I've found that the order of the locked gates that stop you from advancing on the map are a good indicator of the difficulty of the level. And me being me, played the levels in the reverse order. I played flying machine, clockwork tower and stranded ship respectively, and it really felt like I played them in the reverse order in terms of difficulty.
That's really more my fault, so I can't be too harsh on the game because of it.
Finished the game! It was a blast throughout. I tried to use my magic as little as possible because it makes the game much easier. The shovel feels great as a weapon. I expected the level design to pick up a bit more toward the end, but it still provided some fresh moments, and I particularly enjoyed the final boss(es). The presentation and music make this game a wet dream for lovers of the 8-bit era. I personally liked it a heck of a lot.
What exactly is more challenging about new game plus?
I shied away from relying on magic for similar reasons. It also feels like the game was designed with the shovel in mind, with offensive magic undoing some of the game's challenge and flow. I feel similarly about subweapons in Mega Man and X , as backwards as that may seem to some people. Do you avoid using the subweapons in Mega Man too?
So far, a couple of levels in, I'm very impressed with the amount of work they have put into making this expansion, and how different it feels from the base game. Not quite feeling the new controls though; I like the fact that they feel new and that I need to master all new types of skills to succeed, but the controls feel kind of slippery in a bad way now, IMO. This is not to say it controls poorly overall, but compared to Shovel Knight's Mega Man quality tightness it's a bit iffy.
It took me a while before it clicked even though I enjoyed it a lot before then. Ability spoilers: But you basically get a wall jump and Screw Attack later... and can create platforms out of thin air or upper cut that gains air too. It's so, so good when you start mixing all of these together. I can traverse entire screens so damn fast
Well, I just finished the second group of stages, so I'm about halfway through. I forgot just how much extra stuff there is to do outside of the actual stages.
I'm not totally sure about the bomb mixing and matching. It's a cool concept, but I'm not finding a lot of the bomb combinations all that useful, at least compared to the standard Bounce Case + Black Powder + Normal Fuse. The only changes I make regularly are the Lob Case or the Long Fuse. But it's nice to have options, and it's possible I'm just missing some great for, say, the Boomerang Case.
But yeah, Plague Knight is way more fun to control than Shovel Knight. And Shovel Knight was already pretty fun. I totally would have paid for this DLC. Would have been nice to get it within a year of the game's launch, but it's hard to complain about such a great, free update.
And I'm finished with Plague of Shadows! Beat the game, collected all the Coins. The little ending vignette of Specter Knight makes me think his campaign will be the next one that Yacht Club finishes.
I even did all of Plague Knight's Challenge Mode setups, and I'm glad I did because each of the boss fights gives you a different bomb, bomb-jump, and arcana setup. And some of them taught me some very useful combinations that I probably wouldn't have thought of on my own. I'll probably be doing Shovel Knight's challenges this week, too.
So yeah, great update. Hopefully, now that the game's been ported to every platform, it won't take a year-plus to get the next one, because they still have a handful of promised stretch goals from the KS campaign that they need to fulfill: Specter Knight campaign, King Knight campaign, Gender-swap mode, and a 4-player Battle Mode featuring every boss.