July 29, 2014
Nintendo 3DS, PC, Wii U
3 out of 4 stars
Though shovels seem more suited for digging holes than battling evil, that doesn't stop the title character of this nostalgia-infused indie game. Shovel Knight uses his mighty home improvement tool to bash bad guys and as an ingenious way to jump off their heads like a pogo stick. It's a new kind of weapon tied to a game that harkens back to its 1987-era influences, with 8-bit-style graphics and side-scrolling action that blends "Super Mario 3," the "Mega Man" series and other NES classics. Likewise, it also features those games' considerable charms and a few nagging weaknesses.
Ryan Smith is a RedEye special contributor.