Launch titles are often subject to some very harsh scrutiny by gamers and the new Playstation 4 game Knack is just one such example. The game was created by Sony’s Japan Studio to be a launch title for the new system and in an ironic twist, is not schedule to release in Japan until late Feb 2014.
Players play as Knack, a shape changing creation that was created by a professor using powerful and ancient relics. The relics are used as power in the societies of the world and when the Goblin race breaks a longstanding truce with new and powerful weapons of war, humanity finds itself needed to answer the threat.
A wealthy industrialist named Victor wants to use his army of robots to answer the Goblin threat but the Doctor who created Knack convinces the leaders that his creation is a more capable solution to the problem and as such is assigned to investigate and resolve the Goblin threat.
The game is divided into chapters and sub chapters and playing as Knack players must travel through caves, temples, fortresses, and other locales in missions which combine platform jumping, fighting, and puzzle solving. Players can locate hidden objects that when combined offer power ups such a relic finder and many other options that will help with the completion of the game.
Knack grows and regains health when relics are found and in time will learn how to add rocks, ice, and other substances to his matrix which in turn will allow him to be gigantic in nature for some of the games bigger battles. I will admit to taking some fiendish delight in swatting aside smaller enemies like gnats when I was able to bulk Knack up to a massive size. The game limits when Knack can reach gargantuan size as it keeps his scale in check with what the level requirements are.
There are also sun crystals that Knack can obtain which will allow him to unleash some super moves. Players can store up to three such power ups and once used, several crystals are needed to replenish what was used.
While the gameplay is fairly basic in that jumping, fighting, climbing, and avoiding enemy attacks there is some frustration with the at times repetitive nature of the levels and in game combat. While fun, it at times became boring as the game went along and it was also hampered by some of the camera angles in games that often made me resort to trial and error. This is frustrating as the game uses a checkpoint save and respawn system as once I was able to get through a tricky part of the game, I went over a cliff and had to replay a large portion of the game. This was frustrating as the camera only gave me an over the shoulder view and I could not see how much space was ahead of me. Other chapters cut to a cut scene in a similar situation but this one required me to inch forwards carefully to trigger the cutscene.
While the game does allow you to continue if you quit, I find myself having to re-watch tons of animation and replay several early stages of a level to get back to where I left off.
While the voice acting and story are nothing special the game is fun to play for what it is and I did enjoy several parts of the game despite the frustrations I mentioned earlier. The graphics are solid and while not showcases for the power of the system provide an interesting and engaging setting for the game and the numerous enemies and traps players will face.
The game has received some negative press to date which I think is highly unfair. Many people in my opinion are judging the game for what it was not rather than what it was. While it could have been a better game, it is a fun and enjoyable game for those who have more moderate expectations and would be ideal for younger players who are looking for something to play on the Playstation 4 that is age appropriate.
3 stars out of 5