Making Shovel Knight’s Signature Moves | Game Maker’s Toolkit

Hi I’m Mark Brown, and this is Game Maker’s
Toolkit. Platforming heroes often have a signature
move. A single action that defines their character,
and is used for much of the gameplay. I’m talking about stuff like Mario’s hat
throw in Odyssey, Madeline’s dash move in Celeste, flipping gravity in VVVVVV, and the
spin in Crash Bandicoot. But one developer has had to work harder than
almost anyone else to create amazing signature moves, and that’s Shovel Knight maker Yacht
Club games. Since 2014, it has updated the game with three
new characters and each one has a unique, well-developed, and imaginative move at the
heart of their mobility design – from Plague Knight’s explosive leap to King Knight’s
bash and spin combo. I wanted to find out how these moves came
to be, so I called up the game’s designer and director Sean Velasco, and its lead programmer
David D’Angelo, to find out how they made each character’s special move. Starting, of course, with Shovel Knight. So Shovel Knight himself has the shovel drop. Hit down whenever you’re in mid-air and
you’ll swing your shovel downwards – ready to crush anything below you. Which, in turn, will send Shovel Knight into
a big springy bounce. It was based on one of Sean’s favourite
moves from the NES era: the downward thrust in Zelda 2. In that game it’s an under-used and under-developed
attack, so the team at Yacht Club decided to borrow it and build an entire game around
it. With a bit of extra inspiration from the pogo-jump
in DuckTales and the ground-pound in the Mario games. To make it work, they had to make some usability
tweaks – for example, unlike Zelda 2, you don’t have to hold the down button, which
frees your thumb up to easily move horizontally in mid-air. And the collision detection on the shovel
is pretty wide, to give you a better chance of hitting your target. And then, while Link only bobs up a tiny amount
when he does the thrust, Shovel Knight flies high into the air – at different heights,
depending on what he hit. The resulting bounce makes it as much of a
platforming tool as a combat one – happily unifying the two sides of Shovel Knight’s
gameplay, with a single mechanic. This also takes Zelda 2’s high and low combat
style and turns it into side-on and top-down, making it more dynamic, and blowing it out
to fill the whole screen in the process. VELASCO: “That’s why you have Gold Armor
who blocks up front and then when you go above he blocks up here. It’s very similar to Iron Knuckle in Zelda
II where no matter which vector you’re attacking from he’s blocking you in some way and you
gotta be quick to get around and get a couple hits in“. And ultimately, a huge number of enemies and
level elements in Shovel Knight’s campaign are built around the Shovel Drop – including
these magic books, floating bushes, sea snakes, giant gears, floating jellyfish, massive cannonballs,
this angry angler fish, and this bouncy beetle. It certainly makes it fun to play as Shovel
Knight, but it gave Yacht Club a big problem to solve when designing the next character:
Plague Knight. Here’s the thing: the boss characters were originally
intended to work like the robot masters in Mega Man: Powered Up or Richter Mode in Symphony
of the Night: the same levels, but with slightly different mechanics. And so the game’s first new character, Plague
Knight, uses almost the exact same level layouts as Shovel Knight: bar a few extra routes here
and there, and some challenge coins. And because you’ve already interacted with
the stage elements, Yacht Club had to figure out how to make it fun to traverse through
the same levels all over again. The answer: mastering the main character’s
mobility. VELASCO: “The complexity of the character
is where the fun comes from as opposed to the complexity of the environment, which was
already a known quantity”. And so we get the bomb burst. Here, you can charge up by holding down the
attack button – then let go to trigger an explosive blast that sends Plague Knight rocketing
halfway across the screen. Chain in double jumps and secondary bursts
to sail through stages. There’s some light inspiration from the
volatile leap of ‘Splosion Man and Samus’s screw attack in the Metroid games, but the
main idea came from Plague Knight’s boss battle in Shovel Knight’s campaign. How do you turn a bonkers, explosive, chaotic
entity into a playable character? The resulting action comes with a steep, sharp
learning curve – not dissimilar to learning how to bomb jump in Metroid or chain hat throws
in Odyssey. It’s strikingly easy to chuck yourself into
a pit or into the path of an oncoming enemy – and Plague Knight has a much higher knock-back
than Shovel Knight, just to make things harder. Plus, holding the charge while simultaneously
jumping can be tricky for those who aren’t used to bending their thumb to manipulate
two different buttons. And figuring out how to chain together jumps,
bursts, and double jumps is a serious challenge. It’s not fair to say that Plague Knight
is completely uncontrollable, though, and Yacht Club did lots to help you out. The exact trajectory of Plague Knight’s
burst is the same every single time, so it’s entirely possible to learn just how far you’ll
be flung. You also regain control towards the end of
the burst, allowing you to make adjustments to your landing. You can cancel the burst entirely with a neutral
jump – which is a jump without any directional input. And you can slow your descent by throwing
bombs, which also gives you a slight lift, and can be useful for scrambling up ledges
at the last minute. You can even do a second burst, which can
be used to save you from disaster – but with the charge taking almost an entire second
to warm up, you’ll probably be off the bottom of the screen by the time it’s ready. So it is entirely possible to feel cool and
fluid – you’ll just need a lot of practice. Pair up a speed run between Shovel Knight
and Plague Knight and you’ll see the latter character elegantly sail through stages in
half the time it takes steady ol’ Shovel Knight. But for its next character, Yacht Club wanted
to give players that feeling of fluidity from the word go. Enter: Specter Knight. I asked Yacht Club whether Specter Knight’s
design was, in part, a response to the feedback they got from some players about Plague Knight
being uncontrollable. D’ANGELO: “Oh yeah, that’s definitely
where it started.” VELASCO: “Every game is an answer to the
previous one.” D’ANGELO: “So where Plague Knight was
‘we’re gonna put the mastery in the controls versus the environment’. I think Specter Knight was like ‘we want
to make it really easy to be cool as opposed to really hard to be cool as Plague Knight’.” The resulting action is Specter Knight’s
dash slash. Whenever he gets near objects and enemies
he can slice through them with a single strike – sending him diagonally up or down, depending
on his initial position. The funny thing is, Plague Knight’s bomb
burst and Specter Knight’s dash slash move their respective heroes roughly the same distance
across the screen, and fully take away your control for roughly the same amount of time. And yet, no one ever calls Specter Knight
uncontrollable. How did Yacht Club do that? Well, for one, Specter’s dash slash is context
sensitive. While Plague Knight can bomb burst anywhere,
at any time, Specter Knight can only perform his move when in range of specific objects,
like enemies and projectiles. It limits your options, but it does make it easier
to understand where it should be used. Then, the trajectory of the move is shown
to you. When you get close to a slash-able object,
this line appears – diagonally upwards if you’re below the object, or diagonally downwards
if you’re above it. It’s not only a handy indicator, letting
you know that the slash is available – but it shows you roughly where you’ll end up
after the move ends. Specter Knight’s basic movement is also
quite different to Plague Knight’s. He’s got a long hang time on his jump, giving
you a chance to move in mid-air and get in range. And he falls slowly after dashing, letting
you manoeuvre into a good landing spot. Whereas Plague Knight absolutely plummets
to the ground following his burst. He does have a double jump though, but only
if you saved it until after using the bomb burst. We’ve got to note Specter’s wall run,
too. It’s generally used to gain height – he
can’t jump as high as Shovel Knight, meaning that you’ll need to use the environment
to get up to enemies, rather than simply leaping on them. But this secondary move can also be used to
scramble up a ledge if you just miss the landing after your dash slash. And unlike Plague Knight’s second, life-saving
burst, the wall run is entirely automatic. And then there’s big one. The level design. While Plague Knight re-used Shovel Knight’s
levels, Specter Knight has radically different stages with new mechanics that suit his mobility
set and – most crucially of all – new layouts that lead you through the level. VELASCO: “Everything’s really designed
around Specter Knight as well. Because those levels were all done it was
easy to set up a cadence for people so you see ‘oh here’s three enemies in a row,
I know what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to… *swooshing noises*. You can see it all laid out for you. And then you just need to execute on it. But with Plague Knight it was like ‘okay
there’s a big gap… D’ANGELO: “You figure it out!” VELASCO: “‘What do I do? Where do I land?’ There are so many platforms in Plague Knight
that Shovel Knight has to land on but you don’t even need to land on. You could just fly through the air for three
quarters of the screen. When you put a platform somewhere people go
to stand on it.” Now, Yacht Club Games rationalised the work
it would take to build all new level layouts, by telling themselves that they could re-use
them for the fourth character. Just like how Shovel Knight and Plague Knight
share levels, so too would Specter Knight and our last hero – King Knight. That, actually, didn’t end up happening. King Knight has an entirely new set of stages,
once again. But that initial desire to recycle Specter
Knight’s levels did impact on King Knight’s design. The team had to make a character who could
interact with walls. And then another move for bouncing off objects. So King Knight can use the shoulder bash to
crash into enemies or walls, which sends him shooting in the air, and transitions the decadent
dandy into a pirouette. If you land on something during this spin,
you get your bash back so you can continue your combo. The shoulder bash is straight out of Wario’s playbook,
and the spin is borrowed from Super Mario World. In fact, lots of King Knight’s design comes
from Mario – like the shorter courses and secret exits. And for a while, the team even experimented
with giving King Knight some Mario-like momentum. VELASCO: “We’ve done so many games that
didn’t have momentum like Mario, and we’re like ‘this is going to be like the Mario. It’s gonna have shorter courses.
It’s gonna have a world map. It’s gonna have a Wario bash.
It’s gonna have momentum! But we just couldn’t…” D’ANGELO: “It didn’t work. I think especially because we were doing this
big bash it didn’t work. You’re already sending yourself a million
miles and it’s scary and to put bad momentum on top of that it’s just like ‘Whoa!
Calm down!” So the developers ended up with a character
who is similar to Shovel Knight, but slightly more challenging to control. Because to enter the pirouette – King’s
version of the shovel drop – you first need to bash, which is a high commitment action
that can have disastrous results if you miss. But when you do it right you have a wonderful
back-and-forth between horizontal and vertical actions. A constant shift between the two axis of movement. And that’s even more pronounced by the mechanic
where if you hit something during your pirouette, you get an extra bash to use in mid-air. However, that combo does make King Knight
quite a complicated character to wrangle, and that’s because he has an awful lot of
states. Characters in games can be described as being
in different states like running, jumping, and falling – and each state has certain properties
and abilities. Shovel Knight is a character with very clear
and distinct states – you can enter Shovel Drop anytime you’re airborne, and you can
cancel out of it with an attack. Easy. King Knight is a lot more complicated. There are two different states depending on
whether you hit something with your bash or not. And there’s a state where you’re spinning
– but you can’t access your bash. And a state where you’re spinning – but
you can access your bash. And what’s even more challenging is that
these two states have the exact same animation with nothing to indicate a change between
them. This is something other games have done well:
in Celeste, Madeline’s hair changes colour when you have access to her dash move. And in Downwell, a flash goes over the character
when you land, to signify that your guns have reloaded and you’re ready to shoot. Why doesn’t King Knight have
something like this? I had to ask Yacht Club if it was something
they considered. D’ANGELO: “We had a million discussions
about it. I think were we tried to land is trying to
make it so you could feel it more. The same way like I don’t I don’t know how
many dashes I have in Mega Man X. We were trying to land in a place where it
felt like you could intuit that information. And if you couldn’t intuit it that we were
leaning in your favour. For example you only have one bash in the
air but if you get hit we give you one automatically. So making it something that’s like, ‘well
how do we use the rules of games that have double jumps or have a dash in them and they
don’t sell that’ and how do we make it so it feels natural to intuit.” So this is why Shovel Knight is such an interesting
case study for signature moves – there’s so much to glean from the design of these
four different characters. For one, all of these moves unify combat and
platforming in some way. For Shovel, Specter, and King, their signature
move is used to both defeat enemies and move around the level. And for Plague Knight, you can damage enemies
when you burst, but it’s more about using the burst to gain considerable height, and
then unleashing a torrent of bombs on the enemies down below. These characters also show us how taking control
away from the player is a surefire way to increase the learning curve. Doing a bomb burst with Plague Knight or a
shoulder bash with King Knight puts you into these committed animations that are hard to
get out of, which means you really need to think ahead about what you’re going to do
next. As oppose to Shovel Knight where you have
complete control over the character as he does the shovel drop. He falls at the same speed when shovel dropping
and jumping, after all. Plus, you can easily cancel the attack. We can also see how the clarity of the character’s
different states can help or hinder our understanding of what we can do. Shovel Knight and Specter Knight have clear,
delineated states with obvious animation changes and on-screen indicators to tell us what our
character can do. With King Knight, it’s not clear whether
you have access to your bash move. And with Plague Knight, you can’t be certain
if you can double jump. Learning to intuit that in your head is part
of mastering the character, but that also steepens the learning curve. It’s also interesting how some characters
give you a chance to recover if you make a bad move. If Shovel Knight is heading down a bottomless
pit, you’re pretty much screwed. Plague Knight, however, can use his bombs
to gain height, or do a burst to escape danger. Specter can run up walls, and King can bash
to recover himself. And that’s before you start checking out
the relics. And then there’s the big point about how
characters can either find complexity through their interaction with the level layouts – or
through their basic mobility. Shovel Knight is simple to control but put
him in a blank room and he can barely do anything. Just sort of jump around. Plague Knight is way more expressive and can
touch almost every corner of a blank room – but he’s really tricky to manoeuvre. Specter and Knight Knight show how using level
layouts can help players enter a sort of fluid movement style but it can also feel restrictive,
prefabricated, and puzzle-like. Perhaps games with more complex move-sets
lend themselves better to speedrunning and player mastery? That’s a topic we can maybe backtrack to in the future. For now, though, I want to end this video
by asking you a question: which character did you enjoy using the most? Shovel, Plague, Specter, or King? Ignore the story stuff, the card game, the
map structure, and the secrets – just think about the mobility and the signature moves. You can drop a comment down below, or use
the handy card up in the corner to answer a poll. Hi there. If you want to see my full, hour-long interview
with Yacht Club Games, it’s now available for GMTK supporters over on Patreon. Thanks so much for watching, and I’ll see
you again soon.

100 thoughts on “Making Shovel Knight’s Signature Moves | Game Maker’s Toolkit

  1. Each knights controls feel like they’re designed that way to fit the character:

    Shovel knight, our hero, uses shovel dropping in a heroic and mighty form
    Plague knight is kind of a shy little prick, so he gets the high ground by jumping high and throwing bombs
    Specter knight in his lifetime was a ninja. Ghosts cannot wall climb, or run up walls, can they?
    King knight has the most royal shoulder bash to show and say “I am glamorous and dangerous, back away!”

  2. See, I remember loved playing as Specter Knight, but I have to try King Knight at some point in order to get a definite answer.

  3. I can't believe people complained about Plague Knight's movement. It's a pretty easy combo that gives me joy every time I use him

  4. I think I found Plague Knight a lot more fun once I eventually got good at it, and I rly liked the different bomb and burst options, but I found it frustrating at first. Shovel Knight was the most immediately gratifying. I like the level design more in the King Knight stages though and I kinda like how some parts feel like a puzzle (like how there's some walls you can bash and some you can't)

  5. Based on movement alone, I preferred Plague Knight. However, I had just finished Shovel Knight's story and moved straight onto Plague Knight and as the levels were near identical I think I got more enjoyment out of Spectre Knight's story.

  6. Personally, I found Plague Knight to have the best moveset, but the reuse of Shovel Knight's levels made it feel like I wasn't able to fully utilize his abilities. It's unfortunate, if the levels were designed for his specific abilities it could have been much better.

    On the negative end, I absolutely loathe King Knight. It felt like a total inversion of the previous three. I felt completely in control with the previous three, but with King Knight I constantly felt like I had next to no control. Not gonna lie, I consider his campaign to be legitimately awful.

  7. It's not from shovel Knight or even a 2d platformer, but easily the most fun character I've ever played has to be Loader from risk of rain 2. Her grappling hook and charged punch takes some getting used to, but overall the mobility you have access too with her basic kit is unparalleled in her game and perhaps even any game I've ever played. It's an incredibly rewarding system and is absolutely LOADS (heh) of fun to play.

  8. Now I want to know how Yacht Club Games managed to design character abilities for Shovel Knight Showdown. They have a massive list of characters with different gimmicks and properties, so seeing how they manage to make them all playable and balanced would be a fun episode.

  9. This was a great video. 🙂 Personally, I would love to see you do a similar episode analyzing Yoshi's moveset, particularly how it was implemented in Yoshi's Island. It's my favorite platformer, partly because Yoshi's moves are so versatile. Eating, ground-pounding, throwing eggs, flutter jumping… EVERY SINGLE ONE of Yoshi's moves serves multiple functions throughout the game, making his moves robust without being complicated.

  10. This makes me wonder what the signature moves of the knights that didn't get a campaign would have been. We got hints of this in Showdown, with Treasure Knight's anchor tether and Propellor Knight's double jump and hover, but others are a little less clear. Would Tinker Knight's signature move revolve entirely around his mobile gear? Would Polar Knight's involve his charging attack?

  11. I loved shovel knight. I only tried Plague knight afterwards, and it didn't feel comfortable to play at all, so I didn't even bother with the second playthrough. It felt like a gimmick, but I guess there is more too it. I should check out the other two characters though.

  12. This is for sure one of my favorite videos that you've done Mark. Information was extremely thorough, the graphics and editing were smooth, and all of your main points flowed super fluidly.

  13. For me King Knight was my favorite to control: I have a long history with the Wario platformers and King of Cards felt like slipping on an old glove.

  14. Plague Knight was the most fun to learn how to control and fly about with, even if I have an affinity for Specter's gameplay.

    I feel like beyond the four signature abilities for platforming, it should be noted that this game, is an Action based platformer. How their abilities allow you to fight is just as important to how you get around. If the enemy design or level design makes it difficult to attack, or boss design limits your choice and creativity in execution, then having a movement ability anchored to your attack can make it difficult to even get a strike in when the opportunity finally comes up.

  15. While I loved all 4 campaigns, Plague of Shadows was my favourite. While it's for many reasons, it's partly down to how Plague Knight controls. The steeper learning curve felt right for the character, since you're playing as a somewhat deranged alchemist who can barely control his own impulses.

    And if any character was going to get stages that weren't designed for them, it should have been Plague Knight. One thing I loved about his gameplay, far more than the Burst, was the bomb creation. The obstacles weren't adapted to you, thus you have to adapt to the obstacles. You did this by putting together your own attacks from a huge variety of combinations, and using your own tactics and adaptability to easily overcome challenges that should be less possible, which feels really satisfying.

    All 4 did their gameplay mechanics really well, though Plague's seems easiest to overlook. I commend the devs for making the adaptive gameplay work in a whole new way than what they originally went for with Shovel Knight's gameplay.

  16. I haven't played through King's campaign, but I think I like Specter's mobility the most, followed by Shovel (if only for the simplicity). That said, while Plague's learning curve is pretty steep, he's soooo satisfying to master.

  17. I haven't finished King of Cards yet but I think I like King Knight the best. The bash'n'twirl is just so satisfying to use.

  18. I don't know how much I can trust my memory because this was years ago. I played Shovel Knight on 3DS. I remember loving Plague Knight, but I don't remember the learning curve at all. I just remember feeling like an absolute legend by the time I was good. And I remember that near the end of the campaign, I got a thing that randomizes your attack every second or so, and I remember being surprised at how well it worked despite the expectancy that it would be hard to control and impossible to predict. Instead, it just made me feel like an even bigger badass.

    But the second thing I remember is that when the next campaign came out, I tried to play it and I just couldn't get a grip on the way the new character handled. I actually quit after a couple of levels because I wasn't enjoying it. I don't remember which character it was, but obviously it would have to have been Specter Knight (the third character). So how come the very character that was supposed to be easy to control ended up being the hardest for me?

  19. King Knight's dash recharge not having a visual indication often doesn't have an impact, as they laid out the levels in a way that doesn't often require double-dashing.

    Very clever. All of these campaigns are great, but I'd say King Knight is the weakest link here, personally.

    Yaght Club is still my favorite developer of all time.

  20. I love king knight's mobility for how simple it seems (you just can jump and bash) and how fun it can be. Specter knight is close to be the best one too but I just love the simplicity of king knight and how effective it is.

  21. Ok, for my ranking of each characters mobility at least for me it was:
    Specture (ease of movemnt)
    King (shoulder bashing)

  22. Shovel Knight feels basic; perfectly apt, but kind of boring.
    Plague Knight feels very skillfull; he takes a bit to master, but once you get over the initial hump, he becomes amazing to play.
    Spectre Knight feels like a plug&play; he's intuitive and fun out of the box with some depth, but in the end everything becomes same-y.
    King Knight also feels kind of basic, but with some flair; just like Shovel Knight he is fairly basic in his movement, but the slight learning curve makes him more interesting in the long run.

    Overall I'd say playing Shovel and King Knight first, followed by Spectre Knight, and ending on Plague Knight is the best experience IMO.

  23. Gosh that's tough.
    I've never replayed Specter of Torment, even for new game plus, guess I just didn't care, so that would be number four.
    I've played shovel of hope through multiple times, though it felt bewildering after doing plague of shadows. It's very functional, but not the most interesting, so that would be my number three.
    Oooooh this last one is tough because when I played through King of Cards and Plague of Shadows, I thought that PoS was pretty hard, but KoC was pretty easy. However, the main thing that annoyed me about PoS was switching bombs and powerups and stuff which made things kinda annoying in a pinch… That is… until I unlocked the chaos cloak which rotates the items automatically. And I have to say, it's some of the most fun I've had between all of the campaigns.

    4. Specter Knight, Satisfying, but not something I feel inclined to return to.
    3. Shovel Knight, Stable, though not as interesting by comparison.
    2. King Knight, Fluid, maybe a bit too fluid, though still fun
    1. Plague Knight, ridiculously fun once you embrace the chaos of it.

    So yeah, Plague Knight, that's my final answer.

  24. Shovel Knight is a great first character, he s very basic with clever different uses of his not many abilities. Plauge Knight on the other hand feels rough to play without a level layout made specially for him. Plauge and King honestly rocks the other 2 competitors, they move sets are so characteristic and levels are making best of both pros and cons of their mobility.

  25. Plague Knight was my favorite character to play, followed by Spectre Knight. Plague Knight is, as said in the video, about mastering new movement to navigate familiar levels, and once you get that mastery, Plague is just a blast to play. Since Spectre Knight is all about execution and the levels are redesigned for him, mastering him doesn't have that same feel of cool; I'm doing all these cool things, but not because I am doing them, but rather because Yacht Club designed these segments to be cool. It's still fun, though.

    I hate King Knight's movement. I got as far through the campaign as to defeat the first judge. There was some ghost boss in the Spectre Knight area and the movement is just a hindrance. I had no idea what I was supposed to do because it felt like I had the wrong character for what was presented to me. I rage-quit the game at that point and I have no intention of ever going back.

  26. Honestly every character is a blast to play, but King Knight is my favorite, I think they struck a perfect balance between fun to control and a nice learning curve, I enjoy Shovel Knight so much mainly because of it's more puzzle like approach to level design, it makes every level very fluid but also needing to think ahead. It somehow makes a perfect system of incredible pace and momentum while constantly keeping the player thinking and on their toes.

    Shovel Knight is honestly the best platformer I've ever played due to that factor, it helps that it's music, variety, and graphics absolutely rock.

  27. Honestly never gotten further than Shovel Knight.
    There was this one stage I absolutely despised, kept dying over and over again due to very annoying enemy placement and eventually just uninstalled the game cos the stage felt so cheap.

  28. Specter Knight's movement I would say is the most enjoyable, given how dynamicly fluid his dash slash is. It is the only movement that is indefinite, and provided proper stage design, you could outmaneuver any of the other Knights. Plague Knight's bomb burst has to time itself, Shovel Knight has to bounce and is static, and King Knight's shoulder bash has to rhythm itself between bounce and bash.

    Plague Knight's movement would best fit in a randomly generated stage I think, given his mobility is the only one centered in himself and not the environment.

    Also, the romance in Plague Knight is wonderful, and Specter Knight's backstory is really cool.

  29. Plague and Specter can both stay in the air almost indefinitely, but it has to be earned with Plague and he can do it in almost any scenario, while Specter needs something to slash. I prefer Plague.

  30. Specter Knight always felt very fluid to me, and timing the dash to fall under an enemy gave some nice moments of tension. I was always most excited to see a room full of slashable objects and short walls, because I knew that once I got it, it would be dope

  31. honestly, I fucking loved plague but ik ppl will disagree, honestly, I think that for most ppl just simply change ur buttons around a bit so u8 can burst and jump at the same time with different fingers and take the time to learn that and you'll have a great time w/0 having to become a full on speedrunner

  32. I think specter knight's movement is my favorite in the early stages, since it's so intuitive and fluid, but plague knight becomes my favorite once you actually get over the learning curve. I like king knight's next, but only because I'm simply better at controlling him than shovel knight, I like shovel knight too.

  33. I loved Plague Knight the most, followed closely by King Knight.

    I liked Shovel Knight but I never beat his campaign because I didn't click with his controls. They're good but not for me.

    Spectre Knight was fun and I did beat it and I don't really have a problem with him.

    King Knight was extremely enjoyable to control and I flew through levels. I also enjoyed the puzzle-like design in his levels because he was easy to control so I could use my options to figure it out.

    Plague Knight was my favorite character to play as. I never had that challenge of figuring out how to control him. He gave me so much freedom to blast through levels how I wanted to and I loved the bombs too. One major thing that Plague Knight gave me over Shovel Knight was saving myself from pits which I really appreciated.

    Plague Knight and King Knight were so much fun to use because of all of the options to move in the air. Using the same moves to save myself from falling and practically speedrun and play around is what really made me love these two.

  34. Specter Knight will always be my favorite, just because of how you can get a super satisfying flow with him that I don't feel with any other character.

  35. oh I knew instantly all of these characters would be way too hard, so I never played them. I don't really like games where the platforming is the challenge, I prefer the platforming to be fun and free, and the combat to be the challenge. That's why it's such a shame we haven't gotten a Zelda II remake or copy, using Smash Bros type controls… or that Smash 4 and 5 had so little platforming to do, and few non-fighter enemies to tackle. I wonder why nobody's making games like that anymore.

  36. I guess I'll have to pull this out of the acrid dark abyss of my backlog and play it so I can come back to this video long after anyone cares and post which one is my favorite…

  37. It's kinda funny, I think I enjoyed Specter, Plague, and King Knight more when it came to levels.
    However when it comes to boss fights, Shovel Knight is easily my favorite to use.

  38. Plague Knight felt like I earned my movement options after learning the kit and distances. Once I learned how to press down on the floor with Spectre Knight I was instantly a badass.

  39. I would say Specter knight was my favorite. It felt really good to move through the levels that were designed for him. It was so fluid, that while it was somewhat easy, it was still fun to do.

  40. Just off the top of my head, when it comes to the fun I had controlling each of the characters and maneuvering the levels, I'd have to say:
    1) King Knight
    2) Specter Knight
    3) Shovel Knight
    4) Plague Knight

    I didn't hate Plague Knight or anything, it just requires a certain feel to get into that complexity. Shovel Knight himself was just kind of. There. For me. I want to say it's because it's "the first of its kind" amongst the campaigns, and suffers from… being the least interesting? I think? It's also been a long while since I did a proper dive into the older campaigns though, so, make of that what you will. To me, Shovel just feels like a tightly crafted /bog standard/ platformer. Nothing much more.

    King and Specter however. Their unique level designs go a long way, and I feel like it was clear the team was getting more of a grasp? King Knight's campaign was a joy (I mean, I hated the card game, and the completionist in me desperately wishes collectibles weren't tied behind it, but hey, at least in all other contexts, it's optional, and I'm getting off topic). He was so restrictive and yet the levels had a BEAUTIFUL creative flow, clearly squeezing as much as they possibly can out of the moveset… or lack thereof. And I think that's what it does in fact come down to. Trade-offs.

    Plague Knight offers a more free-form sandbox experience that can be fun to tinker around with (and they CLEARLY want you to with all those bombs), whereas the joy in in King and Specter comes from traversing masterfully creative levels. And there's something beautiful about that. The four campaigns offer different approaches that will reach out to different kinds of people, but all still have a fun, unifying core of fun platforming.

  41. When in the first ten seconds of a video, you have a parody of yacht club games' logo, sonic mania and ori and the blind forest footage, and celeste music, you know you're in for a good video.

  42. specter knight's moveset lent itself towards feeling a lot more solid as a game (especially in comparison to plain ol' regular shovel knight) but plague knight's moveset is absolutely a blast to play around with, pun intended

  43. Both Shovel Knight and Plague Knight were great, but if I had to choose I'd go for Plague due to the increased complexity.
    I found Spectre a bit dull after a while. It's kinda like you figured out all his tricks quite early.

    Haven't played King Knight yet, but from what I have seen he looks like a lot of fun.

  44. Plague Knight was my favourite. I felt like I got to identify with the character the most, because of the need for mastery.
    Specter Knight felt very unsatisfying to me, because it didn't feel like "I" was doing anything.
    Shovel Knight and King Knight are kind of a toss up — The complexity of King Knight is interesting but you're right that it ends up feeling puzzle-y, whereas Shovel Knight feels really responsive

  45. To answer your ending question:
    I've yet to play King Knight, and I never completed Specter Knight or Plague Knight, but from what I did play of the first three characters. I would have to say Specter Knight was the most enjoyable to move around with. He's painfully slow, but give him terrain and he just goes. Everything is really clear and a basic understanding of how Specter moves and a glance around the screen as it is presented to you, and you know what you are doing.
    Plague Knight has been my favorite to play in general because I enjoy the variety of ways to do attacking, mobility, etc etc, and as has been stated in this video, he can REALLY move, but there's a certain understanding of finesse required to make the most out of him. You really gotta know how his abilities work. It can be rough moving around if you don't fully know how your abilities work yet. You could enter the stage with something you've really yet to try and flounder around, if you aren't careful.
    Shovel Knight is simple good clean fun. Nothing fancy about the mechanics, just pogo around and hit stuff. Love him to bits.
    As I said before, I've yet to try King Knight, so I can't really say anything about him, but from what I've seen, both here and in previous videos about him, he does look like he'd take some getting used to.

  46. Between the difficulty of mastering Plague Knight's movement, his totally unique controls, and his potential to take on other characters' levels, I feel he was best suited to having the final campaign. Stuffing other characters' levels into one campaign would make for a much more interesting experience than simply reusing Shovel Knight's, and would be a great and nostalgic sendoff to the game. Yacht Club being able to pick and choose what to include also means there'd be no need for the awkward minor tweaks that make Plague Knight's campaign feel a bit inconsistent and watered down compared to Shovel Knight's.

  47. King Knight’s bash isn’t nearly as comital as you may think. In fact, I see the gameplay you used show this. If you don’t like where your bash is going, you just hold the other direction to hold yourself in the air briefly and regain control. You can eve jump-cancel it on the ground.

    Edit: Another thing to note is the roll. Not only is it a great addition to fighting though normal enemies, but the roll can use the momentum of the dash to carry King Knight a bit further. Yacht Club even teaches you to use this better with a roll upgrade involving the latter half of the roll

  48. I played Shovel Knight way back when it came out on the 3DS, & really enjoyed it, but that was it. I really need to get around to playing the DLCs at some point. They look so great!

  49. Wut? Zelda 2 my ass. That was straight up Duck Tales, to the point where you swap out character sprites and no one would question shovel Knight as a DT revival.

  50. Plague Knight's movement is my favorite. Knowing just how to chain together his abilities for maximum effect is incredibly satisfying.

    [Bomb Throw/Begin Charge -> Jump -> Burst -> Bomb Throw/Begin Charge -> Double Jump -> Burst -> Bomb Throw] can get you insane distance. I recently tested its height and you can scale an 11 block wall if you get it just right.

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