The Kickstarter page, aiming to collect $75,000 in crowdsourced fundraising, seems rather ambitious in its scope. “A groundbreaking love letter to 8 bits,” it describes, cleverly using a pun as well. “A sweeping classic action adventure game with awesome gameplay, memorable characters, and an 8-bit retro aesthetic,” it reads, describing the new game Shovel Knight, which humorously stars a literal knight who uses a shovel rather than a sword.
When the pitch goes on to say that Shovel Knight may remind gamers of “Mega Man, Castlevania, or Dark Souls,” it would sound absurd; that is, if it were not for the slick preview video already online, uploaded to YouTube last week. The pixel graphics, animation style, general theme, and even the level design all reek of classic gaming influence.
The titular Shovel wielded by the Knight is quite a remarkable multi-purpose tool. In the demo video, although the game is still in development, the protagonist can be seen using the shovel to dig through the ground, deflect enemy spells, bounce off of armored enemies to achieve higher jumps, and swung viciously at foes in order to slay them via the proper application of blunt force trauma.
Only a few days into its fundraising efforts, the game is already a third of the way toward its goal. On track to succeed, Shovel Knight looks like a solid concept being treated with proper diligence to produce a wonderful game that just so happens to have a heavy retro gaming influence. The project is by Yacht Club Games (on Twitter @YachtClubGames), and a donation of just $10 earns a digital copy of the release when it is finished.
Eric Bailey blogs at NintendoLegend.com, where he is reviewing every American-released NES video game. He also serves as Editor-In-Chief of retro gaming features site 1MoreCastle.com, and can be followed on Twitter @Nintendo_Legend.