→ Daniel Kerber (LOCAP)
If you’ve been following the indie scene, you’ve most likely heard of the Kickstarter success, Shovel Knight. The game released a little over a year ago with a full fledged campaign featuring Shovel Knight, a knight who fights with a shovel. It sounds weird, but the game is virtually flawless. Due to the success of their Kickstarter, Yacht Club Games promised three more campaigns featuring three of the boss knights as playable characters. The first expansion is finally here, featuring Plague Knight.
First thing I should note, is that this expansion is 100% free and is included with the purchase of Shovel Knight. However, you can’t play as Plague Knight right off the bat. You have to either beat Shovel Knight’s campaign (which is highly recommended) or use this cheat code. (Note: make sure to update Shovel Knight first, or you won’t be able to play it!)
As soon as you start up Plague of Shadows, you realize Yacht Club didn’t decide to just add a new character. In fact, Plague Knight has his own story, revolving around his quest to defeat the Order of No Quarter and get their essences to create the ultimate potion. It may sound like a simple plot, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. Without spoiling too much here, I’ll say that the story is amazing.
When playing as Plague Knight, you’ll notice some differences. First, he doesn’t have a shovel. He throws potions to attack. These potions can be changed with different casing to alter how they’re thrown, different powders to change the effects, and different fuses to change when they explode. Being able to switch potions whenever you want is extremely handy, and there is virtually an infinite number of combinations, so you’re sure to find one that fits your play style. Second, Plague Knight can’t really jump very high. Like, at all. He has a double jump, but it’s pretty short. This is where the bomb burst comes in. By holding the attack button, you can charge a burst. Once you let go, Plague Knight will rocket off into the air. You can use this to cross extremely large gaps that even Shovel Knight couldn’t. You can combine this with your double jump to go extremely far, and when you throw potions in the air, Plague Knight will hover briefly. Courtesy of Yacht Club Games, here’s a GIF showing just how much you can do with these bombs. I managed to pull off something similar to this, and it’s SO satisfying.
On top of Plague Knight’s new moves, there’s a new collectible: Cipher Coins. Collecting these allows you to unlock numerous upgrades for your bombs. There’s 30 per level, and there is a reward for getting all of them, so I absolutely recommend you hunt them down. There are a few other secrets and surprises too, so definitely go for that 100%.
I’ve said a lot of good about the game, but it isn’t flawless. With Shovel Knight, I felt like every death was my fault, and the platforming was clean and managable. With Plague Knight, I had more cheap deaths than I would have liked. Plague Knight takes significantly more knockback when hit than Shovel Knight, which can send you to your doom if not used properly. This doesn’t happen TOO much, and if you’re fast, you can usually save yourself with a bomb burst, but it’s a little annoying. Still, Plague of Shadows is fantastic, and yet another reason to buy Shovel Knight. Yacht Club Games could’ve gone and charged 15 more dollars for this game, and you know what? I would’ve still bought it anyways.