Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon (REVIEW)

Dec 13, 2021

Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon Nintendo Switch (REVIEW)
Developed by VINE/Yacht Club Games
Published by Yacht Club Games

The ever-popular Shovel Knight has found his way into a dungeon crawler puzzle game this time around. You make your way through 10 levels of maneuvering through obstacles and enemies. The game features many heroes from the Shovel Knight universe, with unique powers and strategies. 

You start the game by being transported to a mysterious world where the Puzzle Knight greets you. After getting basic instructions, you are off to solve the puzzles and figure out why you are trapped there. 

The gameplay is pretty simple after the first few rounds. The first time you play, it is a bit of a learning curve as you figure out the mechanics. You move around the board and attack enemies by bumping into them and dealing damage. Any special weapons, power-ups, or abilities determine the amount of damage. While you attack, the enemies also deal damage back. 

shovel, knight

To beat a level, you must survive descending enemies and obstacles while collecting keys to open chests and doorways. While avoiding the oncoming mayhem, you must also strategically stack enemies to deal chain damage to them to clear more areas. If you trap yourself and there are no potions or a way out, you die. 

After you defeat a level, some have an extra boss stage, where if you defeat them, they join your camp. You can unlock 12 other playable Knights with their unique abilities. Each Knight can be selected when starting a new round in the camp area. 

The Knights are not the only familiar aspect of the game, as the levels and enemies are based on previous ones. Playing through each level gives fans a treat to see familiar foes and locations again. Each foe has similar powers as their original counterparts. 

Impression on Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon

After playing a few rounds, the game develops a rhythm. It does get boring after you figure out the enemies and the easiest way to defeat the levels. Thankfully this is countered by the minigames and other Knights. 

As the game levels slightly change throughout each playthrough, changing your Knight gives the level the needed variety. The Treasure Knight, for example, deals more damage attacking from the bottom, and the Specter Knight gets hurt by potions. Also, playing more rounds unlocks more Knights to use. The Black Knight is one of the hardest Knight to play as. 

The versus mode is fun and similar to Tetris. The more chains you build up, the more obstacles get dropped on your opponent. You can play either local play on the Switch or with a CPU. Including an online option would have been fun to expand the range of players. The rules for verses should be more straightforward, but it doesn’t distract any more after a few rounds.

The beauty of the game is the number of secrets to unlock. One of those secrets involves the Puzzle Knight and collecting fragments. The more you play, the more quests and adventures you can unlock.

The game does have its faults and especially the default for lives. After rage quitting a few times in the first level, I stumbled upon the main settings, which allowed me to change the number of lives per turn. The mechanics and gameplay take a bit to understand, especially for those unfamiliar with Shovel Knight. 

Final Thoughts on Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon. 

Overall, I enjoyed Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon and how simple the game is. The difficulty is set to hard as the default starts you in the deep end. It was easy to get frustrated without a tutorial or visible tips. Thankfully playing around with the settings made the game a much better experience. 

Its faults are minor and trivial as it combines a few game styles into one. Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon has a good replay value, and I keep picking it up to see what else can be unlocked. The main story is short, which allows you to use other Knights and as a result, you play multiple times without feeling endless. 

Score: 8.5

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