Knack

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Knack Game Poster Image
Parents recommend
Fun action/adventure for kids has lots of cartoon violence.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn a little about strategy and teamwork in this colorful action game. Players need to analyze attack patterns and adjust tactics as new enemies appear. Adding a second player to the game lets kids work in teams, one potentially acting as a diversion against tougher enemies. However, the strategies players use don't evolve much, and co-op play places an emphasis on Knack over his silver clone, which could leave kids fighting over who gets to be the former. Knack isn't just another button-mashing action game, but it won't broaden kids' minds much, either.  

Positive Messages

The narrative touches very lightly on concepts including conflicted cultures, stripping the earth of precious resources, and an artificial intelligence's free will. However, the game veers away from these challenging ideas as quickly as it brings them up, choosing instead to focus on entertaining players through cartoonish fantastical combat.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Knack and his human friends are clearly meant to be the good guys, and they work hard to protect people and repel invading armies. But they have their own personality quirks to deal with, chief among them the dangerous hubris of the kind but overeager archaeologist who invented Knack. Plus, Knack openly admits that he's pretty destructive as he goes about his business of fighting off goblin invaders.

Ease of Play

The controls are simple, but playing Knack can still be surprisingly hard. On normal and hard difficulties it may take only one or two hits from larger foes to defeat him, and bosses can be especially challenging. Selecting the easy setting relaxes things a bit, and playing with a second player in co-op makes battles even easier. Plus, checkpoints are frequent, so you never lose much progress.

Violence

The titular character uses punches and magical super moves -- such as a tornado attack -- to beat up a variety of enemies, including humans, goblins, bugs, birds, and robots. There's no blood or gore here; defeated enemies promptly disappear from the map once they fall to the ground. But things get a bit more frenetic as the game progresses and Knack grows in size. Enemies attack him with guns, rockets, tanks, and planes. A city is laid almost to ruin in the process, though no civilians are shown hurt.

Sex

Two couples pair up over the course of the game, but their emotions are expressed through looks, words, and embraces. They don't even kiss. 

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Knack is a 3-D action/adventure game with plenty of platformer-style running and jumping thrown in. Frequent fighting has the titular hero growing from a wee thing to a towering creature who uses his fists to pummel opposing humans, goblins, bugs, birds, and robots, many of which try to attack him with guns and rockets. It's all quite cartoonish, but the violence is sustained and definitely the focus of play most of the time. It's pretty much the only way Knack knows how to solve any of the problems he comes up against. There is no foul language and only very light romance that doesn't even involve any kissing.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written byjghaines May 11, 2019

Cartoon violence & cooperative gameplay

My 6 and 8-year olds love playing this together. The only game mechanic, however, is cartoon violence - in line with Saturday morning cartoons. The (max 2) play... Continue reading
Adult Written bySam M. March 17, 2016

UH OHHHHHHHHHHHHH....

Did somebody say KNACK?!
Kid, 12 years old June 8, 2020
Teen, 15 years old Written byShowman movie13 October 8, 2019

Some scary action and some brief moments of hard to play

I enjoy playing this game! But i warn you: there are some scary action throughout the game. Also there are some hard play throughout the game-but briefly. I thi... Continue reading

What's it about?

KNACK gives players control of a curious creature composed of floating, energized relics mined from the ruins of an ancient and unknown culture. He can grow in size by gathering more relics from around the environment, going from a little fellow no bigger than a dog to, at the end of the game, a towering behemoth that can smash through rocky debris and punch holes in mountains. Created by a human inventor, his job is to fight the goblin armies that are attacking cities, generally by punching them or using super moves -- like a giant ground pound -- that are fuelled by sun crystals players find scattered around the environment. He also has to contend with a rival scientist eager to exploit the power contained within relics in potentially dangerous ways. A cooperative mode allows a second player to join in on the action, controlling a metallic clone of Knack. Bonus modes unlocked after your first play-through include time-trial stages and an arena battle challenge.

Is it any good?

Knack is an entertaining action game for tweens with compelling combat mechanics that drive the experience forward and make it hard to put down the controller. Just tap one button to punch and press another to start a super move, and then jump and dodge as necessary to avoid incoming attacks. It's a simple but at times satisfyingly challenging formula. Plus, the colorful environments look lovely on the PS4 and are filled with plenty of hidden rooms and passages containing relics and technological treasures that let Knack build gadgets to power up his abilities.

But, although what's here is good, it feels like the developers could and should have created more. Knack's growth ability is cool, but it takes an awfully long time for him to increase to the size most players want him to be. Also, whereas he has the ability to incorporate objects other than relics (wood, glass shards, metal, and icicles) into his growth, he doesn't use this ability very often.

The co-op mode, meanwhile, feels tacked on. It favors a shared display over a split screen, which causes the second player's avatar to disappear and respawn whenever he or she gets left behind (which happens a lot). Kids and parents will still have a fair bit of fun, but we expect even more from the inevitable sequel. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Did you get riled up while playing Knack? Do you think that the game's makers could or should have included some puzzles to serve as a break from all the fighting?

  • Families also can discuss the idea of capturing, streaming, and otherwise sharing video and screenshots of their games with friends. What kinds of fun activities might this new ability enable? 

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and superheroes

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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