Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon Announced (And It Looks Like Tetris)
In December of 2019, Yacht Club Games’ indie hit Shovel Knight was completed, a full five years after its initial release. This wasn’t due to the original game being unfinished or lacking in features, as is the impetus for many updates added after the fact to AAA games, but because Yacht Club continued to implement four unique story campaigns into the original game client, each one starring a new character (in addition to a stand-alone fighting game mode), at no additional cost to those who already owned it. Since then, Yacht Club has announced two new, separate games, both still in the Shovel Knight universe: the Spelunky-like Shovel Knight Dig, in August 2019, and the just-announced Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon, a puzzle game spin-off.
The basis for Pocket Dungeon is the template first set by Tetris back in the gaming stone age—gameplay takes place on a rectangular grid, into which blocks are falling from the top of the screen. From there, Pocket Dungeon adds dungeon crawling and combat mechanics that add up to something a bit more contemporary.
Blocks falling into the game area, unlike Tetris‘s tetrominoes, are only a single grid-square in size. Each block is also a thing you would find in a dungeon, be it an enemy, a type of terrain or a potion. Blocks only advance by one grid square each time the player moves Shovel Knight, but a bar at the bottom of the screen encourages player momentum, running out as soon as the player becomes inactive. Shovel Knight can destroy contiguous blocks of a kind by running into them with his shovel, and in the case of some enemies, gradually reducing a small health bar to zero.
It’s a little bit Crypt of the Necrodancer, with each individual player move inciting the enemies on screen to advance by one move, and a little bit Grindstone, with its chains of baddies, but rather than wear those influences on its sleeve, they look to be sublimated into an experience that’s uniquely Shovel Knight.
A platform or platforms have yet to be announced, though the inclusion of “pocket” in the name seems to suggest a mobile release. More information can be found on Yacht Club’s website.
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