Percentile Rank

Shovel Knight is ranked in the 98th percentile of games scored on OpenCritic.

Rating Summary

Based on 68 critic reviews
Mighty Man

OpenCritic Rating

88

Top Critic Average

89%

Critics Recommend

Based on 68 critic reviews

Score Distribution

Unscored Reviews

Kotaku
Yes
Yes
Jun 26, 2014

Because it's the perfect five-hour play session.

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Nintendojo
A-
A-
Jun 29, 2014

It's rare that a developer can not only capture the magic of 8-bit classics, but improve upon them, but Shovel Knight does exactly that. This game is a true classic, and hopefully the first of many more to come from Yacht Club Games. Bravo.

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TotalBiscuit, The Cynical Brit
Unscored
Unscored
Jul 16, 2014
► WTF Is... - Shovel Knight ? video thumbnail
The A.V. Club
Unscored
Unscored
Jul 1, 2014

The game also sings because it's never a slave to the perceived merits of tradition. It would have been all too easy to, say, shove in some little floating Shovel Knight heads, making you collect pointless extra lives for no reason other than that's how things were done back in the good old days. Yacht Club Games is smarter than that, and their game is, too.

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The Jimquisition
Unscored
Unscored
Jul 7, 2018
Shovel Knight: The Switch To Switch Has No Hitch (Jimpressions) video thumbnail
Gamestyle
Unscored
Unscored
Dec 8, 2014

Overall, Shovel Knight is a brilliant game. Everything is does it does well and everything works. It's balanced and challenging and constantly offers up new surprises. The controls work perfectly, the levels and enemies are well designed and there's a nice chunk of humour in there as well. This probably is it for the 8-bit retro styled platformer as to beat this would really take something. We tried and tried but it simply cannot be faulted. It's just a magnificent game.

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Kritiqal
Unscored
Unscored
Dec 22, 2014

Shovel Knight is quite possibly the best faux-NES game I've ever played.

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Scored Reviews

USgamer
Jun 26, 2014

Shovel Knight is a loving homage to an era we left behind long ago. The graphics, gameplay, and soundtrack are all pitch-perfect for an NES game... all you're missing is the original cartridge. Yacht Club Games has crafted an amazing experience from beginning to end.

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Game Revolution
Jul 8, 2014

Play Shovel Knight. It is a damn delight.

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Twinfinite
5 / 5.0
5 / 5.0
Jul 7, 2014

With some of the tightest controls and game mechanics I have seen in years, Shovel Knight acquires an excellence that I seldom experience in games nowadays, making this game a class act well worth the $15 price tag whether you get it on Wii U, 3DS, or Steam. With a phenomenal soundtrack to accompany the thoroughly crafted lands and lovely 8-bit visuals, there's a lot to love and help you become enthralled in this retro-style world.

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GameZone
10 / 10.0
10 / 10.0
Jun 26, 2014

Maybe you missed the great games of the 8-bit era, or maybe you're a parent who wants to subject your children to the punishment of Castlevania, Battletoads, and Mega Man that you went through. For you, I think Shovel Knight goes beyond being a polished, fun, challenging experience. It's a curation of gaming history in a package that's palatable to today's audience.

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NintendoWorldReport
10 / 10.0
10 / 10.0
Jun 26, 2014

[W]hatever version you have access to, I can't recommend Shovel Knight any higher.

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ZTGD
10 / 10.0
ZTGD

Top Critic

10 / 10.0
May 5, 2015

I would say it's a must play for anyone old enough to remember blowing on a cartridge, but that would be selling it short. Nostalgia certainly enhances the experience, but this is a great game for anyone.

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Bit Cultures
95%
Bit Cultures
Dakota Scibilia
95%
Sep 16, 2015

All in all, Shovel Knight is just plain awesome. The game aimed high and hit the mark. Yacht Club Games were obviously out to honor some of the classics, and they did a damn fine job of it.

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Nintendo Enthusiast
9.5 / 10.0
Nintendo Enthusiast

Top Critic

9.5 / 10.0
Jun 26, 2014

It seems like forever ago since I first heard of Shovel Knight and with the continuous delays, the wait was never an easy one. It\'s no secret that I\'m a massive fan for old school Mega Man, so when Shovel Knight was classified as a "melee-focused Mega Man," it instantly became my most anticipated game. I purposefully ignored all of the trailers and previews, so I could go in blind and complete the nostalgia, pretending I just picked this game up off a store shelf without knowing much about it. It\'s rare that a game can live up to the hype and rarer still when a game surpasses it. I had no idea that Shovel Knight was going to be as good as it turned out.

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GameCrate
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Jul 3, 2014

Easily one of the best games of the year, Shovel Knight does the unthinkable. It maintains the style we've come to expect from the NES era of old, and yet somehow provides enough contemporary design and gameplay to make it easily fit into this generation of gaming. You'll absolutely dig it.

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GamingBolt
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Jul 22, 2014

Shovel Knight is a game that you should buy, plain and simple. It takes what could have been a simple nostalgia trip to a new level and shows that shovelry is alive and well.

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Destructoid
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Jun 26, 2014

Shovel Knight is one of the best platformers I've ever played, period. As I sit here with the theme song stuck in my head, I'm realizing that Yacht Club Games has created something truly special, and it was absolutely worth the risk to start their own studio. In addition to a potential Shovel Knight 2, I can't wait to see what they have in store for us down the road.

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Worth Playing
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Jun 5, 2015

Shovel Knight is a modern classic that takes the 2-D platforming genre and modernizes it. There are minor complaints here and there, but they're easily overlooked when you're having so much fun playing the game. The PlayStation 4 version runs perfectly, and since it's a cross-buy with the Vita version, it helps to make it feel well worth the $14.99 price tag. If you're a fan of Mega Man-style platformers or are looking for something that's both challenging and fair, Shovel Knight is a worthy purchase.

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gameranx
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Jul 14, 2014

I cannot recommend Shovel Knight enough. Whether you played games during the NES-era or not, Shovel Knight is both a great introduction and re-imagining of 8-bit platformers.

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DualShockers
9.5 / 10.0
9.5 / 10.0
Jun 26, 2014

Shovel Knight is a game that looks fondly on its past but its shovel-wielding hero can easily earn a seat next to the timeless Mario or Mega Man.

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PS3Blog.net
95%
95%
Mar 10, 2017

Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope is an excellent game you have to play today on the Nintendo Switch. The fact that this is the 3rd version of the game I've played (with Wii U and 3DS before it) and that I'm still having fun and didn't stop until I beat the game speaks volumes to its quality. If you're new to Shovel Knight, you're in for a treat! Grab Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove and you'll have plenty of content to keep you busy for a while.

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COGconnected
94 / 100
94 / 100
Aug 4, 2014

While paying tribute to the classics, Shovel Knight still feels unique with fantastic level designs that are extremely challenging and rewarding to complete. Add to that the beautiful visuals, a fantastic chiptune soundtrack, and memorable boss battles, it all adds up to Yacht Club Games love letter to 8-bit being an experience that one should not pass by.

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GearNuke
4.7 / 5.0
4.7 / 5.0
Aug 9, 2015

The game also has an incredible soundtrack that is a joint effort between Manami Matsumae from Megaman fame and Jake Kauffman. Both of these have created a soundtrack that is perfect fit for the game. The fast-paced songs fit the mood perfectly and are a joy to listen in the game.

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GameTrailers
9.3 / 10.0
9.3 / 10.0
Jun 25, 2014

Shovel Knight works well because it knows exactly what it wants to be. The people behind it have a clear love of retro games, and that collective passion has created something great. So often we play games that try to prey on nostalgia in the cheapest ways possible, whether it's half-hearted HD remakes or blatant ripoffs. Shovel Knight is one of the few games that not only honors the past, but something we may be reminiscing about for years to come.

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GamesBeat
93 / 100
93 / 100
Jun 25, 2014

Shovel Knight isn't just a nostalgic act. Yes, nostalgia plays a big part in its charm, but it's an expertly crafted action-platformer that's just as enjoyable to play as Mega Man or Castlevania. Old school gamers will love Shovel Knight's retro sensibilities, but they'll also appreciate its modern touches.

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Video Chums
9.2 / 10.0
9.2 / 10.0
Apr 24, 2015

Shovel Knight may have a few minor issues, but it represents the epitome of 8-bit gaming.

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IGN
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Jun 25, 2014

Shovel Knight -- in all of its old-school glory -- is arguably the best game released so far in 2014.

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GamesRadar+
Jun 26, 2014

A varied and charming platformer, only blighted when it lets players get a little overpowered.

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Polygon
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Jun 25, 2014

Shovel Knight is the kind of game people write love letters about

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God is a Geek
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Jul 8, 2014

Shovel Knight is a genuine success. While early play will entice comparisons due to its clear reverence of the past, the true mark of the game's quality is that, upon completion, you'll simply refer to it's many levels, bosses, and ideas, as Shovel Knight. The wonderful modern retro classic, Shovel Knight.

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Attack of the Fanboy
Jun 30, 2014

Shovel Knight is a true masterpiece of retro platforming. If you ever enjoyed an NES title and wanted to relive those days then this game was tailor-made for you.

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Post Arcade (National Post)
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Jun 25, 2014

In a sea of throwback, nostalgia driven pixel-art platformers, Shovel Knight is a fantastic modern take on the genre, and worthy of play even for those who never owned Nintendo's grey and black box

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GamingTrend
90 / 100
90 / 100
Apr 29, 2015

Shovel Knight on PlayStation is just as spectacular as it was last year and the extra content, while minor, is a welcome addition to an already awesome game.

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Game Rant
Jan 23, 2015

'Shovel Knight', from Yacht Club Games, is a well-crafted love letter to the 8-bit era of gaming, as well as being a fantastic and addictive 2D platformer.

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TechnoBuffalo
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Jul 5, 2014

Everything Shovel Knight does, it does incredibly well. It's balanced enough so that both old-timers and newcomers can find something to enjoy, and never once does it falter in its mission of paying tribute to classics.

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TrueAchievements
May 2, 2015

It can be challenging, frustrating and cause unwanted headaches, but despite all that you'll keep wanting to come back for more. Not everyone will be drawn in by an 8-bit, side-scrolling death fest in this day and age of gaming that seems overwhelmed by retro aesthetic titles, however, Shovel Knight rightly deserves a place among modern games. The amazing soundtrack and rewarding gameplay will spur you on right to the end, and even then you'll probably want to go back for another round of smacking things in the face with a shovel. The inspiration from 8-bit games of the past has caused a great feeling of nostalgia for many, and Shovel Knight is well worth the money and trip down memory lane if you prefer to be challenged on a regular basis. The game is proof that, although 8-bit side-scrollers look old, they certainly aren't outdated.

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PlayStation LifeStyle
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Apr 24, 2015

Shovel Knight is just what any veteran gamer's inner child needs. Between the tight platforming, nostalgia-inducing graphics, and pitch-perfect sound design, old-school gamers need look no further for their fix. Younger gamers will appreciate the modern additions of checkpoints and Cross-save functionality, while hardcore gamers can simply smash those checkpoints and reap the rewards. It's incredible to see a game that doesn't just imitate the 8-bit era, but perfectly embodies it.

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We Got This Covered
Jul 4, 2014

Shovel Knight combines everything that was great about some of the best games from the NES era, and turns those beloved mechanics into something fresh. It's a brilliant 2D action-platformer, which simply demands your attention.

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Slant Magazine
Apr 25, 2015

This isn't just a nostalgic copy of the games of the medium's youth, but also a fever dream of what the 8-bit era was capable of.

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Nintendo Life
9 / 10
9 / 10
Jun 25, 2014

Yacht Club Games has a hit on its hands with Shovel Knight. With brilliant game design, charming presentation and a ton of content, this is a wonderful first title from the fledgling developer. It will only get better with post-release content, and if Shovel Knight becomes the hit it deserves to be, gamers will hopefully be seeing much more of Yacht Club Games — and its plucky mascot — in the coming months and years.

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PCMag
Jun 26, 2014

Shovel Knight is one of the best "8-bit" video games to come along since the actual days of 8-bit systems.

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FNintendo
9 / 10
9 / 10
Dec 8, 2014

Bringing back all that made older classics into unforgettable games and pushing aside all their technology constraints using modern methods of game design, Shovel Knight is the perfect flagship of a piece of retrgaming made in the 21st century.

Review in Portuguese | Read full review

CGMagazine
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Jun 26, 2014

The controls are tight; the difficulty has a fair ramping curve, there are many secrets to uncover, and the Relic sub weapons are satisfying to use. For anyone who's been dying for a game in the vein of Megaman, they should dig this retro styled gem.

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Hardcore Gamer
4.5 / 5.0
4.5 / 5.0
Apr 30, 2015

When we reviewed Shovel Knight at its initial release back in June 2014, we were amazed by its impeccable design, rock-solid mechanics and loving homages to classic games. All of those aspects still ring true on PS4, and Yacht Club Games has without a doubt successfully replicated one of 2014's finest experiences on Sony's flagship console.

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Gamers FTW
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Apr 26, 2015

Shovel Knight easily cements itself as one of the best titles available on the PS Vita and considering the calibre of the PS Vita's library, that is no small feat.

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GameSpew
9 / 10
9 / 10
Apr 29, 2015

Shovel Knight manages to feel unique and fresh, which is a highly commendable feat indeed

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Digitally Downloaded
Jun 29, 2014

There are plenty of reasons to love Shovel Knight, and I'm sure more seasoned gamers than I will relish its mechanics, tight controls, or obsessiveness with all things retro. But more importantly, it's easy to fall in love with a game that manages to breathe new life into old mechanics, without feeling like a retro-throwback that is content with playing the same hand we were dealt all those years ago. It's the perfect example of a passion project done right, one that realises that it is important to look back, in order to move forward.

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Cubed3
9 / 10
Cubed3

Top Critic

9 / 10
Jul 22, 2014

For Yacht Club Games, Shovel Knight is one heck of a game to start its new studio with, so here's hoping it can keep up this high level of quality and polish with future titles!

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Pure Xbox
9 / 10
9 / 10
Apr 28, 2015

Shovel Knight is magnificent, and even though it's technically less than a year old, it already feels like a classic.

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High-Def Digest
Apr 26, 2015

Nostalgia is its own genre of film, TV, and music these days, which isn't necessarily a good or bad thing, with enough creativity employed. 'Shovel Knight', however, is a better kind of nostalgia, the kind that proves there's still plenty of life in a concept rather than trying to remind an audience the concept was good once. 'Shovel Knight' isn't an attempt to remind us of better games; it IS the better game.

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GameSkinny
GameSkinny
Nintendude_13

Top Critic

Sep 22, 2016

The game may look old, but it's got plenty to teach you! Try it and you won't regret it.

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GameSkinny
Jun 29, 2014

Yacht Club Games "Shovel Knight" is a testament to what gaming was in the past and what it can be today. Not only does it feature old school graphics and gameplay but they've crafted that all types of gamers can relate and enjoy their crafted masterpiece. An indie gem that should not not be missed by anyone who enjoys gaming.

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Game Informer
8.8 / 10.0
8.8 / 10.0
Jun 26, 2014

A captivating, breezy journey that saves the most punishing levels for last. A New Game Plus boosts the replayability factor

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Impulsegamer
4.2 / 5.0
4.2 / 5.0
Sep 25, 2015

Shovel Knight perfectly encapsulates what is so great about playing modern-retro games inspired by the 8-bit era of the 1980s and early 90's without being derivative or trapped in the past.

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Kill Screen
81 / 100
81 / 100
Jun 26, 2014

Shovel Knight may be retro, but it's forward-thinking.

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PC Gamer
80 / 100
80 / 100
Jul 2, 2014

Shovel Knight lovingly recreates the simple pleasures of 8-bit platformers and improves on them with modern ideas that make every level different and worth playing.

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Metro GameCentral
8 / 10
8 / 10
Apr 29, 2015

One of the best retro homages of recent years, that cleverly combines the best elements of older 2D games with plenty of new ideas of its own.

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Giant Bomb
Jun 25, 2014

Many games try to use nostalgia to lure you in, but few of them are as well-made as Shovel Knight.

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Shacknews
8 / 10
8 / 10
Jun 26, 2014

Shovel Knight is everything good about a bygone era, acting as a reminder of why classic platformers were so loved... and hated.

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Toronto Sun
Jul 11, 2014

Still, it's so very refreshing to find a true gem in the ever-expanding rockpile of retro-influenced games, and Shovel Knight is a wonderful love letter to some of the classics that many of us grew up with. You will dig it.

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New Game Network
75 / 100
75 / 100
Feb 11, 2015

A difficult, fun, and fitting tribute to a simpler time, Shovel Knight can't quite dig its way to becoming an all-time great.

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Eurogamer
7 / 10
7 / 10
Jun 25, 2014

There is gold in these old genres, and Shovel Knight is a successful dig.

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GameSpot
7 / 10
7 / 10
Jun 25, 2014

Shovel Knight recalls, but doesn't rely on, many greats from gaming's past, but lacks the inventive spark that could have elevated it to classic territory.

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The Escapist
Jun 25, 2014

A fun action platformer that remains incredibly frustrating by taking a few too many cues from Castlevania's jerkiest moments, Shovel Knight is satisfying and infuriating in equal measure. It's also a damn fine callback to the days of yore in a world where callbacks are a dime a dozen, and rarely this well done.

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EGM
7 / 10.0
7 / 10.0
Jun 26, 2014

Shovel Knight is a pretty stellar homage to simpler times, but it's so unabashedly an homage that it never steps out of the shadows cast by the components it's built from—DuckTales, Mega Man, Simon's Quest. And while derivative doesn't necessarily mean bad—far from it in Shovel Knight's case—it certainly doesn't make it any less pandering in a lot of ways.

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The Game Fanatics
6.8 / 10.0
6.8 / 10.0
Dec 19, 2014

Shovel Knight was fun for a while, but it didn't do enough to keep my interest the whole way through. A very good old school platformer that doesn't do enough to earn a place in modern gaming. If you're feeling particularly nostalgic, go ahead, otherwise you might want to play something a bit more ambitious.

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Niche Gamer
6.5 / 10.0
6.5 / 10.0
Jun 26, 2014

I only made such strong comparisons because Shovel Knight is very blatantly borrowing from Mega Man and Castlevania. The formulas for those games work so perfectly well for a reason, and while I am not saying that it is wrong to try and innovate on them, Shovel Knight could have, perhaps, found a better way to do so.

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