A simple, touching and effective story surprising strength of the original Shovel Knight campaign’s story. The Specter of Torment addition continues that tradition and builds on the lore of the universe by telling the ultimately tragic story of Specter Knight’s ascension (or descension?) to his status in the Order of No Quarter.
The new campaign comes with the overall package, now rechristened as the Treasure Trove, or you can purchase it separately. It comes with the base game if you already own it, or you can purchase it ala carte. The entire package is worth purchasing — even on Switch if you own it elsewhere — and Specter of Torment also stands on its own.
If you’ve played Shovel Knight, you know what to expect graphically. Specter of Torment is a gorgeous 8-bit game. The levels follow the same themes as the original game, but are adjusted to take advantage of Specter Knight’s move set.
Specter’s move set is a little faster than the Blue Burrower, which takes some getting used to. While in the air, you can slash through certain obstacles to reach higher areas, or into enemies to cause damage.
Many boss fights go down to the wire, with Specter Knight’s slashing move being the difference between success and failure.
The structure of the game is more akin to a Mega Man game, where you can choose to go to any level in any order. The reward for each level is different based on difficulty.
The story is relatively straightforward, as you are attempting to recruit each of the other knights to serve The Enchantress. After every couple levels, there will be a separate flashback level that tells the story of how Specter Knight came to be in the service of the Enchantress.
The story is touching and sad, and may just be the highlight of the game. That’s saying something as the gameplay is solid and matches up well with the original campaign.
Shovel Knight is a must play game, and is one of my favorite games of this generation. With Specter of Torment, I have had a wonderful excuse to revisit a game that I love. The series’ earlier expansion, Plague of Shadows, left me feeling indifferent. Specter of Torment is a thrilling return to form that leaves me more excited for the next chapter in the Shovel Knight saga.
Specter Knight was purchased by the reviewer on the Nintendo Switch. View this page to learn more about our review policies and scoring descriptions.