Developed and Published by Yacht club games, this is a collection the main Shovel Knight game and 3 other parallel versions of the game played as different characters. There is also an extra showdown version of the game which plays like Smash Bros. in a single screen battle royal. From what I can make of the story, the Shovel Knight was one of many legendary heroes alongside his companion Shield Knight. But then at the Tower of Fate, their travels ended, and a cursed amulet brought about evil. When Shovel Knight woke, he was alone as Shield Knight had disappeared. The Shovel Knight without his companion sought solitude until the evil enchantress forced him to come back as the legendary hero he once was. The other 3 parallel versions allow you to play at the Plague Knight, Spectre Knight and the King Knight each with their own powers and story.
If you haven’t played the original Shovel Knight, then allow me to give you a basic rundown. The game is an 8-bit side-scrolling platformer. The graphics, although 8-bit, have an interesting charm to them, as do the enemy sprites. The platforming element is fairly balanced and not too tough, and the enemies are not too tricky. You have enough life points to make it through the first levels and you can upgrade your life points with the gold and jewels you collect through the levels. You start off with 2 different types of attack; the standard swipe with the shovel and if you jump and hold down you do a shovel pogo attack. The pogo attack is useful to bounce up to higher places where there might be some better loot, so it’s useful to get used to that attack early on. It also comes in very handy in boss fights,as you can get a good advantage by pogo attacking them. As you progress through the stage you will gain jewels/gold by breaking blocks, killing enemies, digging piles of rocks and hitting hidden caves in the walls.
The loot you collect becomes very valuable early on as you purchase upgrades to take on the rest for the campaign. As I mentioned before, you can upgrade your hit points – a must to get through some of the trickier levels and bosses. But when you find artefacts that allow you to do a magic attack, you can also purchase upgrades to your magic storage to allow you to perform more magical attacks. There are also upgrades to your armour and shovel which give you extra skills like performing a stronger shovel strike attack and losing less money if you die on a stage. Yes, that’s right when you die in a stage, instead of a game over, you lose a chunk of your money with a chance of redemption. By that I mean 3 flying bags of money will appear at the place you perished and so you get the chance to collect the money back. However, if you die before you collect the money then it is lost, and more money bags generate at the newer placed you perished. Fortunately, there are checkpoints on the stage so you don’t always have to go back to the beginning should you fail on a stage. But in an act of cockiness, you can break the checkpoint glass for more money, though that means you cannot go back to that checkpoint should you fall.
But usually, at the end of the level, you will fight one of the many Knights who are the bosses of the level and you’ll have to use all your skills to beat them. The other 3 games which are parallel to these operate in a very similar way with it being a side-scrolling platform game where you collect money for upgrades as you progress. The differences being the story that goes along with the other Knight you have chosen and the attacks the different Knights have. They each also have certain skills and magic attacks which need to be mastered as they are required as part of the platforming element, so there is enough difference in each of the 4 parallel universes to make you feel like you are playing something different and not the same game with a different costume.
As I mentioned before the other stories involve the Plague, Spectre and King Knight respectively. The King of Cards story being a late addition where you play as the King Knight who wants to be the King of the Cards as in the card joust mini game. This addictive mini game has a set number of squares and each player has set of cards with which to duel. You use your cards to push and block the enemy and try to end the game with your cards on the jewel square. Victory means you get to take a card off of the enemy. Later on, there are bigger gaming squares that have more blocks with gems on. If at the end of the game all of your characters are on the gem squares then you get to pick 3 cards from the enemy. You will need the better cards to be able to take on the trickier enemies. But don’t worry, although the Joust card game plays a major part of that story line there is still plenty of platforming fun to be had.
The Showdown game option is a nice addition to the collection. As I mentioned earlier it does play like a Smash Bros. battle game with different options of how to win the game. For example, first to 5 diamonds or you only have 3 lives each and it’s last man standing. This allows you and 3 others locally to play a battle royal of your choice where you can select to play as one of the many Knights. If you don’t have any local buddies, then not to worry – it also has a story mode where you have a progression line of challenges where you can fight one or many computer characters until you reach the final boss and play the final stage of the Showdown.
Shovel Knight Treasure Trove is a great collection of games, each of them enjoyable in their own way. The character designs are fun and there is enough variety in characters, enemies and attacks to keep things interesting. The games are almost easy enough for the more casual players to progress, yet there is enough challenge to keep the hardcore players busy too.