Knack Review for PlayStation 4 (PS4)

And We All Come Crumbling Down

When Knack was first introduced, I said to myself, “This could be the entry-level game for parents and kids to play.” You know, something similar to Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter , only this time with co-op. The launch libraries from both sides of the next-gen aisle are filled with hardcore gaming experiences or adult-themed games. Sony, unlike Microsoft, decided to wave the children’s flag, saying that kid gamers are welcome too. At least with a big exclusive, anyway. So yes, Knack is built around the idea younger players are going to pick this up. But is that a reason to fault it right out of the gate?

Knack tells the story of, well, Knack: a creature that was brought to life by the Doctor. The Doctor found a way to bring to life the relics his people had discovered. There’s a little more to it than that, but I don’t want to give away spoilers. Goblins have attacked the people, and there has not been much headway in pushing back the enemy hordes. Even the best tacticians from the government have little to no effect. After the good Doctor introduces Knack, he appears to be the last great hope to stop the goblins. Thus, the adventure begins.

The story unfolds over about ten hours of gameplay. Through this, you discover the good, the bad, and even the characters in the middle. Much like other classic genre titles, it is fairly simple to see which characters you need to watch out for and not trust. Along the way, you will discover more about Knack and the mysterious ancient relics he’s comprised of. All in all, the storyline of the game doesn’t leave you exacerbated, like some of the other games you can enjoy on the next-gen, but there is one thing about it I really enjoy–its simplicity.

Knack Screenshot

This also carries over to the controls. Whether this design was meant for the younger audiences or if it was just by happenstance, it works really well. For example, action games tend to rely on limited buttons to help you get through the game, this sometimes works really well, but there’s always a sense of delay in performing the action. Knack either is super responsive, or I am too old to tell anymore. So let’s go with it’s responsive. In all seriousness, though, limiting the control scheme this way doesn’t detract from the experience, if anything, it makes things more enjoyable.

While the controls thrive on simplicity, this is not the case when talking about graphics. Knack is just beautiful. It is a beautiful game. The environment is crisp and lively. The characters (while a bit cartoony) are fully realized and represent the world they live in quite well. Then there’s Knack. When you take a character that is built of many smaller intricate pieces, you have to bring your A-game for that to work. Knack is just that. Several times, I would look at the added pieces of Knack and just marvel at how cool it looked. I know there are games out there now that have done exceptionally well with this concept, but legitimately, Knack just does it better.

Knack Screenshot

Fans of the industry will also get a pleasant surprise from the voice actors in the game. Several industry legends lend their vocals to the storyline. As always, they deliver fantastic performances, which is a good thing when compared to the score of the game. While not horrendous by any means, it is also not anything revolutionary. We are treated to fairly obvious child-friendly types of energetic music. Even with this though, the music doesn’t become intrusive by any means, but if you are paying attention, you may hear the same flow of music you heard the last time you stopped to listen.

Unfortunately, there are a few issues with Knack . Not really life-destroying issues, but things that require mention. For starters, this is meant for a younger audience. Therefore, there’s not as much depth to the gameplay as you would find in some other games. However, this truly goes hand-in-hand with the overall simplistic approach. So while seasoned gamers will have issue, I can’t bring myself to say it makes this game horrible.

Knack Screenshot

The other thing that’s equally a good and bad issue is the co-op. Having local co-op in any game is something sorely missing from the past generation. Well, not really missing, but certainly lacking. So having a launch game have it built in is certainly a pleasant surprise, but if it comes at the expense of making the second player feel important, maybe it should have been left out. The second player is Robo-Knack, a metal version of the main character, but instead of dying and having to restart at the last checkpoint cleared, he respawns right back into the action. However, just like I said, the second player doesn’t really hold a purpose or change up the narrative. While this isn’t exactly a deal killer, it is frustrating for young players who want to share an experience with siblings or friends and everyone feel “important.”

With all this said though, Knack is a game you need to have. I say “have” because you will want to keep playing Knack . Much like Jak & Daxter , which I have gone back and played numerous times since originally completing, Knack has that same allure. It is an accomplishment not many games can tout. If you picked up the PlayStation 4, you owe it to yourself to pick this game up: You owe it to the kid inside you and the friends you know who don’t know how to have fun anymore. Knack may not be the most revolutionary game, but it is yet another promise from team Sony for what the company plans to achieve with the PS4. A promise I am glad I experienced. You will be too.

Knacks graphics are great to look at. 4.0 Control
Solid controls for the desired audience. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
An enjoyable soundtrack for a “kid’s game.” 4.1 Play Value
Play with a friend! 4.2 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

And We All Come Crumbling Down

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