With the number of games slated for the PS4 launch Knack may have slipped under the radar somewhat. However, PS4 System Architect Mark Cerny saw fit to take on the role of game designer and we think for good reason.
The main character in the game is a Robot that attracts and controls a variety of relic items. Magically each of these thousands of pieces are brought to life with real time physics. It’s here that we start to see why the PS4 graphical and processing horsepower was needed to pull this off.
As you progress a variety of super moves are provided via various button combinations. However, Knack steers clear of using too many of the PS4’s novel controller features — there's no use of the light or touch pad here. While some may criticise this more restrained approach, it means that the game escapes having to crow-bar in every last interaction just because they are possible.
In addition to the variety of attacks, Knack can also transform into different forms. This is used in a combination of puzzle challenges and to access different attacks. It also changes how he can interact with the environment. In many ways Knack picks up on gameplay and combat we’ve seen in titles like Skylanders Swap Force. This combines linear exploration, brawling combat with puzzle elements. Knack nudges this towards more intelligent combat with the various attacks and combos – something that will surely stand it in good stead with more mature gamers.
Interestingly, European Producer Daniel Brook explained how the title is being developed by Sony Japan and has the lead background artist of Shadow of the Colossus working on the game. This alone is testament to the deep pockets Sony has when it comes to development talent.
As the level plays on you start to get a sense of scale of the game. The more artefacts you add to Knack the bigger and more powerful he becomes. This sense of size — which seems to reference the likes of Godzilla — moves us from exploring a city to striding over it.
Perhaps the only tension here is the duration. With Knack taking around ten hours to complete, it will important for the game to leverage significant reasons to replay. The hidden areas and secret items we saw in our demo level seemed to suggest this shouldn’t be an issue. Also, reading between the lines, it sounded like there would be some local multiplayer modes of some sort — perhaps a two player battle mode?
Knack is slated to be a PlayStation 4 launch title later this year.