Forget the comparisons to Mega Man, put aside the allusions to Duck Tales, and ignore Zelda II‘s influences; Shovel Knight is a terrific game on its on accord. Yacht Club Games’ debut isn’t a simple marriage of what’s come before, but a work that impresses with its vision of what made the NES days so great.
As the titular Shovel Knight, your job is to rid the land of eight villains and their leader, the Enchantress. Each of these bosses is preceded by a stage that brilliantly keeps with the theme of its master; Plague Knight’s level is littered with cauldrons and viles, and Tinker Knight’s is composed of cogs and gears. The theme extends to the enemies as well, with each stage brandishing its own batch of minions for the Shovel Knight to dispose of. Every aspect of these stages is cohesive, crafted with the utmost care, and nothing feels out of place or repurposed. It’s a type of craftsmanship I rarely see, and that attention to detail carries throughout Shovel Knight‘s entirety. The hero’s weapon preference isn’t some novelty, but a thoughtful decision that proves its worth throughout the game. From beginning to end, the shovel is all you have, but it’s put to good use. You can expect to dig, bounce, deflect, and attack with it. The concept is so strong, and because of the game’s linear progression, the skills you build are put to the test in the later levels. The Shovel Knight isn’t a reskinned Scrooge McDuck, he’s a standout character who fits into a world that wasn’t built just for him, but merely plucked from it for us to control.
1001 Spikes is humiliating. It makes you look foolish as you traverse its lands, running straight into a spinning wheel of death that you had every chance to avoid. Nicalis’ deathcore platformer inspires feelings of inadequacy as you trip the same pressure plate for the fourth time, shooting spikes up through your body. Oddly enough you paid for this honour, to be stripped naked in front of your peers and revealed to not be the “hardcore” gamer you’ve long professed.
But I keep coming back. Over and again, I accept my death and take another crack at making an inch of progress in this treasure-laden death trap.
I love this game.
While not unhappy with my purchase, I find it difficult to come out and say “Yes, make Tomodachi Life yours.” The whole experience reminds me of the spat of films released in the late 90s that originated from 5-minute Saturday Night Live sketches. There, much like with Tomodachi Life, these great ideas were stretched and pulled to form something larger. What was once novel becomes repetitive as that original flash of brilliance is recycled over and over.
We arrive at Hayabusa Village, a place in even shittier shape than when we left it. Here, Ryu’s old man, Joe Hayabusa, fends off an overdressed warrior named Genshin. The walls around them are ablaze, but nothing burns stronger than Genny’s hunger for…the Demon Statue.
I like to think of this chapter as a typical Hollywood sequel. “Ryu is back…with some all new toys to play with.” Cut to our hero dismembering foes like there’s no tomorrow. “This Summer, Ryu’s gonna Haya-bust-a cap in your ass.”
The guys over at Portable Power had me on to talk all things Electronic Entertainment Expo. Click here and give it a listen! Big thanks to Marc, Kevin, and Emrys who managed to put up with my excessive use of the word “like” for well over an hour. I had a lot of fun, except for when Audacity would crash. But, since we’re talking about three mega cool guys, they managed to deal with it, and whip up quite an episode.
Give it a listen, and check out previous Portable Power episodes, especially their Mega Man focused episode, which features a hilarious “live” play session of Mega Man Xtreme.
Our adventure begins with a young woman asking a very old man about the whereabouts of our protagonist, Ryu Hayabusa. While blonde and bound in leather, this woman is not Rachel, the demon hunter with the water bed breasts from our previous adventure. The senior citizen is Muramasa, the item peddler from Sigma Plus. He appears clueless about Ryu’s location, but her wish to discuss the “arch fiend” catches his attention.
Things go awry with the arrival of the Black Spider Clan, literally crashing into Muramasa’s conversation. The mystery woman brandishes her handguns, and proves she is no damsel in distress. At least for a little while.
Vita owners have a lot to be upset about. I wrote on Sony’s Vita efforts earlier this week, bemoaning their attempts at masking a new peripheral as a benefit to their handheld.
Purported to be an accident (but so crushing that it’s hard to believe so), Sony’s PlayStation blog published a story with the headline “Final Fantasy Type-0 Coming to PS Vita”. Within the hour, Sony recognized the error, and swapped “Vita” for “PS4”.
Then the shit hit the fan.
All this anger and vitriol has resulted in a Twitter campaign, with supporters using the #NOVITANOBUY hashtag. There’s a Change.org petition as well, which at this point is nearly 1000 signatures strong.
What I’m having trouble with is this movement’s message. Not only am I not clear of what they aren’t buying (PS4s, Xbox Ones, the game altogether?), I think the tone behind it all is far too aggressive.