It's an average effort with an interesting concept for a protagonist and a game that lasts for several days only because it's unnecessarily padded and punitive to a fault. Knack may be built on the blocks of charm and difficulty, but by the fourth level, those blocks topple over into a pile of excess tedium.
It's not the next blockbuster platformer you'd want out of a launch title, but you need a break from shooters or want something with some personality, Knack is worth a look.
There's some great design here, but it's joined by some poor choices and visuals. While children may have a blast, the difficulty and controls are a bit strange, as if they weren't designed with them in mind but everything else was. It's just utterly average and repetitive, despite there being an underlying potential for something superb.
With the way it looks and how simple it is, it's easy to think Knack is a game for kids. And while that may be the intent, it doesn't make Knack any less dull. Whether you're five or 25, Knack is boring throughout its 10-hour duration. If you're looking for something to introduce you to the PlayStation 4, there are far better options than Knack.
Knack does have that one good idea — the character gets bigger, the character gets smaller — which is enhanced by the idea of making him big with other materials like wood and ice. But it's never really explored. You're constantly being forced to shed all of your collected relics to activate an elevator, or something, or receive a large cache of relics before a big fight. Size is controlled by the situation, not the other way around, and so this system never feels as fluid as it could.
Console launches typically feature two types of games. There's innovative genre-defining icons... and then there are the games that will be forgotten in a few months time. While Cerny may have defined a generation of platformers with Crash Bandicoot, Knack will be as fondly remembered as Genji: Days of the Blade is today.
The biggest issue with Knack is that it delivers on a completely different experience than you would expect: a tricky yet rewarding old-school game brought kicking and screaming into a brand new generation was always going to confuse people. But it's a lot of fun, and despite frustration through poor checkpointing, Knack is far from a bad game. In fact, there's potential for this to become a cult favourite among gamers. It looks like a family-friendly game, but this one is aimed at the hardcore players, and when you consider it's a new IP for a new console, that's kind of brave.
Knack isn't going into the PlayStation 4 launch with a ridiculous amount of hype, but the end product seems like it'll be one of the better original titles to come out of the system's early exclusives. It hits enough checkboxes to warrant a look, but that $60 price should call for some thought before you buy in.
SCE Japan Studio's pretty-looking, all-ages action game isn't essential, but it's fun for both adults and their tween kids.
Knack would have been a passable game twenty years ago, but now it just feels tired and uninspired. It's a bland, boring adventure, made only more frustrating by its sheer difficulty curve and questionable design choices. There's a soul somewhere in this golem, but it's buried under a pile of ancient video game dreck.