Knack Hands-On Preview

Knack was announced back in February during the PlayStation Meeting, and was mostly used as a technical demonstration for how Sony’s latest system renders large numbers of particles in a real-time environment. Following the adventures of the versatile robot of the same name, Knack is a PS4 launch title aimed at an all ages audience. We got a chance to give the game a try during E3 2013, playing through a few different scenarios to get a feel for the title.

The controls of Knack were very simple, requiring almost no instructions – the ‘square’ button was attack or interact, ‘X’ was jump, and movement controls allowed the player to navigate the linear areas that make up the world. If an enemy attack comes close to hitting the robot, time slows down and players are almost always given a chance to dodge. The robot utilizes pieces of his surrounding environment to repair himself and grow, and these pieces have quite a variety – the demo we played feature icicles, metals and some kind of gold that allow Knack to grow throughout the game, and these materials were placed generously throughout each environment.

Whilst there was much variety in the particles, the same can’t be said for the gameplay. The Knack demonstration featured one kind of attack, and the most creative form of it was simply jumping and pressing the attack button mid-air. Once players get into a rhythm of attacking and dodging, the game becomes business as usual as enemies get knocked down and pieces of their armor become absorbed by Knack.

Knack Goblins

Players will also find very simple logic puzzles, ranging from the requiring the robot to turn into mirror particles in order to pass through laser-ridden hallways, to breaking into a vent to reach the other side of a door. Obviously, this is aimed at children who are new to the gaming world, and anyone looking for hard challenges or mature combat should jump ship over to Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son instead.

In short, Knack is game which should be a great playthrough for children and offers simplistic and easy-to-grasp, natural feeling controls. The graphics make the characters look like they just came straight from an animated Dreamworks production, and the enemies are far more cartoony than frightening.

On the downside, the simplistic gameplay leads to very repetitive combat and the logic puzzles get stale very quickly. This game is certainly one for the young ones as they get the Knack of playing games.

Knack is a PlayStation 4 exclusive and will launch alongside the system during the 2013 holiday season.

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tags: E3 2013, Knack, PS4, Sony