Round 1: Josh Miller on behalf of Knack from Knack
Did you experience Knack? More importantly, did you experience Knack 2? If not, you missed out on an early PS4 mascot character that I secretly hope receives another game. An interesting design and a move list ready for a fighting game, Knack could be an interesting fighter in another PlayStation All-Stars game.
The original Knack was a day one release on the PS4 and was often the character they used in marketing. His design is interesting as his physical makeup of relics allows for stretching limbs, growing or shrinking in size, and using the parts as projectiles. These allow for a multitude of uses in combat.
Knack is primarily a melee fighter. His normal attacks would be punches with extended reach. However, his jump attacks could be followed up with a curled up dash that attacks enemies from above. He could also shoot out his relics as well for out of reach opponents. His body also changes in type of relics that could mix up gameplay with risk/reward, such as stealth knack that makes him more difficult to see, but more susceptible to damage.
The special attacks could use some of his sunstone abilities such as a multi-missile attack that can hone in on several enemies or cause him to turn into a slow moving tornado. One special could also bring in the second Knack from the sequel to use a double team move of sorts. Finally the third move could be treated like Giga Bowser from Smash Bros where Knack grows in size and can knock enemies out much easier.
Knack may have been the butt of a joke to many hardcore gamers this gen, but he is also one of the few faces in games focused on younger players in Sony’s ballpen in recent years. I have personally seen and heard of many children enjoying the first and second games and that is an audience that should have a character they love on this roster as well.
Round 2: Emmett Watkins Jr. on behalf of Astro Bot from Astro Bot Rescue Mission
While Knack was certainly one of the PlayStation 4’s biggest mascots in it early years, there was an even bigger mascot for the following piece of hardware released by Sony: The PlayStation VR. Much like the launch of the PS4, major franchises like Batman Arkham, Until Dawn and Resident Evil welcomed in the new headset. But Astro Bot, despite not headlining his own game until two years later, made an early impression in the free-to-download VR toybox: The Playroom VR.
Because of this, Astro Bot and his friends became a universally recognized character for the millions of PSVR owners out there, and once Astro Bot Rescue Mission finally came out, his endearing determination and the abundant charm of his universe lead to the game being one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2018, VR exclusive or otherwise.
So, considering Astro Bot is now one of PlayStation’s strongest modern mascots, and will likely continue to be if the praise for his first game is anything to go by, his spot on the roster for a new PlayStation All-Star game is clearly well deserved. But how would he play if he was added?
His regular moveset would translate well to the fighting game, as his punches and spinning attacks would be right at home. What is a tad more difficult is giving him ranged attacks, but that could be easily solved. If you leave Astro Bot idle in Rescue Mission long enough, he takes out his own PSVR headset and plays with it. That meta easter egg could be taken even further, and in All Stars, he could put on the headset to switch into a number of ranged attacks from the game. Imagine flinging ninja stars, blasting off machine gun pellets, or spraying water jet’s at opponents in combat. But the real intense meta moments would come during his supers.
For his level 1 super, summoning the hammer enemies from Rescue Mission would be a balanced way to get one, maybe two, kills . His level 2 could be him summoning the minecart he rode in the lava levels for a much wider attack with much more potential for kills. But his level 3 would be the most ingenious yet, as they could pull directly from the mini games included in the PlayRoom VR. Imagine having to use the motion controls of the Dualshock 4 (or 5) to search for players around a randomly generated room like in the Ghost House minigame. What if you used your Dualshock to act as Astro Bot’s PSVR-wearing head as he peaks from behind the curtains to capture players like in the Cat and Mouse minigame. Or even imagine using the same controls to mow down opponens with a toy minigun like in Playroom VR’s Toy Room DLC!
Sure, my proposed level 3 supers seem unorthodox, but considering just how bafflining they’d be for players unfamiliar with Astro Bot’s niche mechanics, I think the easy kills that result from the initial confusion would be worth the switch in controls. But whether or not you can agree with my choice of supers, it’s easy to agree that Astro Bot totally deserves a spot on this roster.
Round 3: Fight!
So, which PS4 mascot should take the spot, Knack or Astro Bot? Vote in the Twitter poll embedded below, and follow @LosHarrowGames for the next match up!