Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

Shovel Knight Specter Editorial 1

I know I’ve been talking about just really good things lately. I promise I’ll find some Internet Garbage to talk about soon. I’m working on it. In the meantime, Shovel Knight is amazing. It’s everything that’s good from the 80s/90s platformers, in that same visual style, but with modern controls [RE: Not terrible]. However, I’m pretty bad at regular ol’ Shovel Knight. I get greedy, die, and quietly fume. The Bottom Tier livestream from Wednesday can attest to that. While Kristine Kasuka played Persona 5, in the background I played Shovel Knight and clutched my controller til my knuckles turned white. That was so it didn’t go sailing out of a window. But! I saw that Specter of Torment came out, which is a free DLC for Shovel Knight. Kudos to Yacht Club Games for making not only DLC that is free, but it’s a whole new game. They could have charged for this, and nobody would have batted an eye, but they didn’t! That’s wonderful. So I tried Specter of Torment, because I knew you’d be playing as Specter Knight. I did not quite realize it was going to be a prequel though.

Shovel Knight Specter Editorial 2

Yes! This takes place before Shovel Knight, and I won’t spoil the story for anyone, but it does explain he works for the evil Big Bads, and what he does exactly. His gameplay [like Plague] is completely different from Shovel Knight in every way. He spins his Scythe in smooth, quick arcs in front of him; think Strider Hiryu. When there’s an enemy nearby and he’s in the air, you’ll see a slash mark through them going one direction or another. Hitting attack will launch him to them, attacking, and you can bounce back, and dash down at them again, or launch towards another target [or lamp post, you can leap around on those too]. His gameplay is a lot more jump/agility based, and the puzzles will reflect this. He can wall bounce, and instead of health, he has Will, because … well, he’s dead. Killing enemies gives him darkness, which lets him use his relics. He has his own special ones, that you purchase with Red Skulls you find through the stages. You still use money though! Upgrading your armor and such is still very much a thing you do.

Shovel Knight Specter Editorial 3Shovel Knight Specter Editorial 3

The stages will feel familiar, the music will have the same quality but different tones, but the puzzles and layouts will be vastly different. It will feel similar, but not enough to make you upset and think you’re wasting time, far from it! The stages are just as hard as regular Shovel Knight, but I seem to do better with Specter than I did plague or Shovel. The story interests me more, partially because it feels like a story of redemption, or a man being forced to do terrible things, to finally know peace. I can appreciate this incredibly deep story from a “villain”. I’m still working on the game, I have quite a few stages to go, but I wanted to talk about how good it is! The same quality gameplay and tropes are here from the base Shovel Knight game, but moved and adjusted for a different character. If you love Shovel Knight or even love platformers, that have great story, near-perfect controls, and the infallible talent of Jake Kaufman at the musical helm, you need to play this update. I fell in love with Shovel Knight all over again. YOU NEED TO PLAY THIS GAME MODE.

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