Knack is underrated.
Knack is NOT an amazing game. Some of the criticism it has received about its simplistic and repetitive combat is warranted (if not over-emphasized). Despite its flaws, Knack holds up as a solid action-adventure title.
From the opening scene, it’s evident that this game couldn’t run on a last-gen system. It looks like a Pixar or Dreamworks movie brought to life, and it maintains a steady frame rate throughout. On more than one occasion I found myself pausing to enjoy the use of vibrant colors and creative character design.
That being said, there are certainly some bland environments and redundant level designs to deal with. By the time I got to the second “gray factory” locale, I was ready to keep moving. Additionally, some of the textures vary from detailed to flat and grainy. It seems as though certain environments received much more design attention than others.
Movement in Knack is smooth and polished. When I was “tiny Knack,” I felt like a little ninja, quickly jumping, flipping, and dodging enemy attacks.
When I grew to “massive Knack,” the slower, lumbering pace maintained a good flow with just enough maneuvering ability to avoid hits in combat. Speaking of combat, there aren’t too many surprises along the way. You can punch out a 3-hit combo right from the start, and the jumping spin attack quickly becomes the go-to move when facing tougher enemies. Over time, I started incorporating dash punches and power crystal attacks, which become essential to success in some of the tougher battles later in the game.
From bite-sized exploding bugs and 8-foot tall trolls to giant tanks and mechs over 10 stories tall, Knack sports a wide variety of enemy types to battle. This keeps things interesting as you go from brawl to brawl, trying to figure out how to approach each area.
Should I take out the archers first and then focus on the big guys? Can I avoid the homing missiles from those tanks while I knock out these goblins with poison rifles?
If you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, then you’ve heard the story of Knack. The heroes are pure-hearted with witty banter abounding. The villains are almost laughably evil.
Despite the stereotypical characterization, the cut scenes are entertaining, and provide some interesting moments. Don’t expect to be blown away, but compare it to any mid-90s serial cartoon series, and it fits right in.
It helps that the game is so lengthy. I needed over 10 hours to complete my first play through on Normal difficulty setting.
Knack isn’t a classic or a masterpiece, but it’s a really good game. Not mention, it’s perfect for a few evenings of kid-friendly gaming.