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This review contains spoilers
𝗦𝗛𝗢𝗩𝗘𝗟 𝗢𝗙 𝗛𝗢𝗣𝗘: All time classic. Yatch Club perfectly captured the nostalgia and charm of the 8-bit era with their first outing. Listening to the amazing retro soundtrack and seeing the beautiful pixel art gave me pure serotonin. Im usually not sold on these types of 8-bit era throwback games, because they are usually all style no substance, but shovel knight does it right and then some. I also appreciated the simple but effective story. Seeing shield knight sit beside shovel knight and then seeing ''THE END'' text gave me goose bumps:
𝗣𝗟𝗔𝗚𝗨𝗘 𝗢𝗙 𝗦𝗛𝗔𝗗𝗢𝗪𝗦: Great expansion to shovel of hope and the story is charming as always. Compared to other expansion Plague knight doesnt have his own levels, instead he plays through a slightly altered versions of shovel knights stages and it works surprisingly well. They are a blast to playthrough with plagues knights new bomb burst move. Since the levels werent designed to counteract this mechanic, you can fly through stages if you know what you are doing and it is amazing. I also loved how you can make your own flasks by combining different cases, powders etc. Even though this is the least innovative out of all the expansions it is also the most underrated in my opinion. I would recommend you play this right after shovel of hope since this acts more of a expanded game to that.
𝗦𝗣𝗘𝗖𝗧𝗘𝗥 𝗢𝗙 𝗧𝗢𝗥𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧: Oh boy here it is, the most innovative, the most unique and most importantly my favorite of them all. It expands on the original more than plague of shadows ever dared. What we have here is fully original levels designed around brand new mechanics. Specter knight has a taller stature compred to others and occupies a lot of space in the screen but his stature only adds to his power fantasy while not hindering his controls. It just feels so smooth to control with him seemlessly dashing around and wall jumping like its nothing. Your arsenal is more entriquet than ever, you can hover, heal yourself, summon skeletons, you can even slow down time. Its honestly the best in terms of gameplay and its not even a challenge. The only actual kinda downgrade i could point out here is that you have lots of options in terms how you approach fighting enemies and almost all of these options are overpowered in some shape or form. The bosses are a cakewalk because of this and even without all these options, specter knights base kit still demolishes them. The reason i wouldnt consider this a total downside because you get to play as the grimm reaper himself demolishing foes seemlessly and the power fantasy you experience is enough to justify it. The story takes a shift from plague of shadows and shovel of hopes more happy and non serious tone while still having moments that made outright laugh. The games shows you little snipets of how specter knight turned out the way he is. Blinded by greed, he killed his best friend and himself and made a deal with the enchantress in the past to return his humanity back. In the end, in a final act of selflessness he returns the humanity of his best friend's son instead of himself and lives as a slave to the enchantress. Brand new levels, brand new mechanics, and a tragic story to boot. This is game is truly amazing
𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗢𝗙 𝗖𝗔𝗥𝗗𝗦: I have not much to say on this. Its again a great expansion but coming from the greatness of specter of torment, this felt a bit underwhelming. My biggiest complaint here is the bite size approach to levels. All of them are original and there are lots of them also but all of them are pretty short and feel like they dont contribute to anything. There arent even any bosses at the end of levels. You instead encounter bosses in the overworld which is fine i guess. In terms of mechanics, king knight is a character defined by his limitations more than anything. He has one shoulder bash move and everything is built around that mechanic. It never got too creative with how the levels utilise the shoulder bash but simply bashing into enemies and spinning right afterwards to bounce on stuff constantly is a addicting enough gameplay loop. I never tried out the card game so i cant comment on that. This is a innovative enough expansion with some solid levels to boot but it was obvious from the start that it was never gonna reach the high bar specter of torment set up. My least favorite expansion of them all. Doesnt mean its bad though.
𝗢𝗩𝗘𝗥𝗔𝗟𝗟: Playing these 4 games in the order of SOT > KOC > POS > SOH and experiencing the full story of shovel knight start to finish. Seeing the special message you get after finishing all the expansions. I can safely say the combined experience of shovel knight is one of the greatest 2D platformers ever, up there with the likes of hollow knight and ori. Yatch club truly knocked it out off the park and marked themselves as one of the greats in the video game industry. I truly love this game
𝓢𝓣𝓔𝓔𝓛 𝓣𝓗𝓨 𝓢𝓗𝓞𝓥𝓔𝓛!