The virtues of Shovel Knight are extolled all over the place on the Internet, but here's what I liked about it:
- It's challenging, but not unreasonable. There is no concept of extra lives - you can restart from the last checkpoint as many times as you want. (You do lose money when you lose a life, but you can get it back if you make it back to the spot where you perished.) The only catch is that if you do back out of a level, the game forgets everything that happened while you were there (good or bad).
- In the few situations where I felt like a particular challenge was totally hopeless, the answer wasn't "keep trying" or even "look it up". It was to obtain and use a particular item. That is the correct answer.
- There are three or four really good, catchy tunes. Too many games these days have "mood music" that contributes to the feel but doesn't really help make the game or the situation memorable.
- There's some pretty amusing humor stuff going on
- The hero is pretty likeable. He's blue like Mega Man, noble like Link, etc.
The gameplay is completely different - Plague Knight fights with bombs instead of a shovel, and the power-ups can be used to configure those bombs at any time. It turns out being easier I think, but it's still challenging - really it feels like a completely different game.