Gaming

Knack 2, a game that can grow on you

You do not need to play the first game as Knack2 comes with a brief prologue to bring new gamers up to speed.
You do not need to play the first game as Knack2 comes with a brief prologue to bring new gamers up to speed.PHOTO: SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT

Knack was one of the launch titles of PlayStation 4, which arrived in retail stores in 2013.

The title and new videogame personality Knack, a tiny golem with blocks of various shapes as its body parts, did not initially garner a huge following despite having approachable gameplay mechanics.

Fast forward to this year, Knack now has a sequel that is repackaged to attract new and returning players. You do not need to play the first game as this title - Knack2 - comes with a brief prologue to bring new gamers up to speed.

Knack can grow many times larger by attracting similar materials, known as relics, to its body. This can be done any time at the touch of a button. Think of him as having similar powers as Marvel's Incredible Hulk but with a more controllable temper.

In its miniature form, Knack can walk on ledges and gain access to shafts and vents. In its large form, Knack will keep growing as long as he keeps attracting relics. This form is more effective in combat and is able to manipulate large items.

Along the way, he can imbue himself with shards that provide enhanced powers. For example, ice shards grant freeze breath, while crystal shards grant miniature Knack invisibility.

During combat, Knack can punch, kick, block with a shield and deflect projectiles deftly.

Collected relics will also fill up an energy meter which can be used to upgrade his abilities.

This is broken into four skill trees, unlocked one at a time. You have to upgrade all skills in one tree before moving on to another.

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    PRICE: $46.90 (PlayStation 4 only)

    GENRE: Action platformer

Therefore, you are stuck with unlocking all skill nodes under Ways of Speed before moving on to Skill, Strength and so on.

This inflexibility means the only way to fully upgrade all 35 skill nodes is to keep playing.

The platforming puzzles are not difficult if you have played similar games, such as Crash Bandicoot. If things become challenging, a hint button will provide guidance - a thoughtful touch.

Similar to the first game, Knack2 also offers hidden chests that store random items. From these chests, you can collect parts to build gadgets to enhance Knack.

If your friends are playing this game, you will have a choice to pick the item found in the chest or choose any item that your friends have found in their own game. This is handy when you're looking for missing parts.

The more friends you have playing, the more options each of them will have when opening chests.

Knack 2's three-dimensional cartoon format looks beautiful on screen. The transition between gameplay and Quick Time Action mode is seamless and this is when you get to enjoy a couple of cool-looking action sequence.

Challenge Mode extends its replayability. It highlights the missed collectibles from your earlier playthrough, allowing you to focus on overlooked sections of the stage.

An accumulated score is tagged to your actions, which determines your ranking against an online leaderboard. Knack 2 comes with four levels of difficulty and can be played cooperatively with another player online.

• Verdict: Knack2 offers a simple and fun experience with its family-friendly format that caters to both casual and dedicated players.

• Nizam Mohd is a freelance writer

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2017, with the headline 'Knack 2, a game that can grow on you'. Print Edition | Subscribe