I spent a couple of hours with Knack and I had a good time - The Hacklog | UK Based Gaming Blog | Reviews | Features | Streaming


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

I spent a couple of hours with Knack and I had a good time

Knack is one of those games that consistently gets a bad wrap. Even last year when a sequel eventually hit the shelves there were countless numbers of people trying to work out why Sony would even consider doing such a thing. It was, as one critic said "The sequel that nobody asked for to a game that nobody wanted in the first place." Harsh words indeed.

I didn't get a PS4 at launch so I didn't play Knack when it first came out. It was one of those games that I'd planned on picking up and trying eventually but just hadn't got around to. Thankfully of course my PlayStation Plus subscription came to the rescue and gifted me the game for free. So I thought I'd live stream the first couple of hours of it earlier today and see if it really was as poor as people make out.

First impressions were mixed. Having spent years playing cutesy platformers on Nintendo platforms I was expecting something that tried to ape those games but with a sort of PlayStation spin on top. Think along the lines of Ratchet & Clank or Crash Bandicoot. Both of them are decent enough in their own right but they lack that sprinkling of Nintendo magic that you tend to find in a Mario or Kirby game.

My expectations were, well, pretty much as I expected really! Visually it looks like a PS3 or 360 game. Perhaps on par with a Wii U game at a push. It was an early PS4 release though so I can let them off for that. The first stage that introduces you to the character of Knack and teaches you the various moves looks pretty poor though. If that was your first impression of the next generation of gaming back in 2013 I think you'd probably be reconsidering your latest purchase.

Get that part out of the way though and the Knack opens up into a fairly decent, if somewhat un-inspired action platform game. Knack himself has a variety of special moves that he can use to destroy the enemies he meets along the way, (Most of which look like Shrek) but so far I've found that the basic attack to be pretty effective. Somewhat disconcerting to I imagine most players is the evade control being mapped onto the right analogue stick. I've lost count of how many times I've tried to adjust the camera angle or look around using the right stick only to make a slight lurch to the left or right. Perhaps I'm just too used to the right analogue stick being used for camera control in almost every 3D platformer since the PS2 era. A strange decision indeed.

As I ran, jumped and fought my way through the early levels I found myself reflecting on Knack as a character. What exactly is he supposed to be? He kind of looks a bit like an upside down plant pot with legs in his smaller form and then just resembles a rather menacing mess when he's bulked out a bit. One thing is for sure though. He just doesn't have the cute appeal of other more well established mascot characters such as Yoshi or Kirby, and when he speaks all other likeability for the character goes out of the window.

But then despite all of Knack's shortcomings I actually found myself quite enjoying the game. It's not a title that's ever going to find its way to the top of my greatest platformers of all time list, but it's certainly a fun way to kill a few hours if you're not in the mood for playing anything too in-depth.

Have you played Knack? What did you think of it? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

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