A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shovel Knight is a downloadable game designed to look and feel like a video game from the early 1990s, an era in which gameplay quality and fun were more important than stellar, highly realistic graphics. As in those older games, this title involves an endless cycle of smacking, jumping on, and bouncing off enemy characters. Players wield a sword as they travel through enemy-filled environments, but the simplistic art style makes it very difficult for parents to take issue with this content.
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What's it about?
SHOVEL KNIGHT's story revolves around a hero who must defeat all kinds of enemies to save the girl of his dreams. It's perfectly fine that the story is so predictable, because that's what the game is designed to be. Players will dash through a seemingly endless array of dungeons, mazes, and claustrophobic rooms in which they're trapped with large fantastical creatures. They'll be focused on pressing buttons at the right time, trying not to fall onto a floating block of flames or down a bottomless chasm. The game doesn't take itself too seriously and is in many ways a parody of different franchises from the golden age of cartridge-based video game consoles.
Is it any good?
Shovel Knight will easily strike a nostalgic chord with any gamer who remembers the days before high-definition graphics, surround sound, and cinematic story lines. Younger players may not relate to the dated visuals, but the fun factor, gameplay, and sense of accomplishment after beating a difficult level are timeless qualities for everyone.
What's unique about this game is that it uses several classic gameplay styles. It's not only a 2-D adventure game, run-from-point-A-to-point-B side-scrolling action game, or a mind-bending puzzle-solving game. Instead, it has elements of all these genres wrapped into a nice, cohesive package. Players of any age should be able to appreciate what it has to offer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Shovel Knight's retro style. In this day of high-definition graphics, virtual reality, and motion-based gameplay, why is a game such as this still so appealing?
When you fail to complete a level, do you get upset and frustrated, or do you strive to do better next time?
If you were a video game hero, whom or what would you risk your life to protect at all costs?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.