Top 100 Games of All-Time: #84

Shovel Knight

Release Date: June 26, 2014

Platform Played On: 3DS

2018 Placement: #68 (-16)


What It Is:

Shovel Knight is the sensation of the 2010s. He’s a charming, bright blue knight that digs and digs and digs until he finds your heart and steals it away. Appearing as a guest in numerous other indie games (and as an assist trophy in Smash, for chrissake’s) Shovel Knight was the best thing since GFuel came up with gamer bread.

Oh, and I guess there was a game around him too.

Okay, I kid because I love. Shovel Knight is a fantastic game that plays very similar to old-school platformers and is a love letter to the genre. The mechanics are tight, the stages are creative, and the boss knights are so well designed they feel like missing Mega Man bosses. And not only is the base game fantastic, Yacht Club Games releases THREE more campaigns using three of the boss knights that are JUST as fantastic as the base game. And I also must inform you the music is awesome.

Why It’s Important To Me:

Of all the video games I’ve kickstarted, Shovel Knight is the only one where I feel like I got my money’s worth (sad but true – we don’t talk about Mighty No. 9 here – I have high hopes for Sea of Stars, though). I love the game so much that after all the extras were released I actually bought the full set of games again on the Switch just to support Yacht Club Games.

It was a nostalgia-induced fun-filled romp back in 2014 when the Kickstarter highs were still high. Yacht Club Games promised all sorts of extra rewards because of stretch goals and delivered on every one of them (even if it took them an extra five years of working on the same game). They even created a card mini-game just for the third expansion, King of Cards! And it was fun! I love this game and everything it represents: developers making a game for fans and then delivering everything they promised with the utmost quality.

My Strongest Memory:

The opening level. You drop into the intro stage, before you even get to choose a boss to go after – just like Mega Man X. And the first notes of Strike the Earth! start playing and I’m already sold on the game. I’m fucking off on an adventure and having the time of my life within 15 seconds of music. Like, just listen to the first 15 seconds. ARE YOU NOT PUMPED UP? ARE YOU READY TO FUCKING HIT THINGS WITH A SHOVEL? HELL YEAH LET’S GO.

I’ll add honorable mentions to all the added campaigns. Each of the three boss knight campaigns gives personality to their boss knights that are very memorable – especially Plague Knight who is just the cutest little dude in the history of pixelated dudes. Every time I look at just how much YCG accomplished with this game I’m amazed. What a talented crew, I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Why It’s #84:

Why IS this game #84? What could possibly be better than it? Hold on, let me check my list. Oh. Oh right, those games. Yeah, okay, I get it.

Look, Shovel Knight is a top-tier video game. But let’s face it, I have great taste and there are even more awesome games out there. If I’d just gotten off a playthrough of this I’d probably rank it higher to be honest. It’s another game that will always hang out in the top 100 even if its place wavers back and forth.