Knock-Knock has an interesting beginning, unlike most video games. It originally started when a mysterious email was apparently sent to the developers. The email contained a challenge – to make an unconventional video game, and attached were nineteen files called “lestplay”. The developing team over at Ice-Pick Lodge felt suitable challenged and so a Kickstarter was born to help raise funds for the project. It would seem Kickstarter is doing a great deal of work these days, and it certainly helps indie developments, like this, to flourish and I’m all for that.
Knock-Knock: PlayStation 4 [Reviewed], PlayStation Vita, Steam
Developer: Ice-Pick Lodge
Publisher: Ice-Pick Lodge
Release Date: 18 February 2016
Price: £7.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
This feels like a very niche video game that a certain few will absolutely love and adore, but I just could not find a way to get into it at all. I’ve never particularly been a big fan of horror games but ever since I played The Last of Us I’ve been more open to them. Knock-knock is a type of horror-survival game, but in no way, shape or form is it comparable to the majority like The Last of Us; it is more like an artistic form of hide and seek.
The aim of the game is to survive the current level until the break of dawn. You’ll need to avoid the intruders, and try to find a way to keep the clock ticking. Occasionally you’ll find an old grandfather clock that’ll speed up time, but if you’re hit by an enemy then the clock will go back a few hours! When you finally get to that sweet sweet dawn, you move on to the next level and so goes the game.
However, this gets super repetitive super fast. You’ll learn the most important mechanics within the first level and after that, well you’re on your own, kid. While I was playing the game, I was moving from room to room, fixing broken light bulbs and standing perfectly still which would allow the eerie character to “see” everything that was there. It was only after I was done playing, and did some research online, that I learned you could actually hide behind items in the room.
And that hiding actually had a purpose. Apparently there are monsters/ghosts/ghouls (I don’t know, some kind of weird scary crap anyways) trying to eat you and if you hide behind things then they can’t get you! So this world has supernatural beings who can break into your house but can’t search behind an object? Seems legit.
This game does a good job of not explaining things and to be honest, Knock-Knock is full of little things like that. You’ll have to pick out clues from the character’s sleep deprived dialogue or the notes you’ll find at the end of the levels. You could probably complete the game without any of that though but it would probably be a pain.
It’s a beautifully atmospheric game, with fantastic art, good ideas, and some of the dialogue is great! But it just doesn’t come together for me. If I had creative control, this game it would be completely different. The only things I’d keep are the art styles and the atmosphere, but if you turned this into a first person game, that wasn’t just a back and forth side-scroller, you could build a fantastic horror adventure.
The main problem with Knock-Knock is that it is soooooo repetitive. After the first little level you’ve practically done everything you’re going to do in this game. You’re going to move from room to room, turn on/fix some lights, maybe check for items in a room and move on. All you have to do is survive until the clock hits dawn.
And that is stupidly simple. Realistically you can just stand in one room and wait out the timer and then yay! Next level!
Seriously, what kind of game puts a mechanic like that into an already short and repetitive game? So ultimately, you have two choices, 1) bore yourself to death by going from room to room to room to room to room, or 2) bore yourself to death by hiding out in one room and killing time texting or something.
It just seems like such a waste of a possibly great game, and it’s a damn shame. This is a world I want to explore more, and thoroughly. A deluded, sleep deprived protagonist in a world of ghosts and ghouls , with cryptic clues and a traditional horror feel is genius and screams potential, but this is not the way to do it.
If you see Knock-Knock is on sale then maybe think about getting it. If you’re into creepy horror games, or games that make you work out everything you need to do in order to win then you’ll love this! But if you like your action, or if you get bored easy, or if you want a game that’s going to really bring you into its world then I’d pass.