Lets face it, retro platformers are 'retro' for a reason. Now a days we have HD textured 3D sandbox games with so much content and possibilities I could insert joke here about it being comparable to the universe. We're spoiled for content, especially if you're of the ilk that likes to "mod it 'till it crashes". So why should we be excited for a game that looks old, sounds old, and plays old? (Feel old yet?)
The story is as simple as it gets. Shovel knight and his companion shield knight are two traveling knights in search for every knights dream, treasure. Their Journey brings them to the Tower of Fate, where they lose their way to dark magic from a cursed amulet. When Shovel knight comes to, shield knight is nowhere to be found and the tower is sealed. With his will broken shovel knight resigns himself to solitude. With shovel knight out of the game, a new evil envelopes the land, the Enchantress and her Order of no Quarter. When shovel knight learns that the Tower of fate has once again unsealed, he sets off in haste to find his old companion. Simple storyline, friends go on adventure, friend loses other friend, time pases, friend goes looking for friend. Or not actually that simple, but its a story we can all understand and get behind. There's not dabbling in side story, or hundreds of characters with intricate motives (I'm looking at you game of thrones).It makes sense, and it feels good, what else do you need? .The game is short however; it's not a rogue like that will play differently 1000 times, and is my only vice with the game. That however shouldn't change your mind about picking it up.
But I can hear your clamor, "It has a seamless storyline, so what? It's a video game, there's more to it". I couldn't agree more my hypothetical straw-man gamer, but would you believe me if I told you that wasn't all there is to this game? Gamers of old had to have started playing somewhere, and if you were like me it was with Jumpman 'Mario' Jumpman; And if you remember playing that game, don't worry, we're not that old yet. The controls of this game are as clean and simple as they get, you can jump, you can dig and hit things with your shovel. Gathering treasure is still important to shovel knight apparently because there's a tonne of it wherever you go, and you'll want to pick it all up; because who doesn't .There's some extra power ups, but otherwise there are no combo's you need to memorize. It feels clean, plays like a charm on any platform (and every platform). Shovel knight has made it to pc on steam, to the 3DS, to OS X, Linux and will be coming to playstation 3, 4 and vita (I'm looking at you xbox one).
These days, platformers have made a return through indie games. A strong return too, as well as pixel art. So if you like that, this will blow your mind. The art is easily one of the games strengths. Each level is crafted with awesomeness, from the plague infested castle of the aptly named plague knight, to the icy landscapes of polar knight. It's glorious in all it's pixely splendor. The music on the other hand, is amazing. Every tune is beautiful, and the best thing is their collectible. They really set the atmosphere for every level, its like actually being there; and if you stayed for the retro art style then you'll stay for the chiptune goodness that is crammed into every second of this game. The music is easily my favorite aspect of this game and I think Yacht games hit this nail right on the head.
So if you find yourself with a couple of hours with nothing to do, and have an affinity for retro games and a flair for odd weapons. Then you'll love digging yourself into this game.