Knack 2: PS4 Review
Developed by Japan studio
Knack 2 does not care what you thought of Knack 1.
Announced at PSX to a withering look, the return of this kiddy-friendly platformer doesn't really mind that many people hated the first one with a degree of unnecessary apathy.
The sequel sees Knack back investigating with Lucas and chums after goblins are sighted and robots start running amok.
That's really it for this story this time around - it's very simply about getting Knack to solve a series of problems with a bit of lateral thinking or a flurry of fists. To say it's not cerebral is no real insult to the game, but it's fairly enjoyable fare, with the addition of co-oping being the main reason to play this time. It's a nice in for the family and really does give the game an edge.
There are 20 moves to be mastered, and while collecting relics and power ups help get these, there are really only a few go-to moves which will become part of your arsenal as you power through the chapters of the game. Cut scenes propel the story into where it needs to go, but barely with any gusto; it's kind of cutesy enough and Lucas really does look like the lead of How To Train Your Dragon.
But Knack himself is nicely rendered, and the milk bottle tingling effect of collecting the relics and swapping between big and little Knack never really loses its edge. There's a real nice sense of the animation when Knack drops all his bits and becomes bitesize Knack.
Along with the inclusion of QTEs through some of the scenes, the game never really develops beyond its previous MO, and while that's no bad thing, there's no sense, other than the co-op play, that Knack II has really upped the gaming ante.
As a platformer, it's solid enough, with many elements feeling like Crash Bandicoot's early platforming escapades. It doesn't help that you are continually guided through areas and can't roam, and bizarrely some objects can be vaulted over, but not others - it's this kind of inconsistency which plagues Knack I and II that has probably irritated people.
But the mix of King Kong, Transformers, Rock-em-sock-em Robots, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Shrek, Hunchback of Notre Dame et al give Knack a hybrid feeling of its own that's hard to shake. It never really garners its own identity, which is not to damn it in many ways, merely to profess the fact it's had chances to branch out and doesn't seize them with gusto.
Ultimately, Knack II with its 14 or so hours of gameplay and cutesy edges is perfectly pleasant enough fare - the animation's top notch, and while the story-telling leaves a little to be desired, it certainly is an improvement on the first.
Whether history will look back on Knack fondly is yet to be determined, but for a family friendly platformer that's of all ages, it can't really put a foot wrong.