Video Games

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment Review

by onMarch 20, 2017
Gameplay Time

5 Hours


Experience the tragic backstory of Specter Knight in this all-new prequel.

Time Period

Before Shovel Knight's Story


Shovel Knight


+ Fun Gameplay
+ Beautiful Art Style
+ Affordable Cost


- Too Short
- Difficulty Spikes in certain areas
- No Co-op

Editor Rating


Single Player


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Bottom Line

A wonderful game created by a talented studio that everyone should play, especially if they like platformers of old.


“Retro Inspired” is a phrase all too common nowadays, especially in the indie space. Very rarely does the combination of a game and retro inspired result in something beautifully well crafted such as the original Shovel Knight. The original was a very well made game, it didn’t  just rely on nostalgia to get your money. Yacht Club Games instead relied on great and addicting gameplay.

shovel knight

Specter of Torment logo

Specter of Torment is no different. It’s currently a Nintendo Switch exclusive and can be bought as a standalone or part of a package as Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. Specter of Torment is a prequel story starring one of the bad bosses from the original game.The art style is as beautiful as ever, it doesn’t use pixel are as a lazy excuse but actually, uses pixel arts to make some of the most beautiful stages and characters.

The art style is as beautiful as ever, it doesn’t use pixel are as a lazy excuse but actually, uses pixel arts to make some of the most beautiful stages and characters.

The music is this game is a joy to listen too, not only is it very retro but it’s actually quite catchy and good. Something that I might listen to on the way to work.

The story is well written, the characterisation in this prequel is wonderful. It delves into Specter Knight’s past through flashback sequences and dialogue. It creates a story where you understand what his motivations are, why he became Specter Knight.

What does this prequel actually add in terms of gameplay? While the levels are slightly similar when compared to original Shovel Knight, though it makes clever use of them while also introducing new stages as well. The way you play the game is also very different, Specter Knight feels faster to control, he’s a bit more agile, he’s a smoother character to control.

It feels like a new game. Remember in the original when Shovel Knight can bounce off the bubbles? Well, Specter Knight instead uses these lanterns to hook unto them. Instead of a shovel, he carries a giant scythe. Specter Knight also has the ability to run up walls, which the developer actually use this ability to create clever platforming puzzles.

A caveat though is a large amount of the abilities turn out to be under-utilised. There aren’t a lot of segments where you are required to use them, and more than likely you’ll rely on the deadly Scythe over anything else.

Despite its shortcomings. Specter of Torment is a fantastic addition to the gaming world. I highly recommend this game, to any fans of the original or old school platformers.

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