2014 Game of the Year 6: Shovel Knight

2014 was the year for shovelry!

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As more indie developers reach adulthood, games with retro themes and graphics are becoming more commonplace. To call Shovel Knight just another retro throwback would do this game a complete disservice. It's one thing to replicate the look of an old-school game, but it's another to completely capture the atmosphere.

After playing through Shovel Knight, the signs of brilliance were there. The level design was nearly flawless, the 8-bit worlds were captivating, and the challenge was definitely there. Developer Yacht Club Games understood the appeal of a true challenge and Shovel Knight managed to offer it in spades. Jumps were tough as nails, bosses had crazy attack patterns, and many of the obstacles were genuinely clever. The game offers an intense challenge, but it also offers a fair one. While I was ready to toss my controller at the wall at several points, I never felt like Shovel Knight was unfairly designed, especially with a modern checkpoint system. There was a lot of death in Shovel Knight, but there was also persistance. Eventually, there was triumph.

After making it through the story, meeting all of the fun characters, mastering every tricky jump, upgrading the hero's armor and attacks, finding every hidden ability, and even playing with a handful of the cheats, the realization begins to sink in. Shovel Knight is more than a good retro game that would have fit in perfectly with the NES era of cartridges. It's just a fantastic game, period, and one that can stand proudly as one of the best of this year.

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Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
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    December 31, 2014 10:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, 2014 Game of the Year 6: Shovel Knight

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      December 31, 2014 10:01 AM

      Just started playing this one. Great so far.

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        December 31, 2014 10:43 AM

        I have it on the Wiiu, so amazing. I am on the last stage.

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      December 31, 2014 10:28 AM

      For Shovelry!

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      December 31, 2014 10:33 AM

      yessss! i'd say surprisingly good, except i'm not really surprised :)

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      December 31, 2014 11:10 AM

      Shovel Knight is the shit!!!

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      December 31, 2014 1:02 PM

      Currently $5 off on Steam

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      December 31, 2014 1:38 PM

      My GOTY. Totally personal opinion but it made me happier than any other game this year. It doesn't lean on nostalgia or meta humor to carry it, its a legit classic,

      People have forgotten that Yacht Club still has a ton of stretch goal content to implement, that's how good the base game is.

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      December 31, 2014 1:42 PM

      Stop making me look at the steam store!

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      December 31, 2014 1:48 PM

      I'm surprised this wasn't in the chatty top 10. I gave it my vote damn it.

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        December 31, 2014 1:52 PM

        Its a culty niche game that mostly sold on the 3DS and Wii U. It wasn't going to get a lot of votes no matter how good it was.

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