GAME TECH: A Knack for serious fun

If a game has ever left you in pieces, then Knack 2 might be the perfect therapy session. Sure, the main character might crumble into tiny bits on a regular basis, but he also helpfully reassembles at the press of a button. Perfect therapy for those games that leave you broken.

Not only that, but Knack 2 recommends group therapy too. This is a much more enjoyable game in co-op mode, where two players can blame each other for (quite literally) falling apart at the crucial moment.

In truth, Knack 2 is designed to produce high-fives, not high tempers. Like the
excellent LEGO series, this is an experience made for fathers and sons, girlfriends and boyfriends, grannies and grandchildren to play together.

It’s a simple, colourful, Dreamworks-inspired world of jumping and smashing things, perfect for more experienced gamers to enjoy with their less skilful partners.

This might be a sequel, but you don’t need to know anything about the first game to enjoy the second. You play as the titular Knack, a creature comprised of tiny pieces called relics that allow him to become very small by falling apart or very big by assembling.

Knack hangs around with a human boy, whose name we already forget, and fights giant robots and goblins.

Do you hear that sound? It’s your six-year-old niece or nephew begging you to play. While Knack 2 is surprising difficult on the hard settings, the easier settings make it perfect for younger or less experienced players to jump in and enjoy the ride.

You can take the lead, if you like, tackling all the difficult jumping and platform parts, while your partner waits for the ‘smashy’ bits, fighting those giant robots and goblins.

Despite the simplicity of its premise, Knack has some depth. The levels are very nicely designed, allowing for some intricate platforming elements and satisfying set pieces.

The combat has four different skill tiers to unlock, so players can customise their character and playstyle.

In fact, on the normal difficulty mode, Knack is highly reminiscent of the golden-era PlayStation 2 action titles, those that balanced platforming and combat far better than most modern titles.

Knack isn’t perfect, of course. The camera is sometimes frustrating in co-op mode. The combat can be a little too frenetic. Switching between ‘mini-Knack’ and normal Knack is mostly a fun gimmick.

Despite all that, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better family co-op game on PlayStation this year. It won’t put your life back together, but it does make for great therapy.

CELTIC THROWDOWN

If you really want to fall apart in the heat of battle, then turn to professional gaming. For real tension, try fighting games like Tekken, Guilty Gear and Street Fighter. Button-mashing might have worked on your sister, but not against the masters, who know literally every move and how to counter it.

Ireland was graced by legends of the scene last week, as Celtic Throwdown 2017 took place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown, Dublin. The tournament, which is now a regular occurrence on the Irish calendar, played host to the likes of Daigo and Infiltration, some of the best pros ever.

The hotel wasn’t the only Crowne on offer, as champions were named in Street Fighter V, Injustice 2, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros and Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2. Irish gamers did the scene proud, with the one of the highlights being TheTruth securing a win for Ireland in Tekken 7.

For more information and to learn how to join the next tournament, check out the websitecelticthrowdown.com">here.


More in this Section

Having fled the Nazis, Elizabeth Friedlander created her own typeface before moving to Kinsale

Album review: Bjork - Utopia

Taking steps to heal yourself in countries where dance is a necessity

Pussy Riot perform in Ireland five years after making headlines


Lifestyle

Having fled the Nazis, Elizabeth Friedlander created her own typeface before moving to Kinsale

On the double: Jennifer Zamparelli and balancing a hectic life and baby number two

Trim back for the festivities with these Christmas fitness tips

The 40-year-old charity that ensures no-one dies alone and poor

More From The Irish Examiner