The Sun and Shovel Knights
When Smash for Wii U was released alongside it came the massively popular Amiibo. I mean some people just eat those things up — there’s Mario, Gold Mario, Suit Mario, 8-bit Mario and even Dr Mario. If you collect them they must end up putting quite the dent in the wallet. Regardless of what their initial purpose was to be used alongside Smash and whilst there are a lot of Amiibo who aren’t playable in Smash, we can’t overlook the fact that getting an Amiibo release must show a close connection with the big N. So let’s look at a casual frame of a moveset for these two and their chances of getting in: Solaire of Astora and Shovel Knight.
Solaire of Astora
Dark Souls. Beginning as the lesser known Demon Souls on PS3, it wasn’t that famous. But once it dropped the “Demon” for “Dark” and linear levels for a quasi open-world setting it got really popular. However, we all know these reasons aren’t the main reason for its surge in popularity. The true reason is the sun-praising Solaire, a hero like none other, equipped with his Sunlight Straight Sword, Sunlight Shield, and armour with a sun on it. Not only does he come ready for action, it is no secret that any true Warrior of the Sunlight comes with the miracle Lightning Spear. However, his greatest attribute it most likely his camaraderie with the player.
Already the framework for a character to make it into Smash is there. He’s popular, has magic, on top of that his equipment makes him unique as we may have a lot of sword users, but how many sword and shield users are there? Link and Toon Link? Sword work, parries, lightning projectiles, and even the possibility to work in the heal spell. There’s plenty of opportunity for Solaire to be more than a Link-clone. The thought of seeing Solaire pull off a double jump seems a bit jarring, but the idea of a dog and duck beating Ganondorf is as well.
He even has a perfect taunt readily available in the form of his Praise the Sun gesture — or maybe that’s his Final Smash?
The platforming genre is over-saturated and it certainly isn’t easy to break through. Mario and Sonic are titans of the genre. Crash and Rayman are pretty popular as well. Then you have Shantae who has a great following. Against all the odds one man… No, one knight equipped with nothing more than a shovel has made his mark and was received like no other platforming mascot has been in recent years. After all, the idea of an indie company getting to release their character in the Amiibo range is quite the achievement.
Shovel Knight boasts unparalleled skill with his shovel, just like Solaire with his sword. Shovel Knight brings another unique moveset to the roster. Yes we have sword users, but how many shovel users do we have? None. However, for those familiar with the game you’ll know that there is already an easy selection of specials for the hero to make use of. Drop Spark, which causes a ground based projectile to be launched can be deployed at full health. Charge Handle, a charged up smack with the shovel, I can be something similar to Kirby and his hammer. Then I am sure they could work in some kind of digging attack. Remember the item pitfall? Shovel Knight can dig up plenty of annoying traps for enemy players to fall into.
So the what do I reckon the odds of Solaire and Shovel Knight making it into Smash are? After all, one can represent major third party developers and the other can fulfill indie representation. SSB4 had a lot of third party characters added, but with Nintendo and their relationship with Ubisoft you’d think Rayman or Rabbid Mario is in for sure. Suda51 wants Travis Touchdown to get in. For some reason people keep asking for Simon Belmont instead of bringing Solid Snake back. With that in mind I’d say their odds are low. We’re more likely to see third party characters from previous Smash games come back, like Ryu or Pac-Man. But we can dream, can’t we? Crazier things have happened — Cloud was in the last Smash Bros, after all.
…Third Party Stages?
Amiibo support isn’t the only thing Shovel Knight and Solaire have in common. They both come from franchises that have a massive focus on bosses. Souls for its gargantuan foes that will make you question if it’s possible the first time you see one. Shovel Knight‘s might be on a smaller scale, but some of the bosses have been popular enough to get their own playable expansions.
The last Smash game added in the idea of boss characters on certain maps. There weren’t a great deal, though. Honestly, only Ridley and Yellow Devil spring to mind. I suppose the biggest issue with adding bosses to stages is that most of the popular ones were already fighters in Smash. In comes a Dark Souls and Shovel Knight stage. Having a whole host of bosses to fight against, the maps could offer a rotation system. They could even have Solaire and Shovel Knight join in to help the players beat the boss, if they aren’t in the game as playable fighters.
I know some might want these two as playable, but I’d set my expectations to low; however, the next best thing would surely be seeing Mario, Link, Pikachu, and Kirby face off against Great Grey Wolf Sif, Ornstein, Smough, and Seath the Scaleless.