Ever since the PlayStation 4’s launch last month, we’ve been spending a lot of time with Japan Studio’s throwback platformer Knack. Over on Family Gamer TV, we recently asked two brothers to review the title, and take a deeper look at the co-op aspects of the game. To our surprise, we found that this mode turned out to be a perfect match for their (6 and 8-year-old) abilities. We were particularly impressed by the option to use the PlayStation Vita as a second controller.
But more than the functionality and visuals of the game, it was the story-telling that really made the boys sit up and take notice. The title tackles weighty subjects not typically seen in similar platform action experiences designed for young audiences – even the LEGO releases rarely stray into this more emotional territory, preferring instead the safety of slapstick tomfoolery.
While many have criticised the title for not being the experience that they expected – either too hard or not long enough – this feels like a bit of a misunderstanding of what the team at Japan Studio has achieved. In fact, the reception reminds this author a little of the tepid response to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune shortly after the PlayStation 3’s release. It took gamers a while to realise that they had something special on their hands, and there was plenty of criticism of protagonist Nathan Drake’s monkey-like climbing compared to Assassin’s Creed.
Of course, Naughty Dog’s adventuring brand is now a critical darling, so it’ll be interesting to see how Knack fares over time. We reckon that there’s a good chance that this will one day be recognised as a standout family favourite.