Anthony John Agnello
The chapters are so long, they become tedious, even on the surprisingly vicious "Normal" difficulty setting. The challenge of the game could be a draw, but when coupled with the nonsensical morass of Knack's fantasy, there's no good reason to keep pushing forward. Without a clear center, Cerny's game feels as hollow and vulnerable as its hero, a pile of disparate parts all too ready to crumble at a moment's notice.
The game also sings because it's never a slave to the perceived merits of tradition. It would have been all too easy to, say, shove in some little floating Shovel Knight heads, making you collect pointless extra lives for no reason other than that's how things were done back in the good old days. Yacht Club Games is smarter than that, and their game is, too.
Had it gone with a more crafted experience, zeroing in on a consistent tone and a series of clearly defined challenges, CounterSpy could have been more Three Days Of The Condor rather than This Means War. All it needed to do was remember the 7 Ps, one of the British military's enduring adages: Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.