One Knight, Two Knight, Three Knight, Four Knight…

One of the greater questions posed by Shovel Knight is, how far can you truly go with a Shovel as your trusted weapon? Putting aside game mechanics and a simple item animation swap, the shovel is what keeps this fantasy world from collapsing. The thought of a knight in shiny metal armor rescuing a fair maiden […]

One of the greater questions posed by Shovel Knight is, how far can you truly go with a Shovel as your trusted weapon? Putting aside game mechanics and a simple item animation swap, the shovel is what keeps this fantasy world from collapsing. The thought of a knight in shiny metal armor rescuing a fair maiden is a commonly reused medieval trope. This game challenges this trope by really pushing a duo rather than woman needing assistance. What is more interesting is that we never see Shovel Knight’s true identity, his armor is dull and not in a shiny metallic color and he is not revered by mostly everyone. He is just a common warrior with a shovel looking for his love interest.

Spoilers

Spoilers

When Shield Knight is finally revealed she comes to the aid of Shovel Knight. The battle with The Enchantress requires synchronization with Shield Knight’s attack pattern which is not as easy as it seemed. Shield Knight turns out to not be a damsel in distress but rather a lost comrade who is really powerful and ends up saving Shovel Knight? (the ending is rather confusing).

This fantasy world is heavily built on medievalism. The Village and the various domains that are inhabited by the Order of No Quarter are all created with bricks and straw and even the mechanical “Clockwork Tower” is perfect for the technology of that time. Actually, flying ships and large robots are not technology of the medieval era, but combined with potions, dragons and magic they are all part of medieval fantasy. Ursula LeGuin writes fantasy is “a game played for very high stakes…an alternative technique for apprehending and coping with existence… surrealistic…a heightening of reality…nearer to mysticism…and those who go there should not feel too safe.” [1] The amount of deaths that were tallied up in the gameplay were high due to the uniqueness of the game’s enemies and mechanics. The constant use of ominous sequences, mystic and dreamy environments, and key soundtrack, ultimately secured the rare quality of reimagining the medieval fantasy world.  

1. David M. Sandner, Fantastic Literature: A Critical Reader (Praeger: Santa Barbara, 2004), 145.