PCP: Specter of Torment

Fun Fridayz #7 – Free For Fans

Shovel Knight – Specter of Torment: Ghastly Goodness

The short of it: While not as smooth as Shovel of Hope or Plague of Shadows, Specter of Torment continues the trend of successful shovelry. Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight easily claims the title of Greatest Kickstarter Game.

On its own, Shovel Knight has no right to be as good as it is. On its own, Plague of Shadows has no right to be as good as it is. On its own, Specter of Torment has no right to be as good as it is.

Yacht Club consistently nails its strengths, which is about as redundant as the phrase, “digging shovel.” The hub worlds are delights to explore and serve as both adventure relief and comic relief, their NPCs always offer great interaction, the music is always fresh as hell, and their character design is absolutely gorgeous.

Both DLCs so far have radically changed the gameplay of Shovel Knight by drastically altering the player’s mobility. Plague Knight’s explosive jumps and Specter Knight’s dashes and wall runs reinvigorate old levels and offer new takes on already fascinating levels. However, they create new levels of frustration as increased mobility usually comes with more difficult paths. Instead of Shovel Knight’s simple jump once or die, it compounds into jump explode jump wall hang jump or jump dash float wall run jump dash.

Basically, I’m bad at platforming and this game really made me think about that. Although the enemies and bosses (final boss being the frustrating exception) pose almost no challenge, I ended having to close my 3DS at a few pressure-filled platforming sections that ended up tripling my death count. The wall run mechanic occasionally felt more slippery than savvy, but that could just be me terrible.

Fortunately, Specter Knight’s combat abilities make up for that. His weapons are brutal, fun, and almost feel like cheating– but since they’re all a part of his boss fight, it’s totally fair.

Compound this combat with the interesting storytelling (the method is great, the story itself is the weakest of the three campaigns (which isn’t a criticism considering how damn good the other two are (especially Plague Knight))), I can dig Specter of Torment.



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