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Hands-on – Shovel Knight: King of Cards – PAX East 2019

I enjoyed, yet struggled a bit with my time playing King of Cards but I look forward to seeing the finished product.

shovel knight king of card demo at PAX East 2019
Image: Yacht Club Games

Yes, it’s true. I have actually played the oft-delayed final game of the Shovel Knight Treasure Trove series. It’s real and it is coming out this year. Rejoice.

To jump right in, Shovel Knight: King of Cards starts with King Knight trying to become the king after winning the Joustus. This means that he is traveling across the kingdoms and defeating the leaders. Just like Plague Knight, Specter Knight, and Shovel Knight, King Knight handles in his own special way. He attacks by dashing forward and then spinning into the air when he makes contact with walls or enemies. This creates a lot of vertical gameplay because King Knight damages enemies as he comes down.

shovel knight king of cards demo at PAX East 2019

Image: Yacht Club Games

A lot of the platforming in Shovel Knight: King of Cards is really dependent on King Knight’s dashing abilities. The levels I played had me spending more time keeping King Knight in the air and using his abilities to do things like move platforms and kill enemies. I was told that Shovel Knight: King of Cards will also have a mini-game that is going to be very similar to Triple Triad. Not something I am a huge fan of, but OK.

Playing a few levels of Shovel Knight: King of Cards showed me that the level variety didn’t really differ from any of the other Shovel Knight games as far as how to get through the level. What I did find in my playthrough was that bosses seemed way more difficult than in prior games. In the limited scope I had to play the game, the room for error was marginal but health was fortunately easy to come by. I really felt like the fights were longer but maybe I’m rusty.

shovel knight king of cards demo at pax east 2019

Image: Yacht Club Games

After getting to play the game, I was able to ask a little bit about when we could expect the game to release. I was told that the game was extremely close to submit and could likely be after PAX East. I was told that there was some obvious hesitation because of the game’s history and the struggles to get to this point. Fortunately, at the end of everything, the game is out and the official release is in the near immediate future.

I enjoyed, yet struggled a bit with my time playing King of Cards but I look forward to seeing the finished product. Shovel Knight: King of Cards releases sometime soon for Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS,  Nintendo Switch, Sony PS3, Sony PS4, Sony Vita, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux, Amazon FireTV.

Are you looking forward to Shovel Knight: King of Cards? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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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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