In this game mankind must turn to an unlikely hero named Knack to protect them from a dangerous new threat with Goblins, led by Gundahar, seeking to destroy us. The Doctor (a not-so-mad scientist) studied ancient relics from a long lost civilization for many years, and finally found a way to bind them together and give them consciousness. The result is Knack, a creature with mysterious powers – for one, he can incorporate more relics into his body as he finds them, which allows him to transform from a three-foot tall creature into a gigantic wrecking machine.
While the game is pretty fun to play, is technically polished in terms of combat and there is a decent variety in enemies, Knack is not without several glowing issues that holds it back. Strangely, despite the fact that this title is aimed at a younger audience the difficulty spikes in the game are often glaring, not least of which some enemies which will see you die due to a single hit and with some checkpoints spaced well apart you may be repeating sections of the game several times over (Now that I hear that, gamers these days are going pretty soft - remember the days when a death would result in needing to replay the entire level, or indeed send you back to the start of the game! Ahhh, they were the days...). Also annoying is the fact that as you progress through the game you can collect items to give you special abilities - however these take so long to collect you won't even get anything before the first half of the game is over.
Other issues revolve a rather dull storyline despite some rather gorgeous pre-rendered cut-scenes that would look great in a major CG feature film. In fact the cut-scenes lack any spark, and more disappointingly any sense of humour despite conveying a moderately entertaining, if largely forgettable, story. While Sony's previous key platform franchises including Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank and even Uncharted have moments of levity to break up the action. This game is pretty much devoid of any humor, and it brings the entire game down as a result.
Perhaps I’ve sounded overly critical about this game, but we have to point out that none of these issues are “game breaking” and we still had plenty of fun playing the game – but rather than wanting to play it in one long sitting due to the repetitive nature we felt it was more enjoyable playing it in several shorter spurts of a couple of hours.
There is, though, one other little surprise with Knack - it's that the game includes co-op play where the second person, on a PSVita, can play as Robo Knack. We had limited opportunity to test this out, but we did for a short while and it's pretty entertaining and adds to the family friendly nature of the game.
Knack is also playable via Remote Play on the PlayStation Vita when connected to the PlayStation 4 - as will most titles with the exception being those that need the camera. This works quite well, certainly better than we expected, and while it's not perfect (We think there may be smoe issues with fast-paced shooters for instance), it’s a welcome addition to the console.
Whenever we move from one generation to the next the biggest, most immediate change, is that to the visuals and it's true that the 1080p presentation here provides a razor sharp image that looks pretty spectacular especially during the pre- rendered cut-scenes. When we get into the actual gameplay things take a bit of a turn for the worse. While everything is clean and moves pretty well (although there are very occasional moments of slowdown and certainly rather frequent clipping issues) the game looks very bland with narrow pathways through levels, confined areas to battle in, and a lack of real jaw- dropping moments.
Sonically Knack is decent, if unspectacular with a decent range of effects and some nice music while the surround sound channels get a decent workout too. As one of the first games I've played on the PS4 I had totally forgotten about the speaker on the controller and when Knack started to collect blocks to grow in size the controller emitted a clinky sound not dissimilar to that in the Lego video games. It gives eimmediacy to the action on-screen and we can't wait to see what other developers do with audio from the controller.
Ultimately Knack is best described as an inoffensive, rather linear, family-friendly game that does little to show off the power of next-generation consoles, but offers something different from the glut of FPS's at launch and may be a game that holds some long-term appeal as a new IP on Sony's new console. It's far from essential, but young teenagers may find some enjoyment in Knack but it's far from being a classic.
Review By: Dave Warner