Although most gamers battled the Order of No Quarter last summer to beat the Kickstarter-turned-smash hit Shovel Knight, it is possible there are still some gamers who have yet to play the indie title. In an effort to get the game into as many hands as possible, the developers have finally gotten around to releasing current-gen ports for PS4 and Xbox One.
The new wave of ports also includes releases on PS3 and PlayStation Vita. The PlayStation versions launched on April 21 and the Xbox One version followed on April 29. Gamers probably recall a lot of buzz around the game’s initial Wii U and PC launch and while the new ports don’t bring a whole lot new to the table, there are a few features and additions worth mentioning.
For those totally out of the loop, Shovel Knight is a 2D adventure game that looks, sounds, and feels like something out of the Nintendo era. The game pays homage in mechanics and style to Mega Man, Castlevania, DuckTales, and a number of other classics. Players take on the role of the titular Shovel Knight and fight through themed worlds to defeat difficult bosses, find treasures, and unlock magical items. We loved the original release and interested readers can find our full review here.
The game’s core campaign remains almost entirely unaltered for this new release, which is probably for the best. Unfortunately, that means there are no new game modes or particularly enticing variations on the game that make it stand out from the original. If gamers have already played hours and hours and grown tired of the challenges of the original release, these new ports likely won’t reignite the Shovel Knight flame.
One enticing feature of the PlayStation versions is the addition of cross-buy and cross-save. Shoppers can purchase Shovel Knight from the PlayStation Store and redeem the code on any of the three Sony platforms. The real excitement comes from playing the game on the console and saving your game, only to pick it up later on the Vita. The feature is unique to consumers who own multiple Sony devices, which makes it a little less of a selling-point, but the feature is fantastic for those who own a console and a Vita.
In addition to the cross-play available on the PlayStation systems, the new versions also contain two unique new challenging bosses. The PlayStation versions of the game include God of War’s protagonist Kratos as a hidden enemy. Players must unlock the boss by completing a puzzle (here’s our guide if you’re in a hurry) and then throw down in a three-part boss fight. The new content is definitely challenging (both the puzzle and the fight, itself), but won’t tag on much more than an extra 15-20 minutes to the game’s length.
The Xbox one version has a similar addition, with a hidden boss fight against the Battletoads. The path to unlocking the Toads is a double-secret, just like the Kratos mystery, but it is hidden in a different spot from the PlayStation one. Rather than fighting one boss with three phases like the God of War, Xbox One owners face off against Rash, Zitz, and Pimple back to back to back. We reviewed this port on the PS4, so we didn’t get the chance to throw down against the Toads, but it looks like the unlock and fight would add roughly the same amount of time to the game as Kratos does for PlayStation players.
Unfortunately, aside from the platform-specific additional boss fight and the PlayStation cross-buy; the new port doesn’t change anything else. The original game remains untouched and is still as challenging and addicting as ever, but consumers looking for something new won’t find it here. The game’s throwback sound and graphics look fantastic on the PS4 and the Xbox One, but obviously a game built around the 8-bit aesthetic doesn’t benefit from a current-gen remake the way something like The Last of Us or Grand Theft Auto 5 is able to.
Shovel Knight is now available on PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, and Xbox One. Game Rant was provided a PS4 code for this review.