Shovel Knight Dig (PC)

It’s finally time to return to one of my favourite franchises. Shovel Knight Dig is the newest adventure in the franchise, and as per each and every adventure in the series, it’s got a new spin on it. We’re going rogue-like to put it lightly. Let’s give it a run.

Shovel Knight Dig is a Rogue-like vertical adventure title, sounds weird right? Think of the Mario 2 levels inside the pyramid where you’d have to dig down to get to the bottom, then mix in a nice chunk of Spelunky, with the fond visuals of Shovel Knight and you’re pretty much there.

Being a Rogue-like, each run is unique. Going through the same zones but every time the layout, enemies and pick ups are all random This always gives something fresh to each run you do, giving you some well deserved replay value. For the first time Shovel Knight incorporates this into the series and it’s welcomed, not to say the previous instalments felt stale but it’s always good to mix it up.

With it being called Dig, Shovel Knight has his trusty shovel to help him get through these areas, we have a maybe a slightly unbalanced mix of challenging platforming areas (Lots of spikes, moving platforms, attacking drill bits) and a little less of what your shovel is meant to be used for, digging. Areas of mining are pretty infrequent and usually have you escaping from something (again usually an enemy or drill bit). Though we do get some clever segments where your skills in both will be required, again these can be a little less common than your normal platforming bits though, obviously depends on what your run is presented with.

One of the weaker sides of the game is the loot, as expected with other Rogue-likes, a good amount of gear is available to tailor your game, or just to pick up as much random stuff as you can to help you through. I feel here Dig is somewhat lacking in a huge array of items, even if a boss is able to give you specific items ala Megaman, I think this might expand the experience somewhat, whereas it feels a bit bare bones on launch.

Compared to other games of the same ilk, Dig is probably only the shorter side. Better players will be short work of it and potentially won’t go back to it. The story unfortunately doesn’t really lend itself to multiple playthroughs like Hades does, luckily for me, being pretty bad at games I’ve managed to plod through this at my own leisurely pace, dying and getting sent right back to the beginning many, many times.

The visual style lends itself to the style of gameplay too, the levels are vibrant and exciting, with each world having a great look, with loads of detail and animation going on around you. There’s some crazy subtle but excellent looking parallax scrolling in the backgrounds too, it’s simple but a really nice effect. Some old returning enemies and a good deal of new too, the Hexcavators look great, especially Drill Knight. Again a great amount of detail and love has gone into these, the guys at Nitrome and Yacht Club Games have a huge amount of love for the world and it’s shines through.

Dig isn’t the next instalment to the Shovel Knight franchise we’ve been waiting for. But those who enjoy the games and do like Rogue-like’s in general will get a good few hours out of it.



Decent stop gap for something meatier

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