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Video Game / Knack

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Knack is a platform game developed by SCE Japan Studio exclusively for the PlayStation 4, and is a launch title for the system. Mark Cerny, executive producer of classic PlayStation games like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, serves as director.

It stars a small, mysterious creature named Knack, who was created by a doctor from ancient relics as a way to fight against Gundahar and his goblin army. Knack can bind even more relics that he finds to transform into a much bigger, more powerful creature. Knack can even incorporate different elemental powers such as metal and ice later on, yielding different abilities.

At Playstation Experience 2016, a sequel was announced, and was released on September 5th, 2017.

Not to be confused with the band The Knack. Or the Dilbert episode (though coincidentally, that show was also produced by Sony).

This game contains examples of:

  • Bag of Spilling: The game has several ways of forcing Knack to divest himself of relics in his body. The most common one is the fact that Vargas' personal plane is an itty-bitty two-seater, which Knack can only fit in by reverting to his smallest form.
    • The sequel somewhat mitigates this. While Knack does need to shrink in order to fit inside Ryder's plane, they at least keep a few relics stashed in the trunk so that he can grow a little bit once he gets out.
  • Book Ends: At the beginning of the game, Vargas calls Knack "his greatest creation" (the very first level is also called "His greatest creation"). As the end, as Knack goes to confront the Final Boss:
    Vargas: "Good luck."
    Knack: "Not to worry, Doctor. As you always say: I'm your greatest creation."
    • It serves to show Knack's Character Development from Vargas' pet project to a loyal but independent being who is his own master.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: A particularly egregious example is when Knack finally beats Katrina's Humongous Mecha, sending her plunging into the lava lake below. She just so happens to land on a small piece of rock, and when Ryder goes to save her, the two of them are then standing on two small pieces of rock without ill effects.
  • Cool Key: Viktor believes Knack is one to a door in Trogdo Mine, which requires a specific collection of relics to open. Subverted, as Knack is a few pieces short of the set... but the actual key, a key-shaped amalgam of relics, plays it straight.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits consist of Knack in his various sizes dancing around to "How You Like Me Now?" by The Heavy.
    • Knack II does the same thing, this time with "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" by US3.
  • Cyber Cyclops: Some of Viktor's robots. The rest have two eyes arranged vertically instead, so they still look weird anyway.
  • Destructive Saviour: Downplayed; Knack doesn't do too much to the environment when he's actively trying to save it instead of invading it, but he does break generators for relics, smash streetlights for sunstone energy, and throw cars at the invaders. He owns up to it in Newhaven, when Gundahar accuses him of loving destruction.
    Knack: I get big. I break things. I can't help it.
  • Energy Absorption: The robots in the sequel become more powerful when exposed to the energy of the Artifact.
    • This also applies in the climax, with Xander's war machine shooting Lucas' plane. The same plane made from artifact-bolstered robot parts. Shot by the artifact-powered war machine. This quickly transitions into Feed It with Fire as the cannon keeps shooting Lucas' plane, and Lucas' retaliating blasts become more powerful.
  • Expy: Some of the robot enemies early in the game carry large glowing blue nets, similar to the ones used by characters in Ape Escape, another game from Sony Japan.
  • Genre Throwback: This seems to be a throwback to cartoony Fifth Generation platform games from the '90s such as the aforementioned Crash and Spyro.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Gadgest pieces and the crystal pieces to unlock Knack's other forms.
  • Harder Than Hard: Beating the game at Hard difficulty unlocks Very Hard mode. In Knack II, Very Hard mode is available from the start.
  • Humongous Mecha: Knack has to fight a fairly agile robot when both of them are the same size as a skyscraper.
  • Journey to Find Oneself: Knack II ends with Knack and Lucas going off on a journey to discover more about what Knack is and if there are any other beings like him.
  • Meaningful Name: "Knack" is slang for skill, hence the name he gives himself.
    • Alternatively, in old times, knack is shortform of knick-knack, which is what his body structure is.
  • Monogender Monsters: You never ever see a female goblin.
  • Monster Arena: The Coliseum Attack and Time Attack side modes.
  • New Game Plus: Inevitable to achieve 100% Completion. See Random Drop.
  • One-Word Title
  • Only One Name: Implied for most of the characters... we never learn anybody's last name (or first name, in some cases).
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Interestingly, despite being called goblins, the majority of them bear more likeness to Orcs, with them being tall, buff, and with tusks (which goblins don't usually have). The ones that fit the description are the smallest ones.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Random Drop: The gadget parts (to build gadgets to help you in-game) and the crystal relics (to unlock Knack's alternate forms). They can be found in treasure chests in hidden rooms, but these chests only respawn during New Game Plus. At least each gadget part needs to be collected just once; you need multiple crystal relics to unlock a new form, each crystal has a distinct rarity, and even after getting enough of one crystal type to unlock a new form, you may still get redundant pieces.
  • Same Plot Sequel: The plot of Knack II remains largely the same as the original, with some names and roles changed around.
    • Both begin with humanity being threatened by some evil force relating to goblins. In the first, it's goblins who have somehow gained access to modern weapons, and in the sequel, it's ancient robots built by the goblins who are now reawakening after 200 years.
    • Knack and friends set out on an expedition to find a way to stop it. On the way, Knack must fight Gundahar, the leader of the goblins. Then Gundahar is defeated about halfway through. At that point, a human character who was previously an ally takes on the role of the main villain, the first being Viktor, and the second being Xander. Both also happen to use robots as their minions, as well as their own personal human armies.
    • The human villain is killed off, and both games end with a final boss; giant beings made of relics that act as an Evil Counterpart to Knack.
  • Self-Deprecation: One of the main criticisms of the first game was that the combat was repetitive. The sequel expands upon the combat, and a character makes reference to the criticisms.
    Ava: It's hard to believe you saved the world. All you know are three punches and a kick.
    Lucas: He can jump, too.
    Knack: Hey!
  • Sequel Hook: Gundahar is still at large. The trailer for the sequel shows that goblins are indeed still a problem.
    • Look closely during the ending, and you'll see that Knack still has one of the endgame "Super Relics" within him (the purple cone / "hair"). However, this is completely ignored in the sequel.
  • Shows Damage: Most enemies, and even Knack himself, will lose pieces/armor once they start taking damage.
  • Spiritual Successor: The similarities between this series and the original Crash Bandicoot games are very much intentional, which makes sense when you realize the first game was going to be a Crash game at one point.
  • Tech-Demo Game: Part of the purpose of the game is to demonstrate the PS4's ability to handle a large number of discrete objects on screen — Knack in his largest forms is made up of hundreds of independently rendered relics.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As said in Self-Deprecation, Knack's abilities in battle in the first game are limited to a three-punch combo. The sequel's trailer shows him pulling off a much more diverse array of moves, including Belly Flop Crushing, Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs, Spontaneous Weapon Creation using swords and spears, a shield to deflect projectiles, and he can now shift sizes whenever he wants.
    • Based on what type of relics he's absorbed, Knack gains new abilities, such as ice giving him freezing breath.
    • Additionally, there and also special co-op techniques, such as using the aforementioned Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs on your co-op partner, causing relics to come flying out of their body like a spray of machine gun bullets that hurt enemies.