REVIEW – Let’s talk a bit about the PlayStation 4’s lead title game, Knack. If anyone has ever played a minute of Crash Bandicoot, or later with Ratchet & Clank you definitely must try this gem released in 2013. If any of the previous games are missing from your library, and you don’t have Knack, then slap yourself in the face, and go to the shops.
Let’s get one thing straight, this game would probably not have been done if it weren’t for Mark Cerny. If you don’t know who that is, well here’s a lift of his work: Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the dragon, Ratchet & Clank, Jak and Daxter, Uncharted. In their own style they are all AAA games, fan favorites of everyone. Knack is also trying to become such a favorite, and it seems the game is able to surpass that bar but only by a little with little confidence.
The story is a simpler one, but I think this is entirely forgivable since the game was made for a younger audience. In the near future Goblins have attacked Earth, and a defense / counter attack plan is needed. A crisis group, formed by the Earth’s brilliant mind to figure out the next move. Here is where we meet Doctor Vargas, creator of Knack. The professor was an archeologist in the past, who was trying to find the remains of an ancient civilization. After numerous expeditions he only found useless stones that he decided to enhance with an energy generator. Studying this, the stones formed and created Knack. He presents Knack in this meeting, and this is where we get to control him, in a simple lab, that still manages to look stunning.
These are the two words that describe the entire game. In terms of visuals and gameplay it is really simple yet addictive: Just one more level, just one more level and etc etc. The game will keep a good hold one someone if they enjoy such a genre. What is especially great is the super cute main character. He’s not the type we can identify with, instead he’s a plaything, the savior of Earth. The most important and useful ability he has is the ability to shift his height with the relics he finds. At the start he is no bigger than an average washing machine, medium sized will be just like a closet, and the biggest size is a like a large house. The relics are not just for size changing, but he can also use it to recharge the life bar, although that results in shrinking. Another important collectable is the sunstone, which provide charges for the special abilities. Thanks to this our little bucket head can summon a tornado around himself, fire energy rounds, or shoot three goblins at once. Of course this can only be done with the help of the relics.
No stone left unturned
To avoid spoilers I’ll not detail any more of the story or the abilities (as there are a lot), this is a game that must be seen. Let’s talk about a little bit of the technical aspects that wish to show off the PlayStation 4’s power. Our hero’s blocks are not one big block, but what is fixed is the energy core in the middle.
Also the outer layer is full of tiny pebbles animated gorgeously to combine a whole walking hero. In case of damage these pebbles are knocked off, depending on the force and direction of the attack. Basically thousands of tiny parts can scatter about, and even dying can be spectacular visually. According to experts as programmers will get used to the PS4, the visuals and explosions will be even better (I’ll be especially curious for Just Cause 3).
Gigantic small fun
All in all Knack is a really well made friendly game. I hope Sony will not forget about a sequel, and that we will be able to guide our friend in the next adventure. I think that Cerny is not one of those developers that stops after the first game, regardless of review scores.
– Dazo911 –
+ Spectacular environments
+ Kid friendly
+ Great graphics
– Can become monotonous
– Pointless cinematics
– Lack of meaningful size changes
Publisher: Sony Entertainment
Developer: SCE Japan Studio
Genres: action. platformer,
Released: 2013 Move