Product provided for this review by Yacht Club Games.
Three years ago, a little game called Shovel Knight was released. It was praised both critically and commercially for not only being fun but as a tribute to the games of yesteryear. A year later, Yacht Club Games releases its first expansion, Plague of Shadows, serving as a what-if story with Plague Knight as the protagonist. It was a great expansion that offered something different. Now Yacht Club Games is back at it again with the second expansion called Specter of Torment. The focus shifts on the scythe wielding Specter Knight but can this second expansion deliver just as well as the last one?
Unlike the previous two campaigns, Specter of Torment is a prequel to the original Shovel Knight. It centers on Specter Knight as he’s ordered by The Evil Enchantress to gather knights from all over the region to form her Order of No Quarter. In addition, the campaign details on Specter Knight’s origins. It is an interesting premise and adds more to the lore of the Shovel Knight world.
Shovel Knight has always been best known for its gameplay and presentation. The gameplay still is excellent in the case of Specter of Torment. Since Specter Knight is the focus, he plays differently than the previous two. He packs a scythe that can be used offensively against foes and is also used as a means to move about. He can do a dash strike either diagonally up or down and it doubles as a dash. He can walk up on walls for a few seconds, allowing wall climbing. He is fueled by darkness and in turn, has access to several “curios” or relics that offer unique advantages. To get those, he has to collect red skulls in each level and exchange them. The abilities can also be upgraded too. Like Shovel and Plague Knight, he can get garb that can change how he plays. It adds more variety to a character that can provide so much.
There is no world map for instead you have the castle that serves as a hub for all your needs. Similar to the Mega Man series, you have the option to choose your stage. It’s good in case one level is tough, you can try another that’s easier. As far as length goes, it’ll take you 4-6 hours to beat and New Game + adds more hours into it along with the challenges providing a lot for your money’s worth. I’m serious. For $10 (or $25 if you get the Treasure Trove Pack), it offers a lot.
The presentation is simply a sight to behold. Though it’s old school, the detail is amazing. It amazes on how a game like this provide so much and fact is, Yacht Club Games captures the feel of old school games for the modern era. Specter of Torment should get praise for its music. Jake Kaufman is back at it again delivering music that makes your ears fill with excitement. They are remixed, yes but they also feel original. Good much alongside great gameplay and a strong presentation really makes this a surefire hit. I love it personally. Now I only wish that we would get the soundtrack for this.
As for anything negative, I couldn’t find any that hinders the game. Absolutely none. The game can be hard but it’s a good kind of hard, something that is sadly missed nowadays. I’m happy that it can be challenging and it doesn’t punish the player as much. From my experience, I say that it is a game that’s worth playing plus it does detail what would soon follow in the events of Shovel Knight’s campaign. People that couldn’t get it on the Switch will have to wait a month before this comes out for all the other consoles. If you purchased the Treasure Trove Edition, the game also comes with the option to body swap in Shovel Knight’s campaign. You can mix the genders of all the characters involved for some crazy possibilities.
Specter of Torment offers a lot at a reasonable price giving us a new playable character, hours of replay value and other additional features. Yacht Club Games hits it out of the park yet again with another expansion to an otherwise amazing game. With King Knight’s expansion on the horizon, I can say that Spectre of Torment is one that is worthy to be knighted… with a shovel of all things. You know what they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
I give Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment a perfect 10 out of 10. This game is worth your money, that’s a fact.