Revealed in February at Sony’s PlayStation 4 event, Knack is the brainchild of creative director Mark Cerny, who worked on such classics as Marble Madness, Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and also lent a hand in designing Ratchet and Clank. This time around, the hero must save the world from a horde of goblins threatening mankind. How he does this is what separates the game from the competition.
Knack the character is comprised of ancient relics from a long-lost civilization, built with a good conscience and given the ability to bind together with other pieces. Doing this enables the tiny protagonist to grow, so one minute Knack is this miniscule little guy running around a stage, and the next, he becomes a hulking behemoth that can level anything in his path.
From a platform game perspective, this reminds us of Crash Bandicoot with a Katamari Damacy-like expansion as you pick up new pieces. Soon enough, Knack becomes as large as a building, which comes in handy fending off a nasty behemoth attempting to squash the city.
Relics also give Knack bonus abilities that allow him to gain an edge on different enemies. One relic lets him shoot ice that freezes them in place, while another imbues Knack with glowing metal that lets him deal extra damage. New abilities will appear over the course of the game, allowing Knack to rise to the challenge when called upon.
As for the in-game combat, it varies depending on what kind of relic abilities you possess. Sony mentioned that it’s similar to God of War without the carnage, so you should be able to fuse abilities together; Knack can perform a devastating pounce attack that takes out baddies within the vicinity.
Like previous Sony releases with a quirky flavor (LocoRoco and Echochrome spring to mind), Knack has a lot going for it in terms of design. Thanks to the power of the PlayStation 4, you’re able to see every bit and particle to Knack, and how these moving parts work together to keep his body in place; when he’s under attack, these pieces falls off in a neat technical display of the system’s power.
Barring some unforeseen calamity, Knack should find a huge audience when it releases for PlayStation 4. We plan to get a much closer look at the game at next week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, and will post a strategic preview in the near future.