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Knack Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Knack is not only a miserably boring action game, but it features one of the worst heroes ever made. Knack is easy to kill, stupid looking and part of an adventure that will never end. This PlayStation 4 game is too difficult for kids and too generic for adults. It's a disappointing failure on just about every level. Rating: 30%
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  • Review Score:

  • D+
Between Jak, Daxter, Ratchet, Clank, Sackboy and Sly Cooper, Sony has been on a decade-long winning streak when it comes to 3D platformers. Between the PlayStation 2 and 3, these loveable heroes won over fans and critics alike. And while there were a few disappointing sequels along the way, these characters somehow managed to remain relevant. Unfortunately, the company's newest mascot character breaks the streak. Knack is the worst character to come from Sony since Blasto.

Before I dig into what will be a long list of complaints that will ultimately result in a very low score, I would like to start out by saying something nice about Knack. While not the flashiest PlayStation 4 game, this combat-heavy platformer looks incredible. There were a few moments when I couldn't believe the details and crispness of the textures. I was also impressed by the understated sounds that quietly chirped from my DualShock 4 controller. These are the things I liked about Knack.

Knack (PlayStation 4)Click for the Full Picture Archive

It may sound hyperbolic, but I hate just about every other element associated with this overlong launch game. There's plenty of time to expose the many problems, but the biggest issue is the lead character -- Knack. We're given only a few seconds of explanation, revealing that a curious doctor found a way to bind artifacts together to create a living, thinking fighting machine.

Think of Knack as a humanoid version of Katamari Damacy. As our hero runs through the 13 stages, he'll locate artifacts and other objects that will help him grow bigger and more powerful. At least, that's what the game promises. What it actually delivers is a much more straight-forward approach where the character's size is rarely important and mashing the square button is all that matters.

Knack (PlayStation 4)Click for the Full Picture Archive

For the most part, Knack starts each stage as a small runt. His human friends tower over him as he slowly builds his frame with each artifact he absorbs. As such a small guy, Knack is forced to go up against insects and other things on his level. He'll end up fighting larger enemies as he grows, eventually taking on soldiers, goblins, robots and even a colossus or two. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

No matter how big and menacing Knack becomes, I never felt like he was very powerful. Part of this is because he's constantly taking on larger enemies, leading to very few opportunities to take advantage of his increasing size. But the real problem is that Knack is weak to just about everything, often dying in as little as one or two hits. Forget about the life bar, because even the smallest insect can eat away 75% of your health with one cheap hit.

Knack (PlayStation 4)Click for the Full Picture Archive

Unfortunately, this does not change as Knack becomes larger. Even when he was larger than the trees and mountains, I constantly worried about cheap hits and traps I couldn't avoid. It was common to make a lot of progress and then have to replay a huge chunk of the level over again because of some freak explosion that killed Knack in a single hit. These are the kind of deaths that start to weigh you down over time.

It doesn't help that the game is at least three times longer than it needs to be. There are a total of 13 chapters to complete, each with four or five different sections to fight through. These sections drag on for what feels like hours, often with very few changes to the gameplay or environment. There's almost no variety here, and it started to get to me after the first few stages. We're not given a few arena battles in a stage; we're given a few dozen. Every element of a stage is repeated until you can't take it anymore, and that's usually long before the stage actually ends.
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