My man Knack has come along way from his debut outing. He’s still not a very cool character but he does get himself into some fun adventures with a deeper move set. Knack is back BABY!
Director Mark Cerny has made Knack 2 feels much more like the platform-combat-puzzle-games he is known for. It’s a mix of Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Rachet & Clank all in one. It’s got some great platforming, a weird story that falls flat, some ridiculously fun quick time action scenes and a much improved combat system.
What I’m trying to say is…
Knack 2 is actually pretty fun.
The plot of Knack 2 is overly complicated and deals with bad goblins energizing long dead robots in order to destroy humans and take over the world. Knack and his human friends, who don’t serve as any help, must set out on a grand adventure to take down the goblins. For those that complained about the short playtime of the original, you’re going be stuck in the world of Knack 2 for a very long time. This game seemingly never ends. I clocked in about 16 hours for the main story and still have tons of collectibles and secrets to obtain.
The story is pretty laughable and goes on way to long. It’s needlessly complicated, messy and full of cliches. The dialog is not good, the villains poses no threat and are no way intimidating, and I felt nothing for the human sidekicks. One of them is there to provide comic effect, I think, but I wasn’t laughing. If given the choice I would have skipped the drawn out cutscenes. I just wanted to smash enemies and jump around.
Each chapter of Knack 2 is generally the same. Knack starts out around human size, and must smash enough enemies and junk to grow into a 20-30 feet tall monster. It’s then he will take on a series of small bosses before taking on a giant boss. If you die, you’ll almost always instantly restart right where you fell ready for action. The game has virtually no loading time and it’s easy to get absorbed in the game for hours. Playing as giant Knack is really fun as you get to smash everything in sight with ease and take down enemies like flies. Each chapter also features a quick time action scene that delivers a satisfying experience.
The game on normal mode is pretty easy and seasoned players will instantly want to ramp up the difficulty. If you do get stuck hints are readily available and you don’t have to worry about lives or getting sent back to the start of the level. The puzzles are all fairly basic and won’t pose any problems for players of all ages. Think of it like a children’s version of Uncharted.
One of the big complaints I have with the game is the fixed camera. It moves according to the developer’s direction and can be frustrating when trying to find secret areas. I’m so used to being in control of the camera it took me a while to get used to. For the most part it works, but it sometimes makes the game more frustrating than it should be.
The fixed camera is one thing but one thing that bugs me more than anything in games (I’m being dramatic) is when the story starts in the future. Knack 2 starts 6 months in the future yet Knack seems to possess none of the special moves you learn along the way. And the special moves are actually pretty fun. I also obtained a new ability during that chapter that I then brought back in time with me. This is all part of the bad story.
The combat is fairly easy, hold circle or square for power moves, break down the enemies armour and go for the kill. It’s simple and doesn’t pose much of a challenge but it is satisfying. Bosses are the easiest of the bunch and don’t require much skill to take down. You can read their patterns from a mile away, and if you are losing health just take a few steps back and watch your health regenerate. Over time you will be able to upgrade your moves and attack power. I spent a lot of time treasure hunting which levels you up faster which made my Knack very overpowered forcing me to ramp up the difficulty.
Yes it’s an easy game, but it’s fun and each level is riddled with secrets and collectibles. Upon completing the game you can go back via a chapter select which will allow you to play the whole game again with all the powers from the first play-through. I love a good New Game+. There’s so many things to unlock that you could spend countless hours collecting everything. The more you upgrade the more fun and rewarding the game is. The first few hours are so slow and dull that it might turn players away but sticking through it does provide an enjoyable experience.
The platforming is where this game shines and some levels feel like I’m playing a modern day Crash Bandicoot game. There are some huge Uncharted-esque set pieces that had me smiling and fist pumping. If you like platformers, this might be one of the best of year so far. Let’s not forget Mario Odyssey is out next month, but for now Knack 2 is pretty solid.
There’s also a pretty cool co-op mode which allows two players to combine and deliver special moves, like launching one another into enemies or creating explosions. I played this mode with a friend for a few hours and we had a surprisingly good time. It reminds me alot of the LEGO games which is a good thing. Even the sounds that emit from the controller are reminiscent of the block building.
Throughout my play through I think I only came across one bug and a tiny bit of slow down. Otherwise this game runs as smooth as the top of my grandmother’s grand piano.
Knack 2 really captures the entertaining platform games from the 90’s. It’s a fun outing that mixes and matches all kinds of games from yesteryear. The story is horrible, and the puzzles are forgettable but the combat and platforming is really damn good after you slog away for a few hours. It’s not perfect, but it’s fun and so much better than the original. If you’re looking for a co-op game to play with your kids Knack 2 is worth checking out. And no, I never though I’d be saying that. You could say Mark Cerny has a knack for creating fun platformers.