When Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon was first announced in early 2020, I was darn sure it would end up on mobile. I mean, a matching puzzler roguelike dungeon crawler starring Shovel Knight and company? That’s practically screaming to be a mobile game. I thought the exact same thing about Shovel Knight Dig when it was announced the year prior, and although it took its sweet time, that title did end up on mobile as part of Apple Arcade in September of last year. However, Pocket Dungeon launched on console and PC in late 2021 with no sign of a mobile version in the works. Cue sad face.
Let this be a lesson though, kids: Never let your dreams die! Roughly 1.5 years later and Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon has finally arrived for mobile courtesy of Netflix Games. Yes, both mobile Shovel Knight games are part of a premium subscription service. That won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but I’ll certainly take that over not having them on mobile at all, which might realistically be the alternative. But enough of that, after envisioning Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon as a perfect fit for mobile, is that really the case now that it’s here on our touchscreens?
Yes. The answer is yes. Since it’s been out on other platforms for quite some time, I’ll spare going into too much detail on the mechanics of Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon, other than to say it expertly blends turn-based-ish roguelike dungeon crawling with falling block puzzling in a similar vein to Tetris, and that somehow that’s a blend of things that totally works. It’s also been very well-optimized for mobile with portrait or landscape play that switches on the fly, swipe controls or a virtual d-pad, and seemingly physical controller support, though my Backbone kept disconnecting from the game and I’m not sure if it’s an issue with my controller or the game itself.
That said, Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon plays phenomenally well on the touchscreen and just as I’d always suspected feels right at home on mobile. It even includes the big Puzzler’s Pack DLC content that dropped on other platforms simultaneously with this new mobile release. Despite looking like “just" a matching game, this is a very full-featured title and a real treat for Shovel Knight newcomers and existing fans alike. The only down side I can really think of is that people who don’t have Netflix can’t play it, but I think by now most people have accepted that this is the world we live in. If you DO have Netflix though? Jump into this one right away, it’s a blast.