By Kimari Rennis
There’s no doubt about it. Knack is back and better than ever. With new stylish moves, Knack will kick, punch, freeze, and smash his foes again to save the world and the humans once more.
Lucas, his uncle Ryder, and the variable-sized hero travel towards the forgotten remnants of an empty warzone that held the remains of mechanical warriors used by Goblins 200 years ago. Mysteriously, the ancient and rusted robots covering the battlefield awaken. Not only do the robots attempt to attack their visitors; others begin to attack villages, cities, and homes. They bring power back to the Goblin race with advanced technology. As a team, Knack and other characters research and find out clues to the rise of these mechs and to put an end to it. This is where Knack and his powers come into play, like his first power-up – fast, four or five punches with one press of a button.
Knack 2 was made in a way to give nostalgia lovers an action adventure game to recall and adore. For me, Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure was one of them. The semi top-down view of the camera in Knack allowed me to view the whole battlefield, wiping out enemies. I couldn’t help but take screenshots as the camera angle shifted into close-ups of me passing through crevices in the ruins and then standing tall among large ancient structures, knowing that it was the way to my next objective. The camera, the abilities, the environments, and the music put me in this zone where I would sit in my room, put on my headset, grab some snacks and dive into the game for hours as if it was 2011 again. The fact that the game is designed this way makes it even more special to play. Knack 2 doesn’t try to be anything super new or super better than another modern game: it chooses to be unique which is why I enjoyed it.
Pure action is what Knack 2 is made of – as if the game was designed to put you in Knack’s body within an action film. The game features some quick time event sequences where you press the corresponding buttons to allow Knack to complete the scripted maneuver he plans to do. In the beginning of the game, Knack had the idea of physically steering a wrecking ball to demolish shiny mechs terrorizing the city. Then there are tests of strengths within levels. After collecting enough relics to grow in size and strength, it’ll be Knack’s time to win as he uses his might to force the door to the next area open.
The game has an expansive skill tree where players can unlock new moves and improve their stats to boost attack and attack speed depending on the different pathways. With the energy obtained from defeating enemies and crates, you’ll be able to unlock abilities where Knack can throw a flurry of punches, crash down upon enemies with a body slam, flip kicks, and more. He can deflect and parry projectiles in order to send them back flying towards the enemy. The most satisfying thing in Knack 2 is be Knack’s innate ability to grow to epic proportions then to shrink and fall apart like Legos, leaving the pieces scatter across the ground. Knack can become over 20 feet tall to make any foe tremble in fear beneath him, then instantly shrink down to pass through crevices and tiny openings.
Knack 2 is an entertaining, action-packed game you’ll pick up and play for hours. You’ll enjoy a pretty interesting, epic story, smooth combat, movie-like cutscenes, and the beautiful environments like giant waterfalls. You’ll spend hours figuring out puzzles, experimenting with Knack’s various forms, collecting treasure, and standing face to face with titans the size of skyscrapers. All in all, if you enjoy old-school 3-D adventure games, take the time to sit back and enjoy what Knack 2 is able to pull off. When you play Knack 2 you’ll get into this mindset: Knack can do anything and everything. And for a while, I felt like I could, too.
Kimari Rennis is our New York Videogame Critics Circle intern from The DreamYard Prep School in the Bronx.