The launch game Knack is a bit of a hit and miss. It’s a fantastic concept and brings some classic platforming style to the PS4. Knack himself is adorable, made up of bits and pieces of “ancient relics”, but just like his body, the game has some transparent faults. With all the new console, next gen and launch game madness Knack falls short of the hype.
Don’t get me wrong, Knack is a great game. Instantly, I would compare it to top titles like Ratchet & Clank and a few other brawlers. Most of us will never tire of running around and smashing everything in the game, it’s just fun. That said, Knack won’t take a degree in brain surgery to complete.
The graphics in Knack are supposed to be “something only the PS4 can pull off” which I’m sure is true. Alas, for all the next gen power this isn’t all that different looking than a PS3 title. The art style is younger with friendly-looking animated character designs and the imagery you’d expect in a game with an ESRB rating of E. On the surface at least, there doesn’t seem to be any graphics I haven’t seen before on the PS3.
As I said before, the gameplay is best described as a brawler with light puzzles to solve. Knack’s skill set includes a set of special moves. The special moves are pulled off easily with their corresponding button presses, nothing too complicated to handle. Knack can turn his compiled body into a destructive whirlwind force, the Tornado, or crush the ground with a destructive force, the Shockwave. Further in the story, Knack will learn to project some lightning with a Ranged Attack. Special moves run off the energy collected from broken crystals, Knack can hold only a finite amount of crystal energy. Knowing when to hold off using power and when you can cut loose will be the key to beating the harder levels.
Among the crystals you’re bashing there are (the almost expected) secret rooms containing items. These items unlock different game utilities. Besides the basics such as the Special Power Extender and Relic Finder I have yet to unlock anything really useful. Knack has a bonus free iOS app called Knack’s Quest, which adds a (small) dimension. The game app itself is derivative of Candy Crush. Match three shapes to knock them out for points. The app’s purpose is to unlock items in Knack to help you collect all the secrets back in the PS4 game.
Knack is well-to-do but won’t hit your next gen expectations, whatever they should be. If you’re looking for justification of your new system in this single launch game, you might be let down. If you’re a big fan of platformers like this, than you in for a treat, albeit a short one. The story of Knack sums itself up in twelve levels with some modest replayability.