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Shovel Knight Guide > Basics

Your name is Shovel Knight. Once you were an adventurer, boldly traveling the land, amassing a fortune while also doing some pretty heroic stuff with your good friend, Shield Knight.

Shovel Knight screenshot - BasicsShovel Knight screenshot - Basics

Then tragedy struck. In the aftermath of that tragedy, you retired from the hero business. Now, though, an evil enchantress is making her bid on kingdom domination. You have to put a stop to her... which you will do by running and jumping through all sorts of retro-style action stages.


Your precise controls will differ depending on the game you are playing. This guide is written based on the Wii U edition of the game.

B - Jump
A - Horizontal shovel thrust
Down - Downward shovel thrust while in the air
Up/Down - Climb or descend ladders
-/+ - Access inventory or pause game

Flow of the Game

You start by playing through the Plains level, which introduces you to the general gameplay. From there, you'll soon be able to start choosing your path, as you tackle stages that lead to a final confrontation.

Shovel Knight screenshot - BasicsShovel Knight screenshot - Basics

Levels include checkpoints along the way, which look like torch stands. If you fall into a pit or your energy meter is drained, you'll continue at the last checkpoint but will lose some of the gold you collected (the game's currency, though often it looks more like you're picking up preicious stones). You will have a chance to return to where you perished and pick up the loot you left behind when you died.

At the end of each stage, you'll face a boss encounter. When you win that battle, your loot will be tallied and then you can return to the world map.

Upgrades & Equipment

You can purchase various upgrades for your character, in the following ways:
  • Each of the eight stages featuring a Knight of No Quarter contains a hidden treasure chest. The wandering merchant Chester will beat you to each one, but you can buy what he has found for no more than 5000 gold, assuming you have the funds.
  • Meal Tickets can be purchased in the Village from the Goatician or sometimes found in a treasure chest once you clear a stage, then taken to the Gastronomer to increase your life meter by one bubble.
  • You can pay the Magicist in the Village to increase your magic meter, up to a total of 100.
  • You can purchase five unique suits of armor from the blacksmith in the Armor Oupost, at a price ranging from 3000 gold to 8000 gold.
  • You can purchase upgrades for your blade in the Armor Outpost area, from the fellow just to the left of the blacksmith. There are three different upgrades available.
You will receive a feat if you purchase every upgrade and piece of equipment.

Music Sheets

There are a total of 46 music sheets scattered around the world. They look like sheets of parchment with notes drawn on them. You can return them to the bard who stands by the fountain in the village, and he will reward you with 500 gold for each one discovered. You can also ask him to play the associated tune.

Shovel Knight screenshot - BasicsShovel Knight screenshot - Basics

In general, the sheets are found in the required action stages, though you'll also find them in the optional areas. Most of them are in hidden rooms.

Once you have found a given sheet and cleared the level, you can't collect it again. Some sheets are also found only by fishing. You can find a pit with a sparkling surface nearby and cast a line. Press the action button when an action bubble appears on-screen, and you'll hoist up your bounty. How the sheets don't get soggy and fall apart is anyone's guess.

NEXT: Quest Walkthrough