Shovel Knight Dig review for Nintendo Switch, PC, and iOS

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PC, iOS
Publisher: Yacht Club Games
Developer: Nitrome / Yacht Club Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards
ESRB: E10+

Shovel Knight Dig is the newest game in the Shovel Knight universe from developer/publisher Yacht Club Games, with this entry being crafted in conjunction with developer Nitrome. Eschewing the sort of 8-bit art style of the original Shovel Knight adventure, Shovel Knight Dig spruces up the presentation quite a bit, with bright, colorful pixels, amazing animation work, and a fantastic soundtrack. It?s a pretty noticeable difference from the first Shovel Knight, while still maintaining the general aesthetic and quirky characters of the original game. Shovel Knight Dig is a really solid follow-up, and one that I?ve really enjoyed playing through over the past weekend. 

As the title of the game suggests, Shovel Knight Dig is less of a traditional platformer and instead is more focused on progressing downwards, digging through dirt and exploring randomly generated stages as you attempt to retrieve your stolen loot from the dastardly Drill Knight. Control-wise it still feels pretty reminiscent of the original Shovel Knight, with the ability to swing your shovel to hit enemies or use it to bounce off their heads (along with other objects) in a sort of pogo jump maneuver that feels kinda similar to the original NES Ducktales. As you make your way through the stages you?ll gain access to various upgrades, both permanent and temporary, along with secondary weapons, the occasional pet, and you?ll encounter a number of helpful NPC?s along the way. 

Shovel Knight Dig is also very much in the roguelite genre, meaning you?ll likely not complete the game in one sitting, and are instead meant to replay it over and over again to gain incremental upgrades to make each subsequent run a little easier. There?s also just a bit of luck involved, as the types of relics or upgrades you find in each run are randomized, as are the level layouts. Upon completion of a stage, you?ll also usually be given a fork-in-the-road style option, allowing you to pick your path a bit as you progress. You?ll also encounter helpful signs at this point that can give you an idea of what rewards or dangers might be faced depending on the route you choose. 

Also, in a similar fashion to other roguelites, completing Shovel Knight Dig isn?t necessarily the end of the game. There?s plenty of things to do, secrets to uncover, and lots of little things tucked away that aren?t super obvious at first. It doesn?t take a long time to see the end credits roll, about 6 hours for my first completion, but again there?s more to see and do beyond that point. 

I?ve really enjoyed my time with Shovel Knight Dig, and it?s a fantastic follow-up to the first Shovel Knight adventure. Everything comes together so well here, and it feels so great to play, that you?ll have a tough time putting this one down. Ideally we?ll see the game support more platforms down the road, but for now if you?ve got access to a PC, Switch, or iOS platform, then I?d highly suggest checking it out. 

Note: Yacht Club Games provided us with a Shovel Knight Dig Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A