Sony had a playable demo of Mark Cerny’s Knack at their E3 booth this past week, and I had the pleasure to play this next-gen platforming title. Knack’s gameplay harkens back to the days of simple and intuitive controls, but it doesn’t feel like a game for kids even though its art style is very cartoon-like. Gamers are charged with taking down evil goblins who have invaded the realm of mankind, and must use Knack’s powers to do so.
Knack has the ability to collect relics, which in turn can change his physical appearance and abilities. During one section of the demo he was around 7-ft tall, while in another he was only about 3-ft tall and invisible. Knack can also reach the size of a giant building depending on how many relics he’s currently collected, and the type of level he’s in. The more open sections allow for the larger versions of Knack, while the tighter corridors of indoor levels utilize his smaller forms.
His appearance also dictates the types of abilities that he can use to help solve puzzles, or to forcefully take down the goblin horde. When small and invisible he can sneak through laser beams like a ninja to reach door switches, or climb through vents to access secret areas. When normal sized Knack can beat the tar out of his enemies like a WWE wrestler, and when he’s building-sized he can pick up large objects such as cars to wield as deadly projectile weapons just like the Hulk.
The gameplay in Knack consists of platforming and simple combat controls. Knack can jump, attack, alter forms, and do a super attack with easy-to-use inputs. Switching between forms is a breeze, and plays a large part in progressing through each level. Combat and puzzle solving make up the other facets of Knack’s core gameplay mechanics, but neither is a punishing experience. Gamers must alter forms, attack with precision, and use their brains to ensure success in Knack, and each process is a stress free, fun experience.
If games like Crash Bandicoot used to bring you joy way back on the PS1, then you’ll definitely want to add Knack to your lineup of PS4 launch titles this Fall. Cerny has a crafted a fun and simple experience that isn’t just for kids, but rather for the whole family. This game may offer a childish exterior, but it’s tight controls and simple addictive gameplay provide a nostalgic experience for the upcoming next generation of console gaming.
Knack is a PS4 exclusive and will be available during the Fall of 2013.
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