Knack is a beat 'em up game developed by SIE Japan Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 4 released as a launch title for the console.
- Broken and unbalanced combat. Knack dies in about two or three hits regardless of his size or enemy types. This is made worse because enemies attack in groups, Knack's dodge is very unreliable, checkpoints are placed erratically, and health pick-ups are rare.
- Technically this would mean that the enemies aren't doing artificial damage, but rather gravitational damage (based on how much max health you actually have).
- Cheap enemy placement, shallow combat, and Knack's cumbersome movements combined with agile foes often make the game feel incredibly unfair at times, especially on higher difficulty levels.
- On Very Hard difficulty, most enemies will kill Knack in one hit, making it even more frustrating when enemies kill you only seconds after respawning.
- The core mechanic of the game, collecting relics to make Knack bigger and stronger, is completely pointless and doesn't affect gameplay for the following reasons:
- Knack only becomes bigger at specific points of the levels and always a specific amount. You have no real control over Knack's size whatsoever.
- Growing bigger doesn't give Knack any additional abilities nor change how he controls.
- When Knack becomes stronger, enemies automatically become stronger too so you still keep dying in two to three hits no matter what. Collecting relics barely restores health either. Only the smallest of enemies will barely scratch him.
- Occasionally Knack gets ice, wood, or metal armor but those have no real effects on him. In fact, some of the armors actually make him weaker. For example, ice armor doesn't give him ice abilities. Wood armor only makes him vulnerable to fire. Metal makes him get pulled to magnetic metal objects.
- Knack is made of countless blocks and spheres that he controls at his own will but he can't do anything other than run, jump, and punch. Speaking of punching, Knack only has a 3-punch combo that doesn't change, nor can it be upgraded.
- Knack has to begin every level at his smallest size and the game's story forces reasons as to why this happens for each level. That being said, it's not like starting big would make any difference anyway.
- Overly repetitive gameplay. Almost all of the game experience can be found in the first level of the game and the game never does anything to spice up the gameplay and break up the monotony.
- Sony directly admitted that Knack was rushed so it could be a launch title for the PS4. The developers didn't have time to flesh out any of the ideas they had for the game as a result.
- At times, the game appears to struggle maintaining a consistent frame rate.
- Upgrades are unlikely to be obtained before you complete the game due to the way the upgrade collectible system works.
- While crystal relics obtained from secret rooms do change Knack's combat capabilities(attack, defense, and sun power), they are obtained at random, and you can continue collecting the same ones over and over, even after having a completed set, making the elusive Diamond Knack frustrating to get.
- Uninspired level design. It's mostly linear corridors and enemy encounters with barely any platforming or exploration.
- Poorly written plot. Knack himself has little impact on the story and isn't given any character development whatsoever. The story focuses on the human NPCs, not the player character. Also a whole plot arc about the goblins is suddenly dropped in the middle of the story without any reason, conclusion, or resolution.
- On the topic of the story, Viktor is a terrible antagonist. He literally has no reason to be a villain, his goals aren't malicious or greedy, he just wants to work with Knack and Professor Vargas to study a big scientific discovery. Rather than politely asking the doctor to cooperate with his research, Viktor instead tries to get his help by constantly trying to kill him.
- The game overstays its welcome by around 3-4 hours, it feels longer due to the problems mentioned above. A Hard play-through can last anywhere between 10-13 hours depending on player skill.
- The couch co-op mode is extremely obscure and not mentioned anywhere in the game. A player who does not know that the game has co-op, has no reason to assume that there is such a mode.
- The game is basically just a tech-demo to show off the PlayStation 4's ability to render a large amount of objects at once in the form of the blocks and spheres that compose Knack's body.
- For an early PS4 game, the graphics are pretty good, looking like something you would see in a CGI animated movie.
- Though the execution is underdeveloped, the game's overall concept is very creative.at
- The soundtrack is decent.
Initially, Sony heavily advertised Knack for the PS4's launch, claiming that they were hoping he would become the console's mascot similar to how Crash Bandicoot was the PS1's mascot. When the game came out, however, it received negative to mixed reviews and was heavily panned by gamers for its repetitive unbalanced gameplay and for not taking advantage of its creative protagonist. It has a Metacritic score of 54/100.
Despite the poor reviews, the game was a commercial success. Sales of Knack flatlined after around Christmas 2013, however, and it's thought that its strong initial sales were due to it being included in a lot of PS4 bundles, and/or the lack of any other platform games in the system's early months. The high sales of the game and "meme" status the character received convinced Sony to develop a sequel, Knack II.