Dig your way to victory
Shovel Knight is an amalgamation of a lot of old school 2D platformers, most notably Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and Mega Man. As such, it involves a decent amount of tricky jumps, boss fights, and some adventure elements that are a bit more cryptic than the average game.
Here are some basic tips to help you on your way to New Game+.
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- Spend your money often, and try to use it on permanent upgrades like health and magic. You never know when you're going to die constantly in any given level, which eradicates your gold coffers. You can just quit the level to get everything back like you never started the stage, but you'll lose your current progress on said level.
- Buy the fishing rod immediately, as well as the two chalices from the basement of the first town you encounter. The chalices function like bottles from the Legend of Zelda games, allowing you to purchase potions from the lake area, or find potions yourself by fishing. If you see sparkles coming from a pit, fish there.
- After you die, you'll leave money bags floating in the air -- sometimes, they are inaccessible due to a pit. Use your fishing rod to grab them without putting yourself in danger.
- Attack every wall with an icon on it. These icons will usually correspond to the theme of the stage (a skull for instance), and will typically lead to a hidden location with extra treasure or a completely new item.
- While you can skip some of the smaller enemies in the game, the bigger they are, the more loot they drop. Make a point to fight mini-bosses and don't just breeze past them. You'll reap rewards far greater than the challenge they pose.
- Save your Bard scrolls (which net you 500 gold each) for when you need to make a "backup" purchase immediately -- kind of like saving Soul items in a Souls game. You never know when you need just a little more cash to get that massive upgrade.
When you're starting a level, always ensure that you have a few thousand on-hand -- every castle has a special item you can find in it, but you'll have to buy it. If you miss the item, you can buy it in the first town's basement after you beat the level.
- When you're in town, try slicing the sign-posts to max out your magic.
- Use the phase locket from the Specter Knight level as an offensive tool more often than a tool to hide or dodge with. By using it constantly on a boss, even though it only nets you a few seconds of invincibility, you can get a ton of great hits in consecutively without taking damage.
- Use the jump-combo to maximize your damage on a boss. When you shovel an enemy, you have a recoil of sorts that prevents you from spamming your attack. Instead, jump in and lead with a jump slice, then slice again, then jump and slice again to get three hits in the time it takes you to do one standing slice. Be very aggressive with bosses, as constant attacking can clear up to one fourth of their health in corners.
- You can "cancel" the pogo animation by slicing the air quickly. Use this in levels where constantly pogoing would cause your death by clearing out the ground below you.
- While most of the bosses are pretty self explanatory, Propeller Knight can be kind of tricky if you jump around everywhere and panic. Just stand in the middle of the ledge when he breaks down the arena to get the most room and avoid falling into the pit.
- Lastly, at the very end of the game, try to end every gauntlet fight in the middle of the battle area. That way you can quickly slice the food container and get back up to full health without getting hit.