When I review a bad game, it can sometimes be very difficult to remain objective. Evaluating the good and bad points is my job after all. For some games however, I can’t help but feel despair as I have to sit through hours upon hours of actual garbage. So as you can probably tell, I’m not very happy about Knack 2.
Knack is a Sony owned franchise that consists of Knack and Knack 2. In Knack 2, players take control of a sentient robot called Knack who uses the world’s relics to grow in size and gain new powers. Knack, along with his friends, travels around the world in order to protect it from evil. Knack plays like a third-person brawler and platforming, as levels consist of various enemies, puzzles, and ledges to traverse.
Let’s start with the positives. Knack 2 is a nice looking game. The environments that you go to in the game are aesthetically pleasing, and there is quite a variety of places to go.
Okay now that is out of the way, let’s talk about what makes Knack 2 awful.
Firstly, Knack 2’s story. Knack 2’s story feels like an incredibly cheap knock off of a Disney film. It romanticizes the idea of heroes vs villains and the epic quest Knack goes on in order to defeat evil. While being generic, that itself isn’t a bad thing. The bad thing is the utter lack of emotion in the characters and the fact that there is little to no driving force for the game’s plot. All of the characters are generic stereotypes with no unique personality traits. They all either explain what the player is supposed to be doing, what’s happening in the plot, or making jokes. There’s no substance to the characters or the writing, making it boring at best, and utterly painful at worst. As for the plot, it goes nowhere. There’s a generic evil force that can only be defeated by Knack, who must traverse the world becoming stronger. There’s nothing about it that is unique. It’s missing substance and lacks any type of soul that the game could capture. It’s a corporate imitation trying to cash in on the classic heroic childrens films.
Knack 2’s gameplay is really disappointing, as it shows promise of being genuinely interesting but instead just falls flat. Combat is limited to two buttons: a light punch and a heavy attack. You can dodge and block as well but there’s no need to because the game is so simple. I played the game on hard mode and since your health regenerates in a few seconds and enemies die in a couple of hits there really is no reason to use it. There’s a skill tree that has a few move upgrades but most of them are useless and incredibly basic, and you only need to use the main attacks to beat enemies. The platforming is by far the easiest and least satisfying aspect of the game. The game handholds you in such a way that makes it impossible to fail. Ledges, ropes and anything Knack can swing to traverse the landscape has a giant icon on it showing what button needs to be pressed. If you fall off a ledge, you’ll just spawn right back before it. Even some of the puzzles, while being incredibly easy, will give you the solution to them if you take more than 2 minutes trying to figure out. Knack 2 is so afraid of the player failing that it actively goes out of the way to ruin the player’s experience. The developers may as well play the game for you. It’s so mind numbingly dull that I can’t even recommend this to kids, as they’d get bored of it after five minutes.
Knack can also break boxes to get relics which make him taller and more powerful. I think this is actually a pretty cool concept but it is wasted in the game. When Knack is large, he gains more health and is stronger, but there’s no downside apart from being too big to fit into small areas. You can turn Knack small to fit in the area, but once you get out of the tight space you can just become large. There’s no management of your size or repercussions for being large. The only reason to go small is to occasionally enter a vent or climb a ledge, and the platforming required is always so simplistic. There could have been some really interesting ways to tie Knack’s size to more gameplay elements and be much more interesting, but instead it’s just a glorified power up.
While I praised the look of the games environment earlier, I have some major issues with the overall design. All of the humans look like plastic models and have an incredibly basic colour palette. Many of them actually look very similar to each other and it can sometimes be confusing when telling them apart. The enemy design is also really generic, as you fight staple fantasy goblins and robots, each enemy looks almost identical apart from a few colour changes. The worst part for me personally is Knack’s design. The little Knack looks quite cute, but as soon as he gains more relics he becomes more deformed and disgusting. I don’t understand why the hero of this game looks so blisteringly ugly. Surely there was a more elegant way for him to look fierce and heroic than making him look like a monster. Lastly, the UI is incredibly basic, there’s no flavour or character to it, which really sums up Knack 2 as a whole.
Knack 2 is a cash grab for your money. It’s not a product out of genuine interest or love. This game and every element behind it is a shallow copy of games that have come before and are infinitely better. Sorry Dunkey, but Knack 2 just couldn’t live up to the hype.