Shovel Knight Dig is a lot of things in one and to avoid mixing up some word salad, let’s just say it’s super fun. You know the one thing Shovel Knight didn’t do a ton of in Shovel Knight? Dig. There was some digging for sure, but I imagine those who came for the promise of some shovelin’ were disappointed. Shovel Knight Dig, though, has you covered.
Playing Shovel Knight is a rather deliberate fare. Sure, you could get through things quick and try to speedrun it, but meeting a new level without any knowledge—patience always paid off. Add Dig to the title, and oh boy, you can’t wait around.
I played through one stage that ended in a fight with Spore Knight. To get there, I had to do a whole hell of a lot of digging. And dying. Each time you die, you have to start over of course, and the entire stage is procedurally generated into something new.
Looking at the screenshot above, there are you have a couple of choices: fight the enemies, dig over to get that golden gear and gems, or just dig down to get the hell out of there. When digging, you can only go left, right, or down. So, you have to plan a bit so you don’t block yourself from getting something like that golden gear. If you dig straight down, you aren’t completely stuck, however, as you can jump then dig left or right. So, you can fix your mistakes if you need to.
Collecting those gems, particularly the golden gears, is really what you’re after in Shovel Knight Dig. The more gems you collect, the more you’ll have to spend on permanent upgrades you can use to get permanent upgrades for later runs. Golden gears determine the amount of bonus gems you receive at the end of the level. The more gears, the more gems. So, getting to one of those is always something to prioritize.
As you’ll also see in the screenshot above, there are a lot of enemies to contend with, many of which you’ll be familiar with if you played Shovel Knight. Dispatching these is done in a very similar fashion, though the verticality of the levels definitely does change your approach sometimes. And, maybe you just want to dig down to pass them anyway rather than waste time.
Time is a precious resource in Shovel Knight Dig, as what’s not seen on the screen is a massive drill that is slowly making its way down the level. Much like the drill you do see there, imagine one that covers the entire width of the level. That’s your timer. So, know screwing around as you make quick decisions to get to the bottom.
The moment to moment gameplay in Shovel Knight Dig was always really fun and the fast decision making was always satisfying. Never did I feel as though I was cheated on a death—I either failed to execute something or made a bad decision. There’s plenty of risk vs reward calculations to quickly make too.
Shovel Knight has rapidly become, in terms of mascot, the Mario of the indie game scene, and anytime he’ll be the star of a game is worth taking note of. The awesome artwork and frantically fun gameplay make Shovel Knight Dig something to look forward to.
Shovel Knight Dig doesn’t have a release date yet, nor a confirmed list of platforms. This preview was played on a Nintendo Switch.