How to Win: Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight and Separating Fun From Masochism 2

After nearly an extra year since its successful Kickstarter funding drive, Shovel Knight has finally been released. The retro styled adventure platformer has the aesthetic of Super Nintendo games, but brings modern mechanics to create the best of both. Here are a few quick tips and tricks to use when you start playing this indie gem.

Move Like McDuck

The Shovel Bounce is the most important technique to master in the entire game. A shovel bounce is performed after jumping by holding down on the control stick. This allows you to bounce off of enemies and bosses and remain in the air. This technique is mostly used for maneuvering through levels, but is arguably a better attack than the default shovel swing. Being able to successfully chain Shovel Bouncing on a single enemy allows you to quickly be able to deal a large amount of damage to them, while not taking any damage.

Be careful, as Shovel Bouncing only works if you make contact with the enemy. Landing on the ground will immediately cancel the move and will leave you vulnerable for a brief moment. There are also some enemies and bosses you cannot continuously shovel bounce on, and some even have specific counter attacks to deal with the move.


Find Everything!

Shovel Knight is filled with many secrets that aren’t necessarily needed to beat the game, but will greatly help you. The lion’s share involve you swinging your shovel blade at walls inside levels. Most breakable walls look slightly different from the regular walls, whether they are a slightly different colour, or have an odd symbol on them.

Tiny walls can be broken for extra health and large gems, but can also sometimes lead to an extra enemy waiting to ambush you. These secret areas usually contain a large amount of gold to collect, which helps when trying to buy upgrades. Some of them contain collectible music sheets that can be taken to the bard in the first village for gold, and to listen to your favorite songs in the game over again. Every once in a while, these secret areas also lead to blue chests, which contain merchants who will sell you sub weapons.

Some levels in the game have areas that can only be accessed by shovel bouncing and platforming over the edge of the screen itself. Always be on the look out for signs that the top of the screen can be reached.


Like Archeology, but With Weapons 

Relics are Shovel Knight’s version of sub weapons. Instead of getting them after defeating bosses, you need to buy them from a merchant who hides in secret areas in most of the levels in the game. Each Relic has it’s own magic cost that’s indicated in the Relic equip screen.

Some Relics are far more useful than others, and can be used to skip difficult parts in the game. The Phase Locket is a Relic that can be obtained early on and can help in almost any situation. When used, it prevents all damage for a few short seconds, including instant kill stage hazards such as spikes. It can also be used in boss fights to avoid incredibly annoying attacks that you may find hard to dodge. Another great use of it is against larger enemies who are blocking your path. Using the amulet allows you to run right though them and to the next screen.

Do Everything Ever

The map screen has eight main levels, with more optional levels that are unlocked after progressing in the game. Although they aren’t necessary to complete the game, they are more than worth it to complete. These extra stages are mostly extra challenges that require a certain Relic to complete. They also provide a large amount of loot, as well as collectibles, which you can then sell for even more loot.

It’s also worthwhile to complete all of the encounters and bonus stages which randomly appear on the map. These range from extra boss fights, to a shorter version of a level that contains an even larger amount of loot, which is makes buying Relics and upgrades that much easier.

Tyler Reynolds
Tyler Reynolds

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, CGMagazine may earn a commission. However, please know this does not impact our reviews or opinions in any way. See our ethics statement.

<div data-conversation-spotlight></div>