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Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon trailer takes the indie icon to new depths

Yacht Club Games has revealed the next game in the Shovel Knight franchise: a puzzle game called Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon.

The next step in the Shovel Knight's never-ending journey is here, and this time around he'll be digging right into your pocket in Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon.

Shovel Knight developer Yacht Club Games held a live presentation Wednesday highlighting the developer's upcoming game lineup, including updates on the likes of Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, Cyber Shadow, and Shovel Knight Dig. The biggest and most exciting surprise was a trailer for Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon.

This new title by Vine and Yacht Club Games brings Shovel Knight into a brand new genre that plunges into the depths of your pocket in the form of a dungeon-crawler puzzle game.

As the title subtly suggests, Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon is essentially a falling block puzzle game that somewhat resembles Candy Crush in some regards. That being said, the game also splices in some interesting action elements more akin to Shovel Knight's DNA. Each puzzle functions as a room in a dungeon that players will have to navigate through by clearing out enemies and finding keys. Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon will also feature over 10 playable characters, even featuring feature new characters like Puzzle Knight.

Yacht Club Games promises that Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon will feature a story mode in addition to straightforward puzzles, though there will be other ways to play it as well. In typical puzzle game fashion, Pocket Dungeon will have a 2-player competitive versus mode that features portraits of the characters akin to classic puzzle games like Tetris Attack and Kirby's Avalanche.

The series' distinct soundtrack shouldn't drift too far off course either as Jake Kaufman is once again helming the soundtrack. (For a brief taste of all of these elements, watch Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon's reveal trailer above.)

According to the developer Vine, the game has been in development for about one year.

A screenshot of Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon's unique gameplay.

The Inverse Analysis

While we're still waiting for the next full Shovel Knight experience, it's great to see that Yacht Club Games is willing to branch out and work with other indie developers on titles like Shovel Knight Dig and Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon. It's been no secret that Yacht Club Games always hoped Shovel Knight would reach some sort of indie icon status, and it's safe to say after so many releases and announcements that this is definitely the case.

What surprises me more with Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon than any of Yacht Club Games' other projects is that the game wildly deviates in its genre in a way that's really intriguing. The Shovel Knight series has thus far tended to stick to its sidescrolling roots, so it seemed unlikely that it would ever branch out in the puzzle genre further than King of Cards' card game portions. Though I am still a bit nervous about how the series will make the transition, the developers have consistently met a high bar of quality and I don't see any reason why that would be different with Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon.

Shovel Knight: Pocket Dungeon will be released fall 2020.

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