Shovel Knight Dig Preview: Shovel swinging on the Switch – Gamesaktuell

Many stories actually start at the bottom. Sometimes even in the truest sense of the word: in the grandiose indie jumping game Celeste, heroine Madeline has to climb a gigantic mountain. With Shovel Knight Dig, things are the other way round: Our little hero snores in front of the campfire, peacefully bedded on his sack full of riches. But the Fiesling Drill Knight was just waiting for this opportunity. He attacks Shovel Knight with his man-sized drill, mops the bag full of treasures, and makes his way underground. Once again, Shovel Knight has to go on an adventurous journey, this time through all possible layers of the earth and again armed with his trusty shovel.

Two studios, one hero







He sleeps so well, but probably not for long. Not only are treasures slumbering underground, but dangerous monsters like this dragon too.



He sleeps so well, but probably not for long. Not only are treasures slumbering underground, but dangerous monsters like this dragon too.

Source: Yacht Club Games




At first glance, Shovel Knight Dig looks almost exactly like its predecessor Shovel Knight. No wonder, because developers are again Yacht Club Games. This time the team is supported by the British studio Nitrome. The game is created in collaboration, which developer is now responsible for which features remains in the dark for the time being. However, since nitromes are described on the Shovel Knight Dig homepage as "pixel masters", it seems obvious that the British work primarily on the optics. We are confident that the end result will be as entertaining as its predecessor, given that Shovel Knight is one of the most frightening few games that meet the high expectations of the supporters after a successful Kickstarter campaign could do justice.

Shovel and puff

But back to our hero: Of course it would be very boring if he hadn't learned anything since the publication of the first part in 2014. The shovel blade is predestined for digging, Shovel Knight digs with shovel blows down and to the side faster than ever! With the spade jump he kills opponents and removes obstacles directly below by poking lumps of earth, he uses them as a projectile. In case of doubt, it also helps to simply pull the shovel blade over the face of enemies in order to cause them damage.

The level of difficulty is likely to be located in higher areas again, similar to the predecessor. It is not for nothing that Yacht Club Games named titles such as Mega Man, Dark Souls and Castlevania as sources of inspiration. However, the challenges in Shovel Knight Dig are presented differently than before. While Shovel Knight had all the levels pre-made and the player could only decide from time to time in which order he wanted to tackle them, Shovel Knight Dig was supposed to use a kind of random generator. Although the individual areas were designed by hand (unlike, for example, pure rogue-like games), the sequence is left to a specially programmed technology. So no one passage should be the same, theoretically, Shovel Knight Dig offers higher long-term motivation.






Drill Knight and its infernal drilling machines lurk in many places underground. Sometimes you have to stop them, sometimes avoid them.



Drill Knight and its infernal drilling machines lurk in many places underground. Sometimes you have to stop them, sometimes avoid them.

Source: Yacht Club Games




There is probably a lot of secrets in this game too, which will drive even the most experienced treasure hunters to the sweat beads and which will motivate them to continue playing after the credits. The secrets are not just mere tales: On the way to Drill Knight you will find permanent upgrades and helpful pieces of equipment that – presumably as in the predecessor – allow you to enter previously inaccessible areas.

Sightseeing underground







Drill Knight has some vicious subordinates that you'll mess with in the course of the adventure. Here we see the little mushroom-like knight Spore Knight.



Drill Knight has some vicious subordinates that you'll mess with in the course of the adventure. Here we see the little mushroom-like knight Spore Knight.

Source: Yacht Club Games




In keeping with the lovingly charming pixel look, the soundtrack also gives rise to cozy retro feelings. Once again, the compositions were written by Jake Kaufmann, the player who owes the earwigs in the first part. You will also meet a few familiar faces – or helmets – but of course many new enemies, characters and bosses await you. You can even see one of them on the screenshot on the right: Spore Knight looks like a mushroom and therefore, unsurprisingly, lives in an area where dangerous spores are in the air and mushroom netting pervades the ground.

Isn't it boring just digging through the ground? By the way, there is a lot to see underground! Enchanted caves with sleeping dragons, the previously mentioned mushroom depths, lava-filled catacombs and caves full of sand are just waiting to be dug up properly. When the little hero can finally swing the spade is still unclear. When Shovel Knight Dig was announced in summer 2019, the title had been under development for a year, but we don't expect a release before summer 2020.