Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon is 2021’s Best Puzzle Game

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A very powerful sport on any gadget is the one you’ll be able to maintain coming again to if you’re out of issues to play. For me, that’s a very good puzzle sport. Dr. Mario: Miracle Treatment, of all issues, was considered one of my most-played Nintendo 3DS video games. Every time I had some downtime between video games, I all the time knew I might pop it open and bust some drugs for hours on finish.

Regardless of a wealth of choices, I’ve struggled to search out type of that sport on Nintendo Change … till now. Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon, a brand new spinoff sport for the Shovel Knight collection, is strictly what I’ve been craving. It’s a quick, addictive puzzle sport that has me saying “only one extra spherical” for hours on finish.

Dig it

Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon places a brand new spin on a well-known idea. In its story mode, gamers management Shovel Knight, who will get sucked right into a puzzle dungeon. The indie icon is thrown right into a collection of grids that refill with enemies, breakable blocks, and health-restoring potions. You may guess the place that is going: Clear the board by chaining matching icons collectively.

However there’s much more happening than in your common “Match 3” sport. It’s basically a dungeon crawler in the midst of a conventional puzzle sport. Fairly than tapping icons, gamers really management Shovel Knight, who seems on the grid. He must bodily navigate round and bash issues together with his shovel to interrupt them. All that occurs whereas extra stuff regularly falls from the highest of the display (if the display fills up, it’s sport over). That creates a fast-paced stream the place gamers must continually carve a path via the board by jabbing obstacles. Spatial consciousness is essential.

On high of that, Shovel Knight has well being factors. Each time he hits an enemy, they hit him again for a number of factors. Grabbing a potion restores some well being, so gamers want to determine when to assault and when to heal. Gadgets, like bombs or momentary weapons, populate the board sometimes as effectively, which may change the tide of battle if used on the proper time. It isn’t about mindlessly tapping icons, however determining the appropriate order of operations in a continually evolving puzzle board.

A versus battle in Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon.

It’s a high-speed juggling act that earned my full consideration. I rapidly discovered myself in a type of rhythmic trance due to the wonderful soundtrack that includes remixes of basic Shovel Knight tracks. With out realizing it, I used to be shifting on beat as if I used to be enjoying Crypt of the NecroDancer or Tetris Beat. Each time I hit an enemy, I get a satisfying “thwack” that appears like a snare drum or handclap. It seems like I’m working in live performance with the music, which pushes my mind to maintain up with the tempo.

Staying hooked

There are further gameplay twists that clean up the core puzzle hook. The sport has a roguelite construction the place gamers must clear a collection of boards and combat basic Shovel Knight bosses. Lose and also you’ll begin from the highest. Throughout a run, gamers should purchase relics which have completely different results, like growing the variety of bombs that spawn or including +1 harm on each preliminary enemy hit. Whereas there aren’t tons to select from, there are sufficient that I used to be in a position to put collectively some fairly wild builds that made me really feel invincible.

Shovel Knight hangs out in a campsite in Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon.

What actually retains me coming again, although, is the sport’s solid of playable characters. Anytime a boss is defeated, gamers can use them within the journey. Every one has its personal particular mechanic that fully modifications the sport. Plague Knight has decreased HP, however poisons enemies on contact. Specter Knight, however, regains well being from killing enemies, however takes harm from potions. Every character has me rethinking how I deal with every board and thoroughly selecting relics that greatest match their enjoying type.

Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon does every part a very good puzzle sport is meant to do and extra. It’s simple to select up and play, however I really feel myself itching to grasp all 13 of its characters. I get the sense that there are some secrets and techniques to its story that I haven’t found, which has me pushing on lengthy after finishing a run. A every day problem, versus mode, and leaderboards spherical out the package deal, giving me all of the substances I want for a puzzle sport that’s going to journey its approach to the highest of my Nintendo Change exercise log.

Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon launches on December 13 for Nintendo Change, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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