Shovel Knight has Pretty Much Become Indie Gaming's Mascot and That's Okay
Since the release of Shovel Knight, the character has become somewhat of a mascot of indie gaming. There has been numerous cameos of the character in a variety of games. Whenever a Shovel Knight cameo is announced there is massive hype for the characters appearance. Over the past two years, the knight has stood for the best of indie gaming and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Where it all began
The popularity of the character began with the release of the side-scrolling platform game Shovel Knight on June 26th, 2014. The game was developed and published by Yacht Club Games. It initially released on PC, 3DS, and the Wii U. Due to the game's success, it was later released on PS3, PS4, PSVita, Xbox One, Mac, Linux and Amazon Fire TV.
The game uses 8-bit graphics that are reminiscent the NES era of gaming. You take on the role of the Shovel Knight, who lost his beloved Shield Knight after being cursed by an amulet. The former Shield Knight becomes the Enchantress and raises to power, spreading evil across the land.
Shovel Knight, returns out of exile to face off against the Enchantress and hopefully turn her back into Shield Knight. You must travel to the Tower of Fate while facing off against crazy enemies and upgrade your shovel and armour. The game was met with critical acclaim, with reviews averaging at 85%.
As of April 2016, the game has sold over 1.2 million copies. The game is immensely popular, and the fans all came to love the character of Shovel Knight from their adventures playing as him. It was the beginning of what would create him to be the mascot of indie gaming.
Becoming a mascot
With the popularity of the game and its protagonist, it wasn't long before other indie developers wanted to have Shovel Knight featured in their games. Already he has appeared in two games.
The first being Runbow a platform racing game for the Wii U. The second game being Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, an action-platform game where he appears as a secret boss when using the Shovel Knight Amiibo.
He is also set to appear in five upcoming games. Hex Heroes, a party real-time strategy game, racing game Road Redemption, action RPG Indivisible, 3D platform adventure Yooka-Laylee and finally the Metroidvania title Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
The ever popular knight also had a cameo appearance in Sun Creature Studios' animated series The Reward: Tales of Alethrion. There are few video game characters that have had anything close to the number of cameos that Shovel Knight has. Making him one of the most popular video game characters ever -- he might even become as iconic as Mario or Sonic are today.
What is so appealing about the game?
Before Shovel Knight was even released, many fans who grew up with the platforming genre were longing for its return. After the 90s, the 2D platforming genre slowly began to die off in favour of 3D.
The design of cartoon-like characters was forgotten due to graphical technology slowly allowing for more realism with each passing year. Developers began focusing on more action orientated games, with characters that resemble real life people.
It left gamers with nothing but memories of the 'good old days.' Shovel Knight brought back the classic character design, with cartoon-like characters that are full of colour, but most of all humour. It is a game that not only looks like the games of old, but plays like them too.
It was created by a fan for the fans. It is what many gamers had long waited to see released. For those who owned an NES system, it was the nostalgia trip of a lifetime. For those who didn't, there were enough modern touches to make the game so appealing -- Shovel Knight doesn't play exactly like the classic 2D platformers, it plays exactly how you remember those classic 2D platformers.
With a loveable character, a classic story with a twist, infectious music, beautiful retro graphics, great gameplay and simply a great experience, there is nothing to dislike about the game. It is something that any gamer can pick up and enjoy.
Shovel Knight is a hero
Shovel Knight is a game that has revived a genre that had been lacking for so many years. Not only that, but it stands out as a beacon telling you, "everyone with the passion and determination can go out there and make a great game." It is a game that told the industry it was wrong.
The industry was wrong in believing that people only wanted better graphics and realistic gaming. It was wrong in believing that the platforming genre is dead. Shovel Knight told the industry, that there is always a place for such games to exist, and that plenty of gamers out there still want them.
The character of Shovel Knight is about being more than just a hero in the story of the game, he is a hero to gamers too. He brought back the love of the 8-bit platformers, and that has given him the imminence popularity. It earned him the badge of hero in-game and out.