New console mascots can be as profitable as the games they star in. Sonic and Mario sell millions in merchandise, appear in their own TV shows and comics and yes, still do the video game thing from time to time. Mark Cerny, who helped bring Crash Bandicoot to life at Naughty Dog, is back with Knack. This family-friendly action platformer’s titular character is only three feet tall, but has powers that allow him to grow giant sized. A full-grown Knack is more than 30 feet tall and can wreak havoc on cities. His enemies are an army of evil goblins, but he finds along the way that the humans have some problem elements too.
It is designed to offer something for everyone in the household. The younglings can play on the easiest level and appreciate a story that’s drawing favorable comparisons to Pixar efforts. On normal and hard settings, it’s for gamers who remember that despite looking cute, Crash Bandicoot was a pretty tough game. There’s a co-op mode in which one of the players can be Robo Knack, a little helper who can heal the main character.
Ordinarily Knack needs to find relics to increase his size. But he can also use ice or wood to bulk up. Goblins can counter by melting the ice or burning the wood through various tricks and traps. He doesn’t need to be a giant all the time, as fun as that is. Stealth sections will require him to shrink back down to use some sneaking skill.
Cerny said the gameplay is reminiscient of Crash Bandicoot, Katamari Damacy and a touch from God of War because of its epic scale.
The veteran is aware that early adopters will go for some of the more mature titles after dropping their $400 on a PS4. He’s hopeful Knack will be a second purchase, and one people will stick with as they find the depth of gameplay locked within.
Classic platformers are often filled with a wide variety of secrets to unlock. The game has 60 secret rooms filled with treasure chests. Thanks to the new sharing features of the PS4, when you find a secret you’ll have a choice. You can keep it for yourself or bring it to a friend. The treasures can unlock goodies including new costumes for Knack. The more friends you have with the game, the easier it will be to set up swaps.
Knack seems like a great throwback to the classic PlayStation platforming heroes such as Crash Bandicoot, or Ratchet and Clank. Get ready to battle goblin hordes Nov. 15 on the PS4.
Read other entries in the PlayStation 4 countdown here.