Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon Review: More Than Your Average Puzzler

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Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon is the next installment in the Shovel Knight universe from developers Vine and Yacht Club Games. While the beloved blue knight is usually associated with platforming, this time around is a little different. Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon is a mashup of falling puzzle block games—like Tetris and Dr. Mario—with action-packed dungeon crawler elements. Let’s dig in.

Get ready to uncover the many secrets of Pocket Dungeon.

Shovel Knight is transported into a strange new dimension called the Pocket Dungeon after opening a puzzle box that traps anyone who opens it. After meeting Chester and Puzzle Knight, Shovel Knight learns he is not the only victim of the mysterious puzzle box and embarks on an adventure to explore his new environment. You’ll encounter both new and familiar faces as you progress through a story that brings all the humor and twists the Shovel Knight franchise is known for.

Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon features some familiar faces, along with some fresh ones.

So how does Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon work? The basic idea is to guide your character through a puzzle board filled with falling enemies and objects. Your goal is to bump into enemies to attack and trade damage. Eliminating a certain number of enemies will spawn an exit point that allows you to move onto the next level. During combat you can clear groups of like enemies when they are touching. This process of “chaining” enemy kills is the key to quickly clearing the board while gaining as many gems as possible. Along with enemies, the board will also drop chests, portals to special areas, and upgrades that give an edge in battle.

Once you understand all of the aspects, the gameplay flow is so addictive and just plain fun.

You may struggle at first to understand how to approach each situation Pocket Dungeon presents to you, but after a handful of runs, things will definitely start to click. It’s really refreshing to discover all the depth and little nuances the gameplay has to deliver. Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon also allows the player to choose how they want to play. You can change so many aspects of the difficulty, which is always a great addition to difficult games. No matter what kind of gamer you are, Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon has a mode that would be approachable and fun.

Boss fights are tense! Stay calm and concentrate.

Shovel Knight is known for its hi-bit, razor sharp pixel art and Pocket Dungeon is no exception. Everything is gorgeous and polished—from the backdrop of the puzzle boards and the cute, blocky character and enemy sprites. It’s evident the developers put so much love into every aspect of this game. This rings especially true with the soundtrack. Every track is extremely catchy and you’re sure to find a few favorites to blast, even when you’re not playing the game.

Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon’s overworld art is so vibrant and gorgeous.

We’re happy to report Shovel Knight runs and looks fantastic on Switch. Plus, The Switch port features an exclusive bonus not found in other consoles: amiibo compatibility! Scan any of the four Shovel Knight amiibo (amiibo from other games are incompatible) in to obtain a special fairy character of the scanned amiibo. We didn’t find any key differences between the four fairy characters. We scanned and tested each Shovel Knight amiibo and they all seem to behave the same within game. For instance, when an amiibo fairy joins you in the game, the fairy will fly around and gravitate toward keys, chests, and other upgrades that provide a bit of an edge in battle. The fairy is a cool addition and may help grab player’s attention towards important pickups during the frantic gameplay. Even though it’s a minor addition, we love seeing amiibo compatibility in any game these days.

We love to see amiibo compatibility present in new games!

Whether you are a fan of Shovel Knight or this is your first adventure, Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon is worth every cent. The custom difficulty options make it a game accessible to every kind of gamer, which is extremely important—we really appreciate the dev’s inclusion of all players. Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon has so much depth and variety built into its gameplay, tons of unlockable characters, and different modes like Daily Run and Versus to keep you playing for dozens if not hundreds of hours. For Shovelry!

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Yacht Club Games
Developer – Vine
Genre – Indie, Puzzle, Action, Adventure, Multiplayer
Price – $19.99
Size – 338 MB

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