Shovel Knight from Yacht Club Games is one of the best 2D plaforming games in recent years. So how to do you make something that is already good even better? You give players free downloadable content that changes up the game just enough to feel brand new. Plague of Shadows is a free add-on to the original Shovel Knight that allows you to play as Plague Knight, one of the members of the Order of No Quarter. Content this good makes playing as a bad guy feel satisfyingly fun.
Plague Knight changes up the way you approach obstacles found in Shovel Knight. The story follows Plague Knight as he tries to complete the ultimate potion by gathering samples from members of the Order of No Quarter. Unlike Shovel Knight himself, Plague Knight has an array of moves that are unique to him. Plague Knight has a chargeable double jump and explosive bomb vial attacks that can be upgraded and modified. You can purchase these upgrades in a new underground Town Area exclusive to Plague Knight’s story from his assistant Mona.
Controlling Plague Knight can at times be a little bit frustrating, but not so much to make the experience bad. Jumps that were easy when playing as Shovel Knight now require a little more thought. The jump arc for Plague Knight’s charge jump is faster and different, which can cause some useless deaths while you traverse areas.
If you take a careful approach however, rather than trying to rush through, you will have an easier time getting through each level. Plague Knight’s ranged attacks are very helpful in areas with a lot of enemies guarding platforms. The range of his bomb vials can clear far areas with enemies you must carefully navigate through. Taking a moment to analyze your surroundings definitely makes a huge difference.
Most of the level design and boss fights are the same from the original game. Minor changes to the dialogue and new collectibles can be found throughout areas to compensate for Plague Knight’s abilities. But you won’t find a lot of drastic changes in Plague of Shadows. Boss fights against the other members of the Order of No Quarter still have the same patterns that you must work around, but with Plague Knight this time.
There are some extra trophies/achievements that are specific to Plague Knight, but they only really involve completing game and finishing the story. Nothing more, nothing less. This is still the Shovel Knight game you remember, only now with a little something extra added to the mix.
Shovel Knight was already a solid game with plenty of great content. If you were a fan of the game before, you will enjoy playing through again as Plague Knight. The new abilities and extra story are worth checking out even if you thought you were finished with Shovel Knight. It is disappointing however that you won’t be able to use Plague Knight in any of the platform exclusive boss fights with Kratos or the Battletoads. But this isn’t a huge detriment to what you will find in this new add-on.
This free download is definitely worth getting on all of your consoles. If you haven’t already, go download Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows right now on every platform the game is available on. You’ll be very happy that you did.
This review was based on a purchased digital copy of Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.