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Knack

Exploring The Various Relics In Sony's New Platformer


Mark Cerny assisted on the development of games like Crash Bandacoot, Spyro, Ratchet and Clank, and Jak & Daxter. Sony’s PS4 launch title Knack seems in safe hands.

Since Cerny is the lead system architect for the PS4, so he got to see what all of Sony’s other developers were working on. He felt like there were a lot of games being made for core gaming audiences, and wanted to make sure there was something for the rest of the family. Knack was born under the concept of a mix between Pixar films and a unique character driven game.

Knack is an odd character, he collects relics that are scattered around the environment and uses it to build up his body. Cerny says that these relics are as common as seashells in the world of Knack and nearly useless to most of the world, but for Knack, they are the means by which he powers up and gains new powers.

Knack is all about collecting more relics on other objects to power up his body, but relics aren’t really the only objects he’ll be able to use. We watch Knack battle through one level where he started out about three feet high, but by the end of the level he was a few stories tall and picking up tanks.

We watched a scene in which Knack learns that he can collect ice as well as relics. Ice functions as a powerup, because in Knack's ice form he can perform ice attacks and freeze enemies, but if he walks into the sun he'll quickly melt and lose his powers. Another powerup is wood, which can be collected to make Knack very big very quickly, but if Knack gets set on fire he’ll lose all his wood relatively fast.

Knack will also collect sun energy throughout his travels, and he can use this energy to perform room clearing super moves such as an explosion that causes all the relics in his body fly apart and damage the enemies around him. We also saw Knack turn into a giant relic tornado and sweep through a level tearing apart his foes.

Knack also features a casual co-op mode. A second player can take the controls of a creature named robo-Knack. As robo-Knack, players can still fight enemies, collect relics, and grow in size, but robo-Knack is kind of like Tails from the Sonic games in that the game’s progress is directed by Knack himself. Robo-knack can’t die, and can even donate relics to Knack, so this might be a good mode for young gamers or people who find the core game too challenging.

I wasn’t really sold on Knack after E3, and I still think the main character’s design is a little odd, but the game looks like a solid platformer, and I’m sure it will fill a certain niche when it comes out at the PlayStation 4’s launch, November 15.

Learn more about Knack with our hands-on impressions from E3.

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Comments
  • I am looking forward to this game and have it pre-ordered.  I like that Cerny is working on another platformer and the Pixar look to it means I don't have to hide it away as soon as the toddler gets up or enters the room.

  • While the graphics of this game look good, I'm not a big fan of the gameplay. All of the videos I have seen for this game make it look very boring.
  • Normally, this game wouldn't intrigue me too much, but with a track record of Sony exclusives like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet and Clank, and Jak and dexter. i'm suddenly really interested in Knack
  • I admit whien I first saw it I misjudged it. now it looks like a definite buy

  • This isn't my type of game at all and I won't be playing it but I think it's a really cool title and hope it's successful.

  • i don't care what anyone thinks. this game looks awesome. reminds me of the games i loved and played before halo 2 brought in all the frat boy a-holes, and the wii brought in everyone else.
  • I really hope this turns out to be a good game, but I'm getting a little worried since every preview I read seems to have the author coming away with some sort of concerns.

    I love a good 3D platformer so I'm glad to see both this and Ratchet and Clank Into the Nexus coming this year.
  • Getting set on fire will make anybody lose their wood... God I hate myself.
  • While I obviously want this game to succeed I can't help but feel that sales will be lower than other titles at launch. Let's face it; the people who invested for the reservation of the PS4 (like myself) are core gamers who want to have the latest hardware so they can play the newest games like COD, Killzone, etc. Knack looks like a fun game but it doesn't have much appeal amongst gamers.
  • I'm still skeptical about this game. It looks charming, but it also doesn't look like it's going to come together completely.... I'm on the fence about canceling my pre-order in favor of Lego Marvel, but I'll wait till it's closer to launch.
  • This game looks very endearing and perfect as a PS4 launch title for my son also it's developed by Mike Cerny who has designed one hell of a console, therefore deserves my support of this game.
  • If I do decide to pick up a PS4 near release, this is definitely going to be a game I pick up.

  • The main character's design is awesome.

  • Oh Ben - right off the bat, you spell "Bandicoot" wrong, man. Bandacoot? C'mon bro. You can do better!

  • Every time I see Knack, I'm pumped for Sony's newest character-mascot game. I'm always happy to see Sony push creative, quirky, fun-looking titles like this alongside brodude friendly fare. They always have a Littlebigplanet, Tearaway, Puppeteer, Rime or Rain to show off next to the Killzones and Infamous', y'know? That's why Sony's the best.

    But something about Knack just bugs me a bit. It's probably because it opts for linear levels and an automatic camera over a more open world (like a Sly or Jak game). Not to mention, the focus on brawling instead of other actions. I'm hopeful they have more "environmental puzzles" to engage you - especially since there are elemental powers at work here; there's a lot of room for creative stuff there. But so far, it's a brawler for kids, basically. To me, it's evoking titles like Spare Parts and Sonic Unleashed's Werehog stages... not the best company. I'm 100% certain Knack will be much better than those games, but still, I'm doubtful that it can reach the heights of past Playstation character action games like Jak, Sly or Ratchet... or even Ape Escape. Those gamers were fun and creative too, y'know?

    I wonder if this will be one of those Sony titles that retail for $40 out of the gate? They seem to do that routinely now for their non-brodude targeted games. Jak & Daxter The Lost Frontier (PS2), Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time & Littlebigplanet Karting all released at that price point, and Puppeteer was announced to retail for $40 as well. This seems like a game that should also get the reduced price point, but I dunno if Sony will eat the cost on PS4 titles...
  • I got kids, and this seems like a really good game for them. That's not to say I won't get some time in either..lol. This reminds me of when I first got Spyro when I was younger. I hope my boys feel the same joy that I did.

  • The game sounds pretty good.