Now that it’s resting proudly on my shelf, the Shovel Knight amiibo has become one of my favorites. The quality of the figure is remarkable, with the Blue Burrower standing proudly upon his unique base with shovel at the ready. Anyone concerned a third party character wouldn’t match the standard of Nintendo’s lineup of figures can rest easy: Shovel Knight fits right in. While there are some minor differences in the make, such as the base, these distinctions are more tactile than visual and do not detract from the quality we’ve come to expect from amiibo. Most welcome is the omission of the metal sheets most amiibo have beneath their base and the plastic casing. In box collectors rejoice, Shovel Knight can be fully used without opening!

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My recent review makes it clear: I think Shovel Knight is an amazing game worth playing even before the amiibo’s release. With the amiibo now out, I feel it’s a worthy and recommended addition to that pedigree. The Wii U version of the game sees the most benefit, gaining a co-op mode for two players to take on The Order of No Quarter together. Players share treasure as far as totals go but are tallied individually for the sake of a post-level competitive ranking. Knights cannot harm each other but are able to Shovel Drop off their partner’s helms, reaching new heights. Upon death, the other player can gather up the lost loot, and rejoining is as simple as pressing a button, though at the cost of half your partner’s health. Be wary though, as bosses gain more health to compensate the two-on-one fights. Add in a handful of co-op only challenges outside of the main adventure and you have the most complete and mode-filled version of Shovel Knight available.

Co-op isn’t the only addition the amiibo brings, and everything past this point is available in the 3DS version as well. My favorite is the Custom Knight mode: a means of playing through Shovel Knight’s campaign with an entirely different kind of progression for stats and equipment. In the standard game you would collect treasure to buy all of these, with some health upgrades coming naturally and relics being findable off the beaten path in stages. Custom Knight instead gains these as they level up, with experience coming from gold and treasure. The progression is random, making every experience unique as you level up to fifty, the maximum.

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Some of these rewards are unique to Custom Knight, providing new spins on existing equipment or completely new ideas to the game. There are also cosmetic options, such as changing your armor color and unique gestures. A few of the relics were previously available only in Plague of Shadows, allowing Shovel Knight himself to try some alchemical concoctions. Speaking of which, all amiibo features are locked out of Plague Knight’s campaign and also disable any sort of feats you could otherwise earn. These limitations, while understandable, represent the only possible detractions from the amiibo additions.

For anyone who is a fan of Shovel Knight on Nintendo platforms the amiibo is a fantastic addition. At the standard retail price of $12.99 you gain the ability to access a new mode, what is effectively a new character (with a host of new, exclusive equipment and ability options), and a handful of extra challenges. Add the aforementioned quality of the figure itself and it may be the most feature-filled amiibo since the Splatoon triple pack. Dig out your wallets, because this one is definitely worth a purchase!

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Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.

Ricky Berg