This article was written by BigBossMan538. If you have any questions for him you can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
In recent years, Nintendo has welcomed the representation of non-Nintendo characters. From Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog in Super Smash Bros Brawl to Mega Man, Pac-Man, Ryu, Cloud, and Bayonetta in Super Smash Bros For Wii U and 3DS. This even extends to trophies such as Zero from Mega Man X, and, interestingly, Commander Video from the indie series Bit.Trip.Runner. Since the Smash Ballot in 2015, people argued that Smash needs an indie representative. While Nintendo doesn’t choose characters based on what they represent, there are definitely indie characters worth looking into for newcomer ideas. My personal favorite is the titular Shovel Knight!
Who is Shovel Knight?
Shovel Knight is the titular character of the action-adventure platform game released in 2014 for a plethora of the major game platforms. Shovel Knight is an adventurer who travelled the land with his beloved Shield Knight plundering for treasure. One day in the Tower of Fate an evil amulet unleashes a tremendous power. Shovel Knight was the only one who managed to escape only to lose his dear friend. Shovel Knight then goes in hiding ashamed. Then, a figure called the Enchantress and her Order of No Quarter wreak havoc on the land bringing Shovel Knight out of retirement to stop them.
The game received critical acclaim from critics and gamers alike and has, at the time I write this, sold one million copies. It currently holds an 85/100 on Metacritic and an 8.0 average from users. Shovel Knight would go on to be in many other indie games including but not limited to Yooka-Laylee, Blaster Master Zero, and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
Importance to Series/Nintendo?
As I’ve stated before, Shovel Knight is the titular character of his home game and is very prominent in gaming culture with his many cameos. Nintendo has also lent a hand to Yacht Club Games a couple of times. They published the game on Nintendo systems in Japan and even helped create an official amiibo figure. Yacht Club Games also has expressed interest in Shovel Knight being in Smash during the days of the Smash Ballot.
How could he play?
Niche: Shovelrous Knight
Boxing Ring Title: Blue Burrower
Shovel Knight would be a defensive disjoint zoner/turtle character in Smash. His bread and butter is keeping opponents at bay using his Shovel Blade and prompting opponents into making mistakes to deal damage and earn K.O.s.
In terms of presentation, I wanted Shovel Knight to have sound effects from his game accompanying his animations. Like Mega Man, Shovel Knight’s animations would also pay homage to his source game only modified where they’re needed.
In terms of alternate colors Shovel Knight would have (from left to right) his standard blue armor, the green second player color, the silver Dynamo Mail, the purple Conjurer’s Coat, the red Final Guard, the black Mail of Momentum, the gold Ornate Plate, and an original color: a dark blue armor for the sake of having an eighth color.
Some believe that a character needs a gimmick or special features such as Robin’s Weapon Durability and Limited Spells to be interesting. While this can work for some characters it won’t work for all.
Cramming in a gimmick can make a character’s moveset feel cluttered and unwieldy. Shovel Knight, I believe, doesn’t need a gimmick.
Shovel Knight would fight like he does in his game: an honorable knight that just happens to use a shovel as a weapon. This would lead to many of his attacks being based around digging and scooping motions. Perfect for physical zoning, defensive play, and keeping enemies at bay! As I’ll discuss later, some attacks will be fairly silly to take advantage of Shovel Knight’s humorous moments. Shovel Knight’s stocky frame and armor also helps him survive enemy abuse. His weight would be on par with R.O.B and his height would be similar to Wario (not counting the horns.)
Kirby’s Hat for Shovel Knight is just his helmet, and he gains Chaos Sphere.
Attacks, Animations, etc.
Jumps onto the stage and thrusts his shovel into the air.
Neutral stance like in his home game.
Makes a, “Bring it!” gesture with his shovel.
Puts his hand to his chin thoughtfully.
At low percent, it’s his damage animation from his game.
Shovel Thrust. A low knockback scooping attack that combos into itself at low percent. Used to maintain distance between you and the enemy.
Prods the enemy with his shovel.
Scoops enemies upwards with his shovel.
A short-ranged Drop Spark.
Shovel Knight does a dashing swing with his weapon ALA Roy. Used for quick punishes.
Shovel Knight strikes a heroic pose serving as a “get off me” attack.
The aerial Shovel Thrust.
A backwards slash reminiscent of the Charge Handle.
Shovel Knight thrusts his shovel upwards like Link’s attack in Zelda 2, an inspiration for his game.
The Shovel Drop! Has some end lag if you land on the ground without hitting anything. After bouncing once, you return to a neutral aerial stance.
Reaches out with his free hand.
Bashes the opponent with the handle of the shovel.
Punts enemies like a golf ball with his shovel.
Heaves the enemy over his shoulders as if shoveling dirt.
Scoops enemies upwards.
Slams enemy with the flat end of his shovel.
Charge Handle. Shovel Knight quickly swings his weapon. Powerful, but has some lag after execution.
An upwards shovel swing as if Shovel Knight was heaving dirt.
Slams both sides of him with the flat end of his shovel.
Neutral Special 1
Chaos Sphere. The more it bounces off enemies, shields, walls, etc. the faster and more powerful it becomes. Useful to open up enemies for follow-ups.
Flare Rod. A single fireball that travels 3/4ths of Final Destination. Can only be shot one at a time.
Throwing Anchor. A powerful anchor thrown in an arch. Somewhat short-range and cannot be picked up by anybody.
Side Special 1
Dust Knuckle. Shovel Knight punches with powerful knuckles. If the first hit connects with an opponent or shield, press the special button again to perform a powerful follow-up punch that deals good damage and knockback. Very punishable if the first punch whiffs.
Quick Knuckle. Shovel Knight performs a faster, weaker punch that travels farther and doesn’t need to connect in order to activate.
Brutish Knuckle. Shovel Knight winds up a mighty punch. Like the default side special but slower and much stronger.
Up Special 1
Propeller Dagger. Shovel Knight propels himself with this quirky flying weapon. Bounces off the enemy and can be propelled straight left, right, up, or anything in between. Can be used out of shielding.
Whirling Dagger. Shovel Knight spins around dealing more damage ALA Wario’s Corkscrew. Can only go upwards with minor adjusting of direction.
Windy Dagger. Shovel Knight sacrifices all power in order to go farther. Has a wind box to push enemies away.
Down Special 1
War Horn. A powerful instrument that knocks enemies back and destroys all projectiles. The more it’s spammed, however, the weaker and shorter-ranged it becomes.
Shocking Horn. Emits a blast that is faster, but weaker, and stuns enemies for follow-ups. Only destroys weak projectiles (Blaster fire, Thunder Jolt, etc.)
Explosive Horn. Sacrifice range for power by unleashing a fiery explosion. Does not destroy projectiles.
Shovel Knight sees Shield Knight falling from the sky and must catch her before she hits the ground! Shovel Knight gets several buffs: His strength is increased, he deals more knockback, he’s somewhat faster, and his defense increases significantly. There is some time for Shovel Knight to take advantage of these buffs before Shield Knight appears on-screen. When Shield Knight appears on-screen, everything (except the timer) slows down. Catch Shield Knight and you’ll unleash a light slightly larger than a Smart Bomb that can K.O. foes. If Shield Knight hits the ground, then nothing happens.
Shovel Knight thrusts his weapon into the air triumphantly with the accompanying music note.
Shovel Knight pulls out a purple gem, inspects it, and puts it away.
Shovel Knight plants his weapon in the ground, puts his free hand on his hip, and puffs out his chest.
Shovel Knight thrusts his weapon into the air multiple times like when he defeats a boss.
Shovel Knight ‘plays air guitar’ with his weapon before striking a pose.
Shovel Knight puts out his campfire before hurrying off to his next challenge.
Finally, Shovel Knight’s victory theme is taken from the opening snippet of his games main theme (0:00-0:11)
Special thanks to NantenJex, PushDustin, TheAnvil, and Nirbion for their support for me and this project. It means a lot, guys. If you want to follow my social media, I have a Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube account if you’re interested. I hope to make more videos on video games such as reviews, countdown lists, and whatever else I can think about. Thank you for reading.
If video game historian was a career that would be my goal in life. I have spent a lot of my life studying various histories and so I am super familiar with sourcing, which is pretty essential for this site and just a good thing to do in general so you do not spread lies. I have a huge fascination with the old days and ips with Nintendo. There is so much potential for old franchises like Balloon Fight, Marvelous, Nazo no Murusame Jo and more to come back in the modern age. At least Smash celebrates those games! My focus for source gaming are the Dream articles and working on Project Omega. I hope you enjoy reading my work.