With Shovel Knight Showdown – the much-anticipated battle update to Yacht Club’s nostalgia-infused Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove – set to reportedly release next week, the developer’s attendance at PAX East last week treated Yacht Club fans to another look at the brawler’s characters in action with a playable demo.

While we received footage for the game last year, GameXplain returned to this year’s event to provide an update on how things were progressing. Though only a few characters were included in the demo, Yacht Club has confirmed Showdown will contain at least 16 characters.

The generous roster will likely cater to several different playstyles while allowing players to finally own all those decimating attacks that made the original game’s boss fights so thrilling.

Of course, we can’t know for certain which characters will offer the best advantages until it’s released in full, but here are the top five characters we think could provide the best experience.

Polar Knight

As was the case in the original Shovel Knight, Polar Knight’s main weakness in Showdown will very likely be his size, which could leave players open to being repeatedly bounced on by Shovel Knight, Black Knight and (potentially) Spectre Knight.

This said, his ability to rain heavy stalactites upon his enemies and obliterate their footing could make an incredibly effective temporary special attack.

On top of his proclivity for bowling over his enemies with huge snowballs, what Polar Knight loses in agility, he’ll probably more than make up for in brute force.

Yacht Club Games

Tinker Knight

Okay. His short, stubby legs might not seem like the best choice compared to the hulking capabilities of Polar Knight and the zippy Spectre Knight, but Tinker Knight’s medium-range leaning could be well-suited to players who prefer to steer clear of the free-for-all and pick off their opponents from afar.

Currently, footage has shown the plucky inventor using his trusty wrench as a boomerang to assault opponents, which (if used correctly) could be used to stagger opponents while evading

And this says nothing of the knight’s secret weapon, which – if Yacht Club’s enthusiasm and humour is anything to go by  – could appear as a temporary special attack in Showdown.

Screenshot: GameXplain

Spectre Knight

Judging by demo footage so far, Spectre Knight looks to be well-suited to players whose first impulse is to mash jump whenever the skirmish starts to ramp up.

But while the knight’s ability to jump diagonally offers plenty of opportunity for evasion, it also looks to give players room to cut themselves out of tight corners in ways that bulkier heroes – such as Polar Knight – might struggle with.

The generous sweep of his trademark scythe also ranks him above narrower characters like Propeller Knight, as it keeps the ghoul distanced just enough from his opponents to prevent him getting easily caught in hearty multiple or chain attacks.

Screenshot: GameXplain

Shovel Knight

Predictable? Perhaps, but the truth is that no character in Shovel Knight Showdown looks to be as nimble as the eponymous hero himself.

While his swift downward strike allows him to deal damage effectively before zipping back out of the fray, his modest size makes it easier for him to avoid magic and ranged attacks compared to Polar Knight and Mole Knight, without it affecting his speed, as it might with Tinker Knight.

Screenshot: GameXplain

Treasure Knight

While I never liked Treasure Knight in the original game, his surprising agility and medium-range grappling hook makes an inviting combination in a competitive game.

As shown in the demo by GameXplain, Treasure Knight looks swift enough to pull off evasive leaps while plunging into enemies in mid-air, which could prove a decent recovery mechanic if you – like I – constantly find yourself being knocked around by your nimbler friends.

Screenshot: GameXplain

Shovel Knight Showdown will release as an update for Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, across Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, Sony PS4, Sony PS3, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux and Amazon FireTV. According to IGN, it’ll go live on 9 April 2019.

It is worth noting, however, that that announcement was made last year, and Yacht Club have yet to fix the game with a release date on its official press page.

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