E3 2017: Hands On: Knack 2 (PS4, 2017)

Knack was one of those titles that never really connected with players when it launched alongside the PlayStation 4 in 2013. Its predecessor, Knack 2, aims to change that.

For most of my session, I played Knack 2 in co-operative mode with another journalist. We were able to move quite quickly through what appeared to be the game’s opening level, solving jumping puzzles and altering our avatars with ease. The level was well designed in that it very quickly taught the player the controls and how to string them together quickly for impressive results.

Knack 2 follows on from the original’s mechanics in that it is a fairly straightforward platformer built in the vein of Dreamcast or early PS2 genre classics. The controls feel pretty tight — your character feels quite light when they jump but they are easy to control in the air which makes landing precise, the key to building a good platformer.

Your character can get about as either a larger, more muscular version of itself or a small, more nimble version able to worm its way through tight quarters or slim passageways. In the co-operative mode, each player can quickly reach the other simply holding R2 on the controller. While this may seem at first like a bit of a cop-out, for parents playing with young children, it’s going to make those jumping puzzles a lot more bearable.

Where it falls down is that there isn’t a lot of flavour here, something the original suffered from. There wasn’t anything particularly memorable about my playthrough, nothing that jumped out at me that demanded I play more of it as soon as it launches. It left me with the opposite of the feeling I had yesterday after playing Super Mario Odyssey. Where that game planted itself in my mind and hasn’t let me stop thinking about it for more than a few minutes since, I’m actually having to work quite hard to remember much of anything about my time with Knack 2. I’m glad I took notes during the session.

Knack 2 releases later this year, exclusively on PlayStation 4.

The author is reporting from E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Centre. Accommodation in Los Angeles provided by Hotel Indigo Downtown Los Angeles. For rates and booking, click here.