Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 11, 2014

Shovel Knight isn’t fun

I’m through with Shovel Knight. This game isn’t fun.

“Why is it not fun?”

The game is very annoying. I’m not having fun with it. The biggest problem is all the mid-points. This gives the developers time to put in more bullshit. By bullshit I mean annoyances like the Ninja Gaiden ‘birds knocking you off platforms’ bullshit. The people making this game aren’t interested in making a fun game. Throwing around mid-points everywhere followed by Bullshit is not fun. The fact that there are so many mid-points screams ‘not fun design’. If you want an early example of this in the game, go to the second or third stage where the game keeps turning everything dark. You cannot see the platforms or enemies except when lightning flashes for a second or two. What type of bullshit is this? This is 80s obtuseness, not fun game design.

A more fun way is to give the sense of progress by the player conquering . For example, if the stage is a castle, it should look like a castle in many ways. The player should know he is going through the Hall, the Kitchen, the Armory, or wherever else. It gives a sense of progression. In Shovel Knight, the castle is nothing but a space dungeon with castle trimmings. Here is a mid-point followed by annoying bullshit screen. Oh, and if you die in a bottomless pit, your money just hovers above the bottomless pit. You can’t get that money back because you have to die to get it (which means more money flying).

I had other people play the game, and I watched them struggle even in the beginning stage. It’s not that the game is hard, it is that it is that there is tons of annoying bullshit in there. (And the stages are SO LONG! Why are the stages SO LONG!???)

If you are going to make a retro-esque game, get the GOOD stuff from the 80s and not the BAD stuff. The BAD stuff includes the ‘Ninja Gaiden birds knocking you into bottom-less pits’ as well as the 8-bit color palette.

Games like Zelda 2 were actually FUN. Yes, they had 80s obtuseness in them. Those stupid bubbles could hurl you into a bottom less pit. But they weren’t frequent in the game. You could also grind in the game which made bosses and enemies very easy. You could bypass nasty lava rooms by turning yourself into a fairy (and bypassing locked doors as well!). The point is that you had OPTIONS.

I consider Shovel Knight to be more related to the Mega Man 9 type way of gameplay than the Mega Man 2/3/Super Mario Brothers 3/etc. type gameplay. This is not a good thing.

Shovel Knight isn’t an old school game. It is a hardcore game using the ‘fad-of-the-time’ of 8-bit graphics and mechanics. AVOID.


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