Like it’s bigger, PS4 launch title brother, Knack’s Quest borrows a lot of ideas from other popular games. While Knack, the platformer, may channel Ratchet & Clank and God of War, Knack’s Quest, the match-3 puzzle game, instead borrows ideas from popular mobile games such as Bejeweled and Candy Crush Saga.
That’s not a bad thing – Knack’s Quest is at its core unashamedly a promotional tool for the PS4 platformer, but that’s not to say that it isn’t a good game as, although it’s rather limited, it still offers a decent chunk of enjoyment and brings some unique ideas to the genre. On top of that, you’ll collect real rewards to use in Knack when the PS4 launches.
Essentially, Knack’s Quest has you switching the places of parts – either vertically or horizontally – to create rows of three or more, which will then add to your total. With each total, your aim is to collect this number of parts and upgrade Knack. So, you’ll start with 50 as your goal, which will change to 70 mid-way, and then finally 100 to upgrade Knack to a hulking beast.
Along the way, there are power ups to help you and special parts which will at times hinder you. Power ups are activated by collecting specific gems, and allow you to either select a chain of parts to destroy, or obliterate all of one specific colour once you’ve got it up to the third level. It’s a simple yet effective system that adds something different to the usual formula.
The unique parts of the game are where the real genius of the game shows and ties in to the mechanics of the PS4 game – bits of ice will still offer a quick points and time bonus, but then will gradually melt, lowering your total collected parts if you’re not fast enough, while logs appear, some of them are on fire and, if collected, will destroy all of the other wooden parts you’ve collected.
So, it’s a bit more tactical than your usual match-3 game and less about just matching as many as you can. It’s hard too, with the eighteen levels becoming quite challenging in terms of time and match-ups towards the end. Once you’ve completed those levels, there’s an endless mode with a suitable difficulty curve which sees you completing level after level with no breaks, introducing various mechanics as you go.
The PS4 rewards are no doubt the draw of the app for many and they’re actually quite well implemented – your score from completing each level will transform into experience points, allowing you to collect bits (not full items) of gadgets which you can use in-game, alongside the other sections you’ll collect to form bonuses and upgrades for Knack.
Still, if someone doesn’t know what Knack is, and sees that they have won items and gadgets for the PS4 version, might that not make them more likely to pick up the full game? It’s clear that this is all part of Sony’s plan, and a great way to introduce people to PlayStation’s new next-generation launch mascot.
But would you really play it if you weren’t aware of who or what Knack is? This is effectively a pre-release mobile spin-off, so it might confuse people with this character changing in size when you know nothing about him. Yes, there’s an official website hidden away in settings, but the link is broken at the moment.
Yet the game is wonderfully presented – it’s really a lovely, sleek app which fits in with Apple’s recent iOS 7 overhaul and it’s something that looks quite professionally done; it’s clear Sony haven’t skimped on this, and hopefully the official PlayStation App will follow suit.
Knack’s Quest is actually fun, and worth a look whether you’re planning to pick up Knack for your PS4 or not. If you’ve enjoyed Candy Crush or Bejeweled, this brings something a little bit different from them with its own unique features. It’s completely free, with no adverts or sponsorship other than the eponymous Knack.