What is Knack 2?
Knack II is a platforming adventure game starring a big, friendly, giant 'golem' named Knack. Fighting to save his home from the clutches of a race of ancient goblin robots, which have started to come back to life, Knack must make use of his unique ability to take any relics he finds, and add them to his body, going from a teeny tiny little guy to a hulking force of destruction in the space of a few moments. With the ability to switch between big and small Knack at the touch of a button, your size not only lets you smash through any enemies that get in your way, but also comes in handy for the game's puzzles too. With improved two player same-console co-operative play, two Knacks can take on the game together, bashing enemies, solving puzzles and saving the day as a dynamic duo. While Knack 2 is technically a sequel, there's no need to have played the original to get up to speed with this.
How do you play Knack 2?
The gameplay in Knack 2 is a mix of platforming and battling, as you split your time between leaping around the game's picturesque levels, and getting into fisticuffs with a variety of enemies. Defeating enemies earns you experience points, which can be spent on new moves and upgrades for Knack, turning him into even more of a formidable fighter, while smashing up the scenery earns you relics, which increase your size. However, Knack's size directly correlates with the amount of health he has, and the damage he can deal - meaning as you take damage, you'll slowly grow weaker, so you'll want to retreat to a safe distance to let your health regenerate as and when you can. Co-op players also gain access to a set of unique team moves, which can do more damage to enemies than lone attacks - as well as the fact it's pretty darn fun to punch your friend across the screen as a rather formidable projectile.
Outside of combat, Knack II relies on a winning combination of puzzles and platforming, as players move through each level traversing platforms, dodging moving obstacles and navigating traps. Puzzles, meanwhile, range from moving a box to use as a step up to a higher ledge, to more complex challenges that make use of Knack's elemental powers. By absorbing blocks of ice or lumps of iron, Knack's puzzles can take on a bit of a different dimension - for example, his ice breath can be used to freeze a switch in place to keep a door open, while shedding his metallic form leaves a heavy metal statue in his wake, which is perfect for weighing down a pressure pad. Knack's ability to change his size also comes in handy, as you'll often find small paths through air conditioning ducts and the like that only mini-Knack can fit into - and conversely, bigger obstacles that only jumbo Knack can tackle.
How easy is Knack 2 to pick up and play?
Generally speaking, Knack II is a game that's pretty friendly for all ages. The levels themselves are fairly linear, so there's not too much scope for getting lost, while four different difficulty levels, from Easy to Very Hard, ensure everyone can find a difficulty they're happy with (although we should note you can't change your difficulty setting without starting over).
If the game thinks you're spending too long on a puzzle, it'll even flash up a hint of what to do next, perhaps showing where a box should be placed, which is a nice little touch for new and inexperienced players. Frequent checkpoints ensure that even if you do fall in battle or mess up a jump, you'll never be sent back too far either.
Knack II is fully voiced and subtitled (once you switch them on in the options menu - they're not on by default), so even non-readers should be able to get in on the story with little trouble.
In terms of mature content, Knack II is a pretty family-friendly game - there's no blood and guts, no bad language and no sexual content whatsoever, with violence limited to punching and kicking robots, human soldiers and insects as an oversized stone golem. Defeated enemies simply fade away, leaving behind orbs of experience.