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“Why Knack?” questions Mim as we settle onto the OPM sofa. Knack was the pet project of PS4’s creator Mark Cerny, and was devised to be a mascot in the same way Crash Bandicoot was for PS1. The message was clear: PS4 is not just about first-person shooters, it’s also about a weird creature made from randomly jiggled-together bits and bobs. “Knack’s got attitude, he’s like a mid-’90s PlayStation mascot. In another era he would have been voiced by Bruce Willis,” quips Oscar as we start playing. “It does look quite cute. He’s not the cutest, but he’s kind of cute,” confirms Jess. The game is a simple platform adventure with the titular Knack able to change size by losing or adding ‘bits’ of himself. Doing so means he can squeeze into small spaces or go big and take out waves of enemies. He’s Ratchet and Clank in one body.
With attacks on the face buttons and dodge-roll on the right thumbstick Knack is a trickier game than its cartoon style suggests.
“It’s punishing,” moans Oscar as a tiny troll knocks half of Knack’s health bar down in one go. “It’s almost like Mega Man.” “Looks like you’ve not quite got the knack of that,” teases Jess.
The real let-down is Knack’s visual design. For a game on a new console with, at the time, unheard-of power, Knack just feels a bit kit-bashed.
It’s like characters from five different iOS games have been fudged together.
“As a launch PS4 game it’s quite nice, but it’s just tech,” moans Ian.
“If it had stronger art design it would have been good. The problems this game has aren’t because it’s a launch game, they’re because it has an uninspired design.” “It’s technically very good… but it looks like for every