I start this review by sharing a fact I’m ashamed of – I’ve never played the original Knack. Obviously, with the reaction the game received I never expected there would be a sequel, but wow, I’m happy there is!
Release Date: 5th September 2017 (UK)
Platform: PlayStation 4
Rating: ESRB E10+
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Japan Studio
Knack II wastes no time in introducing you to the world and characters superbly, making it easy for fans and newcomers alike to jump right in. From the game’s explosive first act, which allows you to get to grips with Knack’s shape-shifting abilities and the basics of combat – you can tell this is going to be a fun ride. The story takes you on an adventure around the world battling evil Goblins and Robots that want to destroy mankind. It’s interesting enough and keeps a pretty good pace throughout the game’s 15 chapter length.
This is a platform brawler like no other, the sense of scale is magnificent, you start off small and by collecting relics Knack will become bigger as he progresses through the level. The wonderful thing is Knack can change sizes with the simple hit of R1, so you can go from a 20 foot powerhouse to tiny and adorable in seconds. Transforming between large and small is very important, especially if you want to find the multiple treasure chests that are well hidden within each level – and trust me you will. Each chest you find unlocks parts for helpful gadgets, such as the The Scanner which allows you to see the health of enemies or Crystal Relics, which allow Knack to transform into different forms.
Combat is fast, smooth and just a whole lot of fun. At the start of the game you only have access to the basics which are punch and kick, however, slowly but surely a wide range of abilities are unlocked and the real depth is revealed. As well as abilities you learn through story progression, Knack also has access to a skill tree, which can be used to obtain new moves and attack power ups. The game spaces out upgrades at a decent pace, meaning you never feel overwhelmed and have time to try out each new move.
Knack II also features couch co-op, something very few games bother to include nowadays. This isn’t just a last minute feature that’s been shoehorned in, the game has been designed perfectly for an additional player to join you on your quest. Each new move you learn usually has an extra feature attached to it for when you’re playing with a friend, making taking down hordes of enemies even more satisfying. I’ve played several hours of the game alone, but the majority of my play time has been spent in co-op, it makes this already enjoyable game even better. There’s no online co-op at the moment, so it’s couch only for now.
Knack’s soundtrack is epic and works incredibly well, especially with the larger action set pieces. It’s a shame that the graphics are nothing more than fine, it would’ve been nice to see it try and push the PS4 to it’s limits, but ultimately the level and character designs can be rather repetitive and dull. The game’s voice acting, much like it’s characters, has a lot of potential, but sadly remains a rather standard affair with nobody being memorable or bringing anything special to the table. Even Knack, who is a shape-shifting bad-ass, isn’t half as cool when he opens his mouth. Nonetheless with those negatives included, Knack II remains a strong title, that’ll have you coming back for more with its New Game+ option, collectibles, time attack mode and more.
Knack II is a great action game and an absolute steal at only £24.99 on amazon. If you’re a fan of brawlers and platformers, you’ll be crazy to miss out on this wonderful adventure!
Knack II is a fun, but disjointed experience. It's made better with a friend by your side. Although the story isn’t anything special, it’s still a decent adventure with extremely satisfying combat. This is not a game you’ll want to miss.