Shovel Knight is a 2D side-scrolling platform game developed and published by Yacht Club Games. Development was crowdfunded and the game was released for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U in June 2014. It was ported to OS X and Linux in September 2014, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Xbox One in April 2015, Amazon Fire TV in September 2015, and Nintendo Switch in March 2017. Shovel Knight is inspired by gameplay and graphics of platformer games developed for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
The game has received critical acclaim and awards. With the release of additional campaigns, the original story received the retronym Shovel of Hope. The full game was released in December 2019 as Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, which includes three other campaigns Plague of Shadows, Specter of Torment, and King of Cards, along with multiplayer fighting game Shovel Knight Showdown.
Shovel Knight is a 2D side-scrolling platformer with an 8-bit graphical style. In the game’s first campaign, Shovel of Hope, players control the eponymous protagonist as he collects treasure and fights against the Order of No Quarter. Shovel Knight’s primary means of attack is his shovel, which he can either use to attack enemies head-on and dig up treasure, or aim below him while jumping to bounce on enemies, similar to the pogo jump from DuckTales or the downward thrust from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. By finding a salesman named Chester hidden in most levels, the player can purchase secondary items known as relics that can be used with a limited supply of magic. These include long-range projectiles, gloves that can punch through dirt blocks, and a locket that makes the player invincible for a brief period.
Aside from the main quest, which involves fighting through each level and defeating the boss at the end in order to progress through the world map, players are encouraged to collect as much treasure as possible. Treasure can be obtained by defeating enemies, finding chests, digging through the environment, and finding note sheets that also unlock music tracks. Any money earned can be spent in villages on various items, such as upgrades to health and magic, secondary items sold by the salesman, and armor and shovel upgrades that grant bonus skills. While the player does have infinite lives, dying will cause the player to lose some of their money, though the player can recover it by collecting the flying sacks that appear around where the player last died. For an added challenge, players can also choose to destroy checkpoints to earn more treasure at the risk of being sent back further should they die.
Completing the game opens up a New Game Plus mode, which increases the overall difficulty of the game by doubling the damage Shovel Knight takes, as well as limiting the number of checkpoints in a stage, though the player retains any relics and health and magic upgrades collected during their first playthrough. There is also a password system allowing players to input codes to unlock various cheats.