ATTENTION: The year 2014 has concluded its temporal self-destruct sequence. If you are among the escapees, please join us in salvaging and preserving the best games from the irradiated chrono-debris.Retro-inspired platformers are practically synonymous with the indie scene, and the genre's almost as active nowadays as it was back in the early console era. With so much competition already on the market, what makes Yacht Club Games' throwback platformer, Shovel Knight, worth a spot in our list of the best games of 2014?
It has a rare devotion to authenticity, for one thing. Similar in premise to Capcom's NES classic DuckTales, Shovel Knight stars an unlikely hero equipped with an unconventional but multifaceted weapon. Making the most out of simple mechanics is a staple of the 8-bit era, and Shovel Knight himself is a shining example, showcasing a robust moveset in spite of his seemingly limited capabilities. Like the best games from the last millennium, it won't take you long before you've mastered Shovel Knight's initial learning curve and find yourself chaining carefully timed pogo bounces in order to reach faraway platforms.
It's also incredibly faithful to its source material. Like its ancient 8-bit brethren, Shovel Knight is built with hardware limitations in mind, mostly adhering to standards with its tile-based backgrounds, limited color palettes, and exceptionally catchy soundtrack that never exceeds its limited number of allotted sound channels. These are the sort of details that you won't notice unless you're specifically looking for them, but working together in concert they legitimize the experience, and complete the illusion that Shovel Knight escaped from the flannel clutches of the early '90s.