Trends come and go. But a trend that has stuck around for quite a while is “retro” games. These games look, sound, and control like classic arcade and early console games. It makes sense, given that a lot of independent developers grew up playing games such as Asteroids, Frogger, Contra, and countless others, that games like Super Meat Boy and Shovel Knight would wear their inspirations on their sleeve. This led to another layer where developers are inspired by those formerly mentioned creations.
Bucket Knight could go either way with it’s titular inspiration (Shovel Knight or Hollow Knight), but the gameplay feels much more like Shovel Knight. Developer PigeonDev may or may not feel that way, but the game undeniably takes inspiration from the NES days. Bucket Knight looks, controls, and sounds just like those classic games. With no dialogue or text boxes, the game is extremely minimalist in its storytelling, but it boils down to collecting money for “the man”. The controls couldn’t be much simpler as well. You do no more than moving the titular character left or right, jumping (or double jumping), and shooting.
On the subject of sounds, there were some really catchy melodies that I was humming along with by the end of the game. For trophy and achievement hunters, it’s an easy Platinum to obtain within an hour or so. The trophy and achievement names are also funny, inspired by popular movies. For example, “Say hello to my little friend!” is earned when you purchase the machine gun, and “Get to the choppa!” when you purchase the minigun. Unfortunately, the game is very short with little replayability, and the gameplay doesn’t really evolve. Even though there are a few different level types and a couple variations in the enemies, it all repeats over and over again.
In the end, Bucket Knight isn’t a masterpiece and it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it has enjoyable moments. Unfortunately, these moments are brief, just like the game.