Shovel Knight: King of Cards & Showdown Review

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After years of development, the final wave of Shovel Knight DLC is here, and it’s free to download if you already own Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. This DLC includes the King of Cards campaign and Shovel Knight Showdown, a 2D multiplayer brawler similar to Super Smash Bros. (If you don’t already own Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, you could purchase King of Cards and/or Showdown as standalone games for $9.99 each, but you might as well just purchase Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove on the Nintendo eShop to gain access to all things Shovel Knight.)

King of Cards and Showdown are part of the final wave of Shovel Knight DLC.
King of Cards and Showdown are both included in this final wave of Shovel Knight DLC.

King Of Cards

Shovel Knight: King of Cards is a new campaign featuring platforming challenges and a card mini-game. You’ll play as King Knight, whose goal is to become the best Joustus player in all the land. His movement mechanics are focused on forward dashes. As you learn these mechanics, you’ll find that spacing is important to successful dashing, and you’ll discover that spin jumping is possible when dashing into enemies and walls. King of Cards’ level design is conducive to learning these new mechanics, and players will appreciate the way difficulty is scaled with progression.

Shortly into the campaign, you’ll learn about Joustus, the new card mini-game. At first, you might feel a bit overwhelmed, but if you commit to learning the basics, you’ll understand it in no time. A tutorial explains that your goal is to make your own cards occupy the gem-studded spaces by pushing the cards around the board. Each card can be pushed in the direction(s) of the arrow(s) printed on the card. Despite the tutorial, your skills will come from playing this neat little card game and gradually learning its intricacies. (And remember that it’s a mini-game, so platforming is still the main focus of this campaign.)

Joustus is a mini-game featured in the King of Cards campaign.
Joustus is a mini-game featured in the King of Cards campaign.

Shovel Knight Showdown

Shovel Knight Showdown is a brand-new 2D fighting game (a la Smash Bros.) featuring 16+ characters from the Shovel Knight universe, including never-before-playable characters like Black Knight, Shield Knight, and The Enchantress. Shovel Knight Showdown features both Battle and Story Modes. Story Mode is available in 3 levels of difficulty, and you can play to unlock characters, costumes, and more. Battle Mode accommodates up to 4 players, so you can play alone, with friends (via local multiplayer), or with CPUs. Whether playing alone or with friends, Showdown is a blast. The characters and stages are balanced, the artwork and soundtrack are flawless, and the gameplay is just plain fun. There are tons of unlockables, and replayability is virtually infinite. Each of the characters has their own ins and outs to master, so there’s enough content here to keep you busy for quite a while.

Playable characters are taken from the Shovel Knight universe, and many of them are now playable for the first time ever!
Playable characters are taken from the Shovel Knight universe, and many of them are now playable for the first time ever!

Conclusion

It’s bittersweet to say that the Shovel Knight saga seems to have come to an end, but this last round of DLC is the best possible send-off for this franchise. The art style is incredible, the music is superb, and the controls couldn’t be any better. If you’re already a Shovel Knight fan, you should definitely update your game to access your DLC, but if you’re new to the franchise, we recommend buying Treasure Trove so that you can enjoy every bit of polished platforming that Shovel Knight has to offer. Shovel Knight was already the quintessential modern 8-bit platforming experience, and this new DLC only makes the franchise even better.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (All DLC)
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Yacht Club Games
Publisher – Yacht Club Games
Price – $39.99 / Physical – $39.99
Genre –Action, Adventure, Platformer
Size – 188 MB

Shovel Knight: King of Cards
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Yacht Club Games
Publisher – Yacht Club Games
Price –$9.99
Genre –Action, Adventure, Platformer
Size – 200 MB

Shovel Knight Showdown
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Developer – Yacht Club Games
Publisher – Yacht Club Games
Price –$9.99
Genre –Action, Fighting, Multiplayer, Platformer
Size – 189 MB

If you already own this game, update it now. If you don't own any Shovel Knight titles, download Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove ASAP.

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