The next gen is here and Knack is a title that is all about launch. It’s perfect as it highlights the graphical muscle of the mighty PS4 and a couple of decent ideas are put forward in this title. It’s everything a launch title should be, sadly it’s also typical in that the main ideas of the game are not explored enough and it loses its way in the middle. Younger gamers may get more out of this than others. This has been described as a second title purchase, by this they meant that it’s not a triple A title but a game that is bought as a second, me too game. In that aspect this is a success because it’s a great supporting game to keep you entertained for a while.
The story of Knock goes like this, Goblins and humans are at war, a human doctor who studied relics has found a way to bind them and give them a living consciousness. Our hero Knack is born, he has the ability to gather relics to either transform into a three foot creature or a massive golem. The story then goes on to reveal the true enemy. So the story is not spectacular and lets be honest no one was expecting it to be. It’s a simple story told in a simple way and for the most part it works. There are a few inconsistencies in the actual plot but I assume this is not meant to be a story driven title.
The most obvious selling point of the gameplay is the ability to change in size by accumulating relics. During combat relics gets knocked off Knack which means he gets smaller and therefore more vulnerable He can then bust open crates and gather the relics to increase in size. This is a fun way to break up the waves of enemies that come at you, however it’s never fully utilised. When Knack is huge there is not a lot of exploring to do. It’s pretty much a go here and punch that mission, this can be said for small Knack as well. There are some instances when Knack absorbs ice crystals or wood or metal but they don’t add a lot if anything to the gameplay. Granted when your ice Knack the sun can melt you and metal Knack is attracted to magnets, but these are basic ideas and should have been capitalised on a lot more.
Attacks are the same three throughout the game. Firstly Knack can send forth a whirlwind of relics to attack enemies, or pound on the ground and finally sending charged projectiles at far away enemies. These are fine and work well but there are no new moves or combos to find. Knack can punch through some walls to find secrets and chests but that’s about it. One aspect of the controls I didn’t like was the evade dash, this lets you dash away from harm but this is no good in a fight with multiple enemies as you will often dash into the path of one or another enemy and get hit. I can’t help but think that a block move would have been better suited to this.
Where this game shines is the graphics and as a launch title I would have expected nothing less. It’s simply gorgeous to look at, it’s very robust with massive bright vistas. The detail in Knacks face in particular is lovely and as intricate as the relics which make him up. The enemies look good but the environments are what look the best. All manner of different landscapes are seen and many different uses of light and dark are utilized to show off the power of the PS4. It gives me a feeling of a Pixar animation film.
For all the positives about how great Knack looks and the decent yet repetitive combat, it’s a shame that the main idea of increasing in size is never fully used. This is a fun title to play but has little replay value sadly, younger gamers will get more out of this and its very much like a beginner game for younger kids to learn platforming. As mentioned this look terrific and the power of the PS4 is clearly on show. This game highlights the ease with which the console can handle lots of moving bits and never slow down. This is a good second choice title and you will enjoy it mostly.