A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Shovel Knight Dig is a light fantasy action game that doesn't have any messages for players.
Positive Role Models
You don't learn much about Shovel Knight, but it's assumed he's an admirable hero since he's defending the land from the malevolent Drill Knight.
While you never see his face, you play mostly as the Shovel Knight. Like other games in the franchise -- including 2014's Shovel Knight and 2017's Shovel Knight Treasure Trove -- you can play as other personas, too. There are male and female characters, in various skin tones, and non-human characters, too.
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Ease of Play
The Apple Arcade version of Shovel Knight Dig can be played with your fingertips on the touchscreen display (iPhone, iPad platforms) or with a wireless controller (mandatory for the Apple TV and Mac versions). While easy to control, the game can get quite challenging.
Violence & Scariness
Not bloody or gory, but Shovel Knight Dig includes plenty of arcade-like combat against enemies, such as jumping on their heads, hacking and slashing the shovel to destroy baddies, and causing explosions, too. The 2D pixelated graphics are not realistic.
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Products & Purchases
The game is part of Apple's $4.99/month Apple Arcade subscription service (or $20 for the Nintendo Switch and Windows versions). Developer Yacht Club Games says they're offering free DLC (downloadable content), which is in the works. It's also a new chapter in the Shovel Knight franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Shovel Knight Dig is a downloadable arcade game for Apple Arcade, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC. This is the latest chapter in the Shovel Knight franchise, which has often featured characters from other games as playable heroes. The story is about a knight who has a magic shovel, which can be used as a weapon to face off against evil creatures, like skeletons, giant flying eyeballs, and deadly machines. There's infrequent and mild cartoon fantasy violence, but it's not gory or graphic. There's also been an announcement of future downloadable content (DLC) added to the game at some point. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content included.
Is It Any Good?
For the most part, this is a fun, fast, and frantic arcade game for fans of these games, but it gets old pretty fast. It's a good time -- including its quirky "retro" presentation -- but Shovel Knight Dig might not hold you as long as other games in the Apple Arcade line-up, in part because of the repetitive actions throughout the various worlds (even with procedurally generated levels). Like its predecessors, Shovel Knight Dig can be pretty challenging, which is a good thing, but not so difficult that you want to give up altogether. You'll need to study the environment, quickly make decisions on the fly, look for secret passages, and face off against bosses. Seriously, it's fun to evade giant claws on the end of chains from nasty crustacean hybrid creature, hop on mice (who fly using propellers) and purple-headed robotic snakes. And instead of a traditional left-to-right side-scroller, it's refreshing to dig from the top-down.
The humor and kitschy art style are also worth calling out -- capped with a great 16-bit-esque soundtrack. You can spend your hard-earned loot on relics and accessories to customize your Knight, tickets to portal ahead, special armor, and more. But the single-player excitement starts to wane an hour or two in. You can't move up, and you could face one-hit death with an unexpected attack. Jumping on enemies and looking for gems to collect can get a little tiring after a while. As a result, Shovel Knight Dig is a good but not great platformer with role-playing elements -- that pushes your wits and reflexes (and sometimes, patience) as you descend to its depths.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.