Knack is one of the launch titles on the PlayStation 4 that promises to show what next-generation gaming is all about. Following the absence of platforming games during the time the PS3 was released, Sony now attempts to bring back the genre through Knack, a game created by Mark Cerny. For those who don’t know who Cerny is, he’s the one who worked on both Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet & Clank, as well as other platform games on PlayStation platforms like Spyro: The Dragon. While those three platform games garnered praise and popularity when it was released, I’m sad to say that Knack is far off from reaching the success Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet & Clank had achieved.
The story takes place in a world where Goblins have been attacking human civilization with latest military machinery like tanks, weapons and airships. With the humans finding a way to get rid of the Goblins, a doctor that goes by the name of “Doc” brings along a Golem named Knack that he found in his early days of cave exploration. With Knack, humanity now has hope as he has has some sort of mysterious power where he can gathers a bunch of relics from ancient times and uses it to grow where he can become more powerful. In his adventure to get rid of the Goblins, Knack will be joined by engaging characters that makes the story something worth checking out, though don’t expect it to be mind blowing as the overall plot is simple and easy to follow.
A lot of things from Knack are borrowed from games like Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet & Clank. The moment you start the game and play through the tutorial, don’t be astounded if Knack gives you a deja vu feeling. The way the combat works is fairly simple and plays like the Ratchet & Clank games, which is not very surprising as the game is more aimed for younger audiences. For Knack to attack enemies, you will be pressing the square button repeatedly where he does a simple melee attack. For the most part, the Goblins and other enemies that Knack comes across to takes at least one to three punches before they go down. You might think that Knack is some sort of a super strong Golem, but you’re wrong as he’s vulnerable too just like the Goblins and his enemies. The amount of hits that Knack can endure before he explodes into bits of pieces are the same as his enemies- he can go down in one hit or two, which tends to get very annoying especially on bosses. Whenever you get KO’d in one hit, you will then respawn from the last checkpoint you had which may involve you going through series of long pathways and yes, it gets tedious going through the same ones more than once and die from the same enemy just because they can hit you one time.
Aside from the basic melee attack, Knack also has three super powers that he can use and that’s through the Sun Stones. As you go through the caves, exotic places and forests, you will come across a set of yellow crystals called a Sun Stone. Collecting these sun stones will fill the three meters on your upper left hand screen. Once you fill one of the three meters, you can use Knack’s one of the three abilities where he can pound the ground, use long ranged attacks, or do a tornado spin. It really sounds powerful but I suggest that you save these powers when you are in an area when you’re outnumbered. Remember, you can get KO’d in one hit but if you have one of the three meters filled, you can use that special attack to instantly kill them. Oh, not to mention your sun stones carry over when you respawn after getting KO’d.
One more ability that Knack has in the game is the ability to absorb certain things aside from the relics. As you progress through the game, Knack will be given a chance to absorb new things like icicles, woods, and metals. When absorbed, Knack’s appearance changes to what he absorbed and gives him extra boost in power. Regrettably, you will not be able to fully utilize his powers as his own game limits him as to what he can do. Sure, Knack can turn into a huge ice Golem but you can only use it in certain areas only, which I find very disappointing.
Repetition is the main issue that drags the game down. From start to the end, Knack will be doing the same thing over and over again where he is tasked to go into a cave, clear out the enemies, reach the end to access the new area, and you do the same thing again. The frustration will build up as you will feel like you are in a labyrinth that everything you see is the same. Not to mention that going through the long checkpoints is annoying enough to endure. There are sections in the caves or areas in the game that adds a little bit of flair like setting up traps for Knack to avoid but they are not enough to ease up the repetitiveness of the game.Knack (PlayStation 4) Review,