What a day. My arms are tired from shoveling, and my legs ache from jumping and squatting. Such is the life of a Knight of Shovelry, but I am prepared to do this every day. My purpose is to stop The Enchantress and rescue Shield Knight, but right now I am consumed by the warmth of this fire. There’s something magical and innocent about it. Those 8-bit flames might not light up a castle, but they keep me warm. A mellow tune plays in my mind as I reflect on a hard day’s shoveling. It was tough but I got some gems, beat some enemies and took down one of the Knights of The Order. Such fools, surely they see The Enchantress is using them. Alas, not my problem. I will knock some sense into them the only way I know how, with my shovel. As I drift off to sleep I search for pleasant thoughts, the chime of gems, the great jumps I cleared, that musical note I found… yeah… I did all that… I will save you Shield Knight… zzzz.
Oops. Time to get a move on! As I shovel away the remains of the fire I notice something beside it. It’s a meal ticket! How did it get here? Somebody must have dropped it, or perhaps the wind blew it over while I was sleeping. I’ll take it into town later, right now we must push forward! I take out my World Map and scan the area. Sometimes there are troubled individuals or challenges on the road, but today I’m heading straight to Pridemoor Keep to defeat King Knight!
Don’t be fooled by my heavy armour and mighty appearance, I trot along at a decent pace and can even jump. If I wasn’t a Knight I would be one mega man. It’s not that I’m easily controlled by an exterior being, I just get on with things efficiently. In fact most of my jumps feel trivial because without any momentum, there isn’t much to think about. When I move right or left there’s almost no build up, it’s always the same speed. This creates a deceptive level of difficulty because I have so much confidence in my movement that I kill myself often. Sorry, faint and lose my money. All it takes is a simple bonk off an enemy to fall into a pit and die, which is very inconvenient. All my expert shoveling and calculated jumps, undone in a moment of foolery in what seems like a regular room. A Knight must take every threat seriously.
As well as a shovel attack to hit enemies in front of me, my other major ability is a down-stab which I can execute by pressing down while in the air. It’s handy to bounce on top of enemies to gain extra height, and there are jumps that seem to be designed to allow me to down-stab over gaps. Those foolish enemies don’t realise they are helping me get to the Tower of Fate and stop The Enchantress. I can use my shovel whenever I want, without having to equip an item or seek any extra knowledge. Extra abilities slowly accumulate during the journey and can be helpful for exploration, offering creative ways to approach enemies and access new areas. Things like phasing, knuckle punching, anchor throwing and even fishing have their uses. The shovel is king though, and I’m confident I can make it to the Tower of Fate without anything else. I’ve been holding this shovel my entire life, it’s part of me and I never question that.
Aha, a checkpoint! These things are quite peculiar. I’ve never heard of anything like this while reading tales of previous Knights. Normally they allow you to gather your thoughts, but these ones are breakable with a rich bounty of gems inside. A very tempting offer. It adds a bit of risk, but if things go wrong I can only blame myself. It’s an excellent way to reward bravery and that’s what being a Knight is all about, so let’s smash every one. I don’t care if I’m here all day.
The Knights have designed their lairs very specifically. An immaculately designed series of rooms and traps, set up for the purpose of testing the skills of those who dare enter. Any mere peasant would fall or run away, but thankfully my shovel can get me through every test with a good whack. Enemies can be quite aggressive and bounce around a lot, requiring good positioning and timing with shovel jabs. After a few hits they go down, but fighting the other Knights is a lot more tricky. The bosses of each lair attack fast and have a lot of health. There’s solid variety in their moves and the patterns are not easy to spot. Instead of being fixed they sometimes home in on your position, creating a dynamic and improvisational battlefield. A bit of clever shovelry is required here, but it’s a joy to outsmart a fellow Knight and come out on top. Luckily my own health is plentiful and never really a concern. I feel healthy all the time and the only things I eat are chicken, apples, and the occasional carrot. Chicken fills me right up but doesn’t slow me down.
It’s not all shovel whacking action though, as the room layouts have their own traps and transformations to deal with. The Enchantress really wanted to put me through a variety of ordeals with the intent of stopping me, but little does she realise that every challenge is making me stronger and smarter. Even redoing sections I fail teaches me more about my shovel mechanics, checkpoints or no checkpoints. It can all be figured out. Platforms fall with your weight, lava rises in patterns, screens scroll, spikes are plentiful, and each lair seems to have it’s own gimmick throughout the whole area, like wind, darkness, ice or water. I move slower underwater but I can jump much higher, don’t ask me why. My armour must be full of bubbles.
Time to redeem that meal ticket I got earlier. It’s nice to have people to talk to, even if they aren’t all happy to see me. Black Knight has been spreading lies in an attempt to keep me away from Shield Knight, but that only gives me more motivation to make things right. A humble bard plays tunes here and will delightfully play any musical score I find. Such a talented bloke. I mean, chap. Or lady. Whoever wrote these musical numbers must be talented. Perhaps even two people worked on them, because this music has a lot of depth. The songs are catchy despite not going too overboard with melodies. Instead there’s a wholesome sound that carries a very consistent tune throughout each song. The mood in each song also reflects the area where I found the musical notes. To any musician learning how to score an adventure, this is the soundtrack I would point to. It’s brand new and exciting, when I hear these songs I always think of this humble bard and the places I traveled. I had “A Thousand Leagues Below” stuck in my head for a whole day while going through the Iron Whale. Imagine that, if a song could constantly play over an area. I think every challenge would be a bit more enjoyable.
I must end this here, as my tale is a short one. Do not let that take away from the magnitude of this adventure. With the strength of my shovel I have utmost confidence that I will finish my journey and rescue Shield Knight. Might even do it a couple of times. The Knight’s lairs are still accessible for me to hone my skills, and I have heard many other tales and rumours across the land that I must investigate. Plague Knight seems to be up to something… perhaps another tale is about to unfold. His movement is something I’ve always been jealous of. It might fix my one weakness if my mobility was a bit more fleshed out and complex. The other Knights might have to redesign their lairs if Plague Knight is on his way, that should be interesting to see. Not my concern, though. My shovel makes up for every weakness. Now, I’ve had another long day so it’s time to wind down for the night. Ah, there’s that fire again. My old friend. Flickering and crackling in sympathy with my tale. So warm… so understanding… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.