abilities means that you can build a strategy to shatter nearly any challenge in the game. Boss giving you trouble? Hide in a smoke bomb and spam cluster or cascade bombs! Running low on health? Get some distance and spam shot bursts or component bomb blasts while sipping leech liquid. With a little cleverness, you can break the game over your knee.
    • The Component Powder in Plague Knight's mode. It allows you to create bigger explosions every time you throw a bomb onto the same spot, with its biggest explosion releasing projectiles in a "+" pattern. This can be used to get enemies that are out of reach and can deal additional damage to bosses, if not at least hitting them if you miss. The best thing about this is that it unlocks early in the game after you beat King Knight and Specter Knight, provided you collected each and every cipher coin up to that point, and only costs about 4000 gold.
    • A large number of bosses and enemies that spend any extended amount of time on the ground can be easily trivialized with a combination of Bounce Casing, Sparkle Powder and Impact Fuse and repeatedly throwing the bombs at the enemy while jumping: the spark hits the enemies once and the explosion after that deals a second hit, allowing you to quickly shred their life to 0 in record time. The only largely grounded enemies that don't take additional damage from these bombs are Shovel Knight and Black Knight since they possess Knock Back and extended Mercy Invincibility.
    • The Custom Knight in the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game, unlocked with the Shovel Knight amiibo. Custom Knight quickly gains relics, health, and magic points just by leveling up (done by collecting gold), and also gets exclusive abilities like the Double Jump or Dash Boots or new relics like the Infinidagger or Lift Dagger. These new abilities and relics trivialize many of the game's platforming challenges since they greatly increase Shovel Knight's mobility. On the flipside, achievements are disabled for that save file if you decide to use them.
  • Genius Programming: The Plague of Shadows update brings about a fair amount of optimizations on the 3DS version, enough to decrease the filesize significantly, according to Yacht Club Games.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The Knight enemies. While not horribly difficult to handle on normal circumstances, they have more health than most enemies and are generally placed in segments that makes them either difficult to fight or avoid altogether without resorting to a relic. They descend into the Demonic Spiders territory quite easily on New Game+.
    • The Rockets in Clock Tower. They constantly spawn and fly across three screens. Their damage is minimal, but they also knock you back in rooms where a small knock back can drop you onto spikes or into a pit. The ladder in the auto-scrolling screen is particularly annoying as you have no time to try again if one knocks you back and usually three rockets pass over it while you climb.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: This is not the first time a hero wielding a shovel squared off against an evil king atop a castle to save his beloved.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The little jingle that plays whenever Shovel Knight scrapes a chest empty or find a music sheet.
    • The *shing* sound made by Shield Knight when she's offering her help to attack The Enchantress or to protect you from her all-screen attack.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: A rather minor gripe all things considered, but On the Xbox and Playstation ports of the Plague of Shadows expansion, players need to pause the game and open the menu every single time they wish to change their bombs or abilities, which can grow extremely tiresome after awhile.
  • That One Achievement:
    • Perfect Platformer and Impossible, the first requires you not fall even once in a Bottomless Pit, the later not to die once. Thankfully the game doesn't record your deaths if you simply leave the stage to the world map.
    • Hurry Up! which requires the player to finish the game within 1h 30m, screw a few times and you might as well restart the entire game again. Even returning to the map can become problematic since every time you do so the game will add few seconds to the total time which will accumulate if you restart one too many times. Some of the stress can be reduced with liberal abuse of the save game copy tool.
    • Dirt Poor. It requires you to get absolutely no gold during a run through a member of the Order of No Quarter which is harder than it sounds. You may inadvertently pick anything worth a single gold after breaking blocks of dirt or killing an enemy and there are several stages where getting this feat is impossible as there are gold worth gems right in places where you must pass.
    • True Shovelry. To earn it you must beat all levels not getting any relic at all, which means absolutely no recovery other than food, no cheesing out victories with Phase Locket and no sequence breaking with Propeller Dagger.
    • Penny Pincher is even worse. It requires you to spend no money at all. This means, in addition to the hardships from True Shovelry, you can't buy armor or shovel upgrades, and you can never have more than seven hearts of health. Luckily in New Game +, if you bought virtually everything in the original file, you can complete it again without these issues present.
  • Tear Jerker: Mona temporarily rejecting Plague Knight when she's led to believe he was manipulating her all along in Plague of Shadows. Made worse when the ending reveals that Plague Knight really did love her, and everything he did in the campaign was part of his desire to prove his worth to her.
  • That One Boss:
    • Plague Knight can easily become this on New Game+. Since you take double damage and he just doesn't stop throwing bombs it's quite likely that you'll either need full health and some Ichor of Renewal to beat him if you didn't learn his attack pattern or don't have reflexes to dodge his bombs.
    • Polar Knight is the only member of the Order that can instant kill a player by summoning spikes. He also blocks against downward strikes.
    • Propeller Knight when fought in his airship. He will break parts of the arena and try to pull or push you in a Bottom Less Pit for an instant kill, he also can counter shovel down strikes by blowing Shovel Knight very high and try to impale him with his sword. He's more difficult in Plague of Shadows since he can be difficult to hit with Plague Knight's bombs.
    • The Enchantress can One-hit KO you by virtue of bottomless pits, as the platform you fight her on is made of breakable blocks that either you or her can break. Granted, she also has an attack that restores some of the blocks.
    • Shovel Knight in Plague of Shadows. He can deflect your bombs, adapts to your strategy so you can't spam the same attacks, and technically has one and a half times as much health as the rest of the bosses. He's even worse in the Boss Rush where he's always the last boss. If you die to him there, you have to do the entire boss rush all over again!
  • That One Level:
    • The Explodatorium, Plague Knight's stage, mostly in New Game+ mode. So many enemies in this stage can heavily damage Shovel Knight if unprepared, and the stage also contains one the most difficult knight variants - the green ones. Expect to heavily abuse the Phase Locket, and if you are trying for the no relic achievement, then good luck. In Plague of Shadows on New Game+, the first checkpoint isn't until after the miniboss halfway though the level, making a normally challenging level seem brutal.
    • Clockwork Tower, Tinker Knight's stage. The final segment of the stage will auto scroll upwards meaning it will constantly create Bottomless Pits, one mishap with the jump and it's back to the last checkpoint with a hit in your wallet.
    • Flying Machine, Propeller Knight's stage. Choke full of Bottomless Pits, has Demonic Spiders in several parts of the stage and "wind physics" in full action to screw jumps. The level is much harder in Plague of Shadows due to Plague Knight's lower jumps and difficulty dealing with a majority of enemies in the stage.
    • Tower of Fate: Entrance. Difficult jumps? Check. Demonic Spiders? Check. Difficult boss? Check. This stage is regarded as one of the most difficult by players for a reason. Trying to finish it without relics is almost self flagellation.
    • Tower of Fate: Ascent. It has a segment where you must push a statue to create bridges all over a huge Bottomless Pit. The catch? Enemies positioned specifically to throw you off the said statue and two green mooks from Propeller Knight's stage to downright blow you into the Bottomless Pit. It also has an auto scrolling section like Tinker Knight's stage, now with blocks moving around to crush you as well. It gets worse in New Game+, as the ONLY checkpoint in the level is the one right before the Boss Rush. Said boss rush is now even more difficult, as the you take double damage and full health turkeys come only after every OTHER fight. Though it so happens that the aforementioned statue section can actually be skipped entirely by getting the statue above the obstacles and just jumping above them (requires usage of the Propeller Dagger to clear some of the jumps, though).
    • For obvious reasons, Mysterious Area in the Xbox One version. It has you in modified versions of Wookie Hole and Turbo Tunnel, fighting Zitz and Rash in those areas respectively, and then fighting the whole Battletoads Team in a boss fight. The Wookie Hole is especially nasty as you undergo Checkpoint Starvation for the whole thing. Definitely hits the Nintendo Hard fans of Battletoads have been looking for.
  • Woolseyism: In the Japanese release, the Alchemy Coin was changed from a golden coin with Japanese text on it to a form of Japanese coin (one with a hole in the middle).
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/ShovelKnight