With the release of the PS4, a new IP is introduced. That new IP is Knack. With its simplistic gameplay, Knack makes it easy for any player to learn the game’s core mechanic. At the same time its difficult keeps the player entertained and attentive. While Knack does show off the graphical and processing power of the PS4, its story has an uneven tone and a plot that might leave gamers wondering who and what is the real threat in the game.
Knack begins with a goblin attack against a human settlement. While at first it seems that the humans fend off the primitive goblins, the goblins come back in full force with tanks and other advanced weaponry. This is where the titular characters steps in. Knack helps the humans defend against more goblin attacks while learning where the goblins are making their weapons. Soon after the intro is over, the player takes control over Knack and learns what Knack’s core features are. What makes Knack unique from other heroes? Knack is made up of relics, and he can continue to collect relics to becoming bigger in size. The bigger he becomes the more health he gains, and the stronger he gets. That being said when Knack is small almost any hit can be an instant death. Knack only has two attack moves, a regular and a super, that can be upgraded as you play. The combat system is easy to learn, and the fights do not feel repetitive; learning enemy patterns is key for planning your attacks. What make this more difficult is that there are few checkpoint between fights, so if a player dies he or she might have to redo a whole section until they reach the next checkpoint.
The game’s graphics are beautiful. All the environments are fleshed out and full of vibrant colors. The jungles are full of lush green overtones while caverns and ruins are filled with bright reds that are contrasted with a harsh brown palette. There are a number of different settings, caves, jungles, and castles that keep Knack a refreshing experience. The character models are also beautiful to look at, but it is Knack who attracts the most attention. As Knack gets bigger and bigger, he is filled with more relics, and the PS4’s processing power allows for all of Knack’s relics to move in one fluid motion while not looking awkward. This is all tied in together with the voice acting and soundtrack. While some of the jokes do fall flat, the voice actors do an excellent job in delivering their lines. The soundtrack is orchestrated music that gives off a tone of adventure and exploration that fits in well with the game’s overall atmosphere.
While Knack does have limited moves, he can absorb different materials to give him different abilities. This can come in handy for stealth gameplay and for puzzle solving. While this does add a new element of gameplay, it feels like it is only there as a plot device. These new elements are introduced in very specific parts of the game to help the player continue with the story. After that the material is not really used again.
The storyline is another element in the game that feels forced. While the story does begin with Knack defending the humans, another plot unfolds earlier on in the game. This would be great if both storylines were fleshed out and connected to one another, but they are not. The story does not have full closure for either storyline and they both feel empty. What also works against Knack is that it doesn’t know what tone it wants to set for the player. There are some dark undertones in the game that are brief in the game and are not full.
Knack is a fun game to play and is a great launch title for the PS4, but having some issues with the story can hinder Knack as a whole. While the storyline has its issues, Knack’s gameplay mechanics are simple and it does not have a large learning curve. This makes it ideal for any player to able to pick up and play. The simplicity of the game is somewhat balanced out by the heavy damage the enemies do, which stops the player from rushing into every fight and forces him or her to come up with a battle plan.
- Accessible gameplay mechanics make it easy for anyone to play this game.
- The difficulty level keeps the game from being repetitive.
- The beautiful colors and graphics are captured by the environments and characters.
- Uneven tone throughout the game.
- Weak plot that doesn’t have a concrete storyline.
- The material mechanic is more of a story device than gameplay mechanic.