Knack 2 Review: A Fun, Platforming Romp With Lots of Replayability
Developed for the PS4 by Sony Interactive Entertainment's Japan Studio and Mark Cerny, Knack 2 is a fun platforming game that follows the continuing adventures of Lucas and Knack of the original Knack game released in 2013.
Not having played (or even heard of) the previous game, I approached Knack 2 cautiously. Despite my reservations, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the game from start to finish. It was a welcome break from the far more serious games that I usually play -- but that didn't make it any less engaging to experience.
Knack 2's story relies heavily on simplicity. The hero's motivations are laid out plainly throughout the game, the villains have simple reasons for their evil deeds, and the action progresses logically through each chapter of the game. Because of that simplicity, there weren't a ton of surprises -- but it still managed to be a fun ride.
Most of the storyline was predictable, with the only real surprises coming towards the end as each new chapter seemed to impossibly lead into another. More than once, I told myself "this is definitely the ending, there's no way to top this," only to be proven wrong in the very next cutscene.
Overall, the story was good. Simplicity isn't a bad thing, and Knack 2 makes it work for them by making the game feel familiar.
Knack 2 utilizes a ton of interesting concepts that keep the game feeling fresh the whole way through. The biggest and most prevalent aspect of gameplay is Knack's ability to change his size. From the moment a level starts, the player can search for extra parts to add to Knack's body, making him bigger and bigger. In addition to gathering these extra pieces and becoming larger, Knack can swap to a small version of himself to access hard-to-reach areas and navigate areas that require a more dexterous approach.
Knack himself is a versatile character with the ability to incorporate types of blocks from his surroundings. These special blocks grant him access to different forms with added abilities, some of which include being able to breathe streams of ice and avoid security lasers. These different forms give rise to plenty of interesting puzzles, as each set of abilities alters how Knack can approach a problem. So the gameplay never really started to feel stale, no matter how many levels I encountered.
On top of Knack's ability to transform his body, he is a competent fighter. While his combos start off with rather basic punches and kicks, he quickly develops more impressive abilities. By progressing through the story or purchasing upgrades, you'll learn a ton of new moves that expand your combat abilities -- and this keeps every encounter engaging rather than relying on the same old tricks.
Last but not least, Knack 2 features a cooperative mode. Using an extra controller, a second player can take control of another robot (essentially Knack with a different color scheme) to help fight baddies and solve puzzles.
While the story mode for Knack 2 is fun, there is much more to do than just run through to the end of the game. While going through the game, there are plenty of secrets to find that will unlock special gadgets. These gadgets aren't necessary by any means, but they can provide a little bit of help both in and out of combat.
Even after completing the game, there is more to do. New Game+ gives you the chance to play through the game again, with all of your upgrades from your previous playthrough. NG+ is almost necessary if you want to get all of the upgrades, since you would be hard-pressed to purchase them all in one playthrough.
In addition to New Game+, completion of the game grants access to Timed and Coliseum Challenges, which offer even more to do if you're not in the mood to play through the story again.
All in all, Knack 2 gets an 8 from me. It was a fun game that's filled with a lot of really good ideas. The only potential downside would be the more childlike side of it, which might turn off people who enjoy more serious titles.
If you want to check out this lively romp for yourself, you can pick up Knack 2 from the PlayStation store for $39.99.
[Note: A copy of the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.]