Sunday, November 17, 2013

Knack on hard mode... really hard.  So far.  It's hard enough that after forty-five minutes or so I was checking the options to see if I could switch it back to normal difficulty (near as I can tell, you can't), and I'm kicking myself for not having read reviews to guard myself against such tomfoolery.

Knack was supposed to be my palette cleanser game - something light and fluffy in between sailing the high seas and Shadow Marshalling - but I've allowed it to present itself as somethin' (kinda') hardcore.  What's good is, at least, it works pretty damn well, with a zero tolerance for fuck-ups.

On hard mode, Knack will shatter into a hundred little pieces that clatter across the game world after one or two hits.  Most enemies will also die in one or two hits - less if you've gathered enough relics into your body to pack mighty wallops with your glittering fist constructs - and this makes every single encounter in the game a razor's-edge scenario in which you either do it perfectly or you die.

To assist with his survivability, Knack has a double jump (necessary, I've learned, for escaping booby traps, explosive insects and bomber goblins) and a Kratos-style evade mapped to the right analog stick, in which all his pieces will zip away from his last location to re-form in the direction you jammed the stick.

I've yet to find (or be able to produce) a screenshot that shows it off well, but this visually-striking dodge is so central to surviving and so easy to fuck up (its invincibility frames are very brief, and there's a short cooldown afterward) that the dodge ends up making you feel really cool when you nail the timing.

The above goblin archer, for example, is an asshole.  He'll shoot three arrows along the ground, but he also has a powerful charged shot that will one-shot me if it its - and the charged shot will track me if I'm in the air, leaping towards him.

Last night I was dashing towards said goblin archer, he drew his bow, so I double-jumped.  The bow began to glow and track me, so I immediately feared the worst.  He released, I jammed the analog stick and performed a perfect mid-air evade of his charged shot, landing beside him and laying in to him with two quick strikes to finish the job.  And it felt so badass.

Knack can be very intense.

Didn't see that coming.


  1. sounds like dark souls but more twitchy.

  2. With a much shorter life bar, exactly.

  3. Thanks for the warning, I will be playing it on Normal.

  4. The reviews have been pretty negative and have made the game sound pretty mediocre - can you speak to that? I mean, I played the demo at GameStop, and although it seemed pretty simplistic (walk down a hallway, enter a square room, fight 3 or so guys, enter a hallway, enter another square room, rinse and repeat), it was gorgeous and I enjoyed exploring the simple levels and tackling each room.

    Is the problem that this just gets stale after a few hours? Is it actively a bad game, in your opinion? The graphics look stunning in the screenshots (look at the wood on that fence in the one you posted!), and I would love a happy, colorful platformer, but if it's frustrating and boring and terrible for reasons that I haven't really been able to picture, then I will stay away.

  5. Frustrating is totally the wrong word for it - it feels really tight, like... how to put it... It's too early, nothing springs to mind. It's good, so far. But y'know what, lemmie go play on Normal mode for few hours and I'll get back to you.