In short, Knack represents a sort of mash-up, a hodgepodge of ideas designed to appeal to gamers with different sensibilities. Older, core gamers nostalgic for Cerny’s previous platformer projects will be right at home with Knack, but its accessibility means that just about anyone can play it. As Cerny noted during a behind-closed-doors demonstration of Knack at Gamescom 2013, there’s something here “for sons or daughters or spouses.” Unlike, say, Killzone: Shadow Fall, there’s no reason for anyone to be intimidated or scared-off by a perceived inability to successfully play the game.
As we discussed when we first played Knack back at E3, being deceived by its almost Pixar-like charm is akin to judging a book by its cover. It was clear watching a demonstration of some new, never-before-seen areas of the game that Knack can be grueling and challenging, especially because you can adjust the difficulty settings to make it harder if its default difficulty isn’t up to snuff with your skill level. It was especially humorous to hear Cerny ruthlessly (but humorously) make fun of the Sony employee demonstrating the game as he spoke, pointing out an area she always dies in (and she did), and noting that she had to kick the difficulty down a notch to keep the demo moving smoothly.
In our demonstration, parts were found to create a gadget called the Harvester. This allows for Knack to collect Sunstones – glimmering yellow items found all over the place – from fallen enemies. Typically, these can only be collected by destroying objects in the environment, like rocks or trees. Sunstones are, in turn, used to fill up one of three gauges that allow Knack to unleash his super moves, such as a devastating attack called the Shockwave. When combined with Knack’s more pedestrian moveset – jumps and double-jumps, rolling attacks, and punches – Knack becomes a true force to be reckoned with, especially as he grows exponentially in size, giving the player more power and the game a different feel.
Earlier this summer, Cerny’s commented that Knack is about 10 hours long, and he reiterated that number during this demo. He did, however, say that it could be closer to 12 hours with cutscenes taken into account. Knack is due out alongside PlayStation 4 in North America on November 15th and in other parts of the world on November 29th. Keep it tuned to GTN closer to release for a full review.