Over a year after their first guest character reveal, Shovel Knight has been announced as Rivals of Aether's second guest character and final DLC character. He was first revealed today during the Rivals of Aether panel at Super Smash Con, hosted by lead developer Dan Fornace and community manager George Rogers, with a full trailer featuring animation from Studio Yotta.
During the panel we got an in-depth look at Shovel Knight's moveset. Overall, he's meant to be a fairly accessible all-around character, with the intent that players can do well with him without having to learn the ins and outs of his unique mechanics. Most of his moves are based on his in-game abilities, borrowing from both his normal relics and a few Custom Knight abilities, such as the Flare Razer and Rising Dagger.
Shovel Knight, like several other Rivals characters, has a passive ability in the form of Treasure Hunter. All of his attacks will make gems fly out of enemies on hit, which Shovel Knight can then pick up. He can then taunt to summon Chester and spend his collected loot on either a new neutral special or a different suit of armor. There are three types of armor: the Dynamo Mail, Mail of Momentum and Ornate Plate. The first two have passive bonuses - the Dynamo Mail lets him use a strong attack in the air after hitting with a down air, while the Mail of Momentum increases his weight at the cost of lowering his traction. The Ornate Plate, on the other hand, is purely cosmetic, designed for messing with opponents.
As for his neutral special, he has four - at the start of the match, he has Coin Capture, which pulls in any stray pieces of treasure on the stage. Once he's collected enough treasure, he can then open the shop to replace it one of three Relics: the War Horn, the Ghost Glove or the Mobile Gear. The war horn is a slow but powerful attack that launches opponents away from the center of its hitbox. The Ghost Glove gives Shovel Knight a short-range rapid fire projectile. This attack will also auto-cancel on landing. Finally, the Mobile Gear acts as a moving platform that Shovel Knight - or anyone else - can stand on.
He also has the Propeller Dagger as his side special and the Tow Anchor as his up special. The Tow Anchor is a fairly basic up-special, with Shovel Knight clinging to a flying anchor as it briefly soars through the air then falls to the ground. It has a deceptively large hitbox and a sweetspot hit behind him at the start of the attack, but otherwise it's a fairly basic and punishable recovery option. The Propeller Dagger is also fairly simple - Shovel Knight charges up then attacks with a flying lunge. If charged completely, it becomes the Infinidagger, flying forward until it hits something. Notably, if he hits the blast zone with the Infinidagger, Shovel Knight will bounce off harmlessly. The move can also be jump canceled when used on the ground.
Finally, his down special is the Fishing Rod. Shovel Knight sits down and casts out a fishing line, reeling it in once it hits the ground or the bottom blast zone. The hook has a spike hitbox on the way down and pops enemies up when it's reeled in, meaning it can be used to edgeguard or to extend combos. If it hits the blast zone, Shovel Knight can reel in either a golden fish or a treasure mound. The former is a high value piece of treasure, while the latter can be destroyed for treasure. When used in the air, Shovel Knight will sit on a Glide Cloud while he attacks with it.
Shovel Knight will be released in September alongside the Troupple Pond stage. Two more stages corresponding to Sylvanos and Elliana will also be released with the same update. As this is Rivals' final DLC character, all further development will be focused on porting the game over to Game Maker Studio 2 and implementing the new netcode in preparation for Definitive Edition, which will come out sometime in early 2019.
Author's note: What are your thoughts on Shovel Knight being in Rivals? Did you predict his inclusion, or think someone else would be picked? Let us know in the comments.