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Hands-On: Shovel Knight Showdown – PAX East 2019

It’s like Super Smash Bros but with shovels.

shovel knight showdown hands on at pax east 2019
Image: Yacht Club Games

Yacht Club games are on a roll – the ongoing success of Shovel Knight has been enough to get everyone’s attention. With that being said, the life of Shovel Knight’s original run is coming to an end, and the team is starting to expand into different games.

Fortunately for Shovel-fans, Shovel Knight Showdown is going to be another way to immerse yourself into the world of Shovel Knight for just a bit longer.

shovel knight showdown hands on at pax east 2019

Image: Yacht Club Games

Shovel Knight Showdown is a 4-player fighter that has you picking your favorite characters in the Shovel Knight universe and using their unique skills to beat down the other shovel knights from the Order of No Quarter and more.

While the PAX East demo version that I played on the Switch only featured a handful of characters from Shovel Knight, I was told by the developer that there would be at least 16 playable characters within the game. He also kept saying “wink wink” so take that as you may.

Each one of the Shovel Knights in Shovel Knight Showdown has its standard unique attacks and then a special attack. Specter Knight can lock on with his air slash or throw his scythes. Shield Knight can throw her shield and bounce it off of surfaces or dash through attacks.

Shovel Knight Showdown will feature at least a 16 playable characters with more to come, unofficially

shovel knight showdown hands on at pax east 2019

Image: Yacht Club Games

Each character felt unique and handled differently, which makes me excited to see the full roster. I played two games with Specter Knight because I couldn’t figure out how to switch and then one game as Shield Knight. Battles were quick, but at the same time super fun!

The game modes seem to differ based on the maps. In one map, it seemed that we fought each other and took gems until the match ended. In the end, we were rated on who had the most gems and kills. Whoever had the most together was crowned the victor.

shovel knight showdown hands on at pax east 2019

Image: Yacht Club Games

In another game mode, we had to battle to the first of five gems. They still had the tallies at the end, but it seemed like the tie-breaker was the one that actually captured the gems.

Shovel Knight Showdown pricing and availability

Shovel Knight Showdown will release for $9.99 on virtually everything (Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, Sony PS4, Sony PS3, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux, Amazon FireTV) or will be a free update for anyone owning Shovel Knight Treasure Trove. The release date is still TBD.

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Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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