Shovel Knight is almost here -- just one more week until you can get your hands on it. But before then, Yacht Club Games has decided to share their thought process on how they're handling checkpoints, starting with the abandoned "invisible" point system, a la Mega Man -- you die, you start back at a pre-determined point. They then changed that to a "pay-per-use" checkpoint, which would have been a nice idea, but alienated newer players -- so they tossed it.
Finally, they arrived at (in my opinion), the best of both worlds -- visible checkpoints that you can smash for extra cash. In other words, new players get the benefit of a checkpoint, and veterans can earn extra cash in exchange for "giving up" a point.
I've been playing Shovel Knight a bit, and while I can't say much, I can say that I will be mentioning this system in my review, because I feel like it strikes a good balance for everyone involved.
Checkpoint Design [Yacht Club Games]