A clever, but intense horror adventure that’s sure to make you lose sleep
There are moments in certain games that have you questioning your own sanity, let alone the sanity of the developers who made the game in the first place. Knock-Knock is one such game. Born from the pages of Kickstarter, the Russian development team of Ice-Pick Lodge has mastered the art of implanting horror through haunting sounds and flashes of ghostly inspiration.
Well, to be fair, it’s not so much a game as a trip through the mind of a severely disturbed individual. The individual in this case is a wild of hair and eye caretaker, a Worldologist from a long family line of Worldologists, whose task is to take notes on what’s going on around them, for when those notes can be used for scientific study. Not a bad job by all accounts, but it does mean you have to live in a creepy old observatory in the middle of a creepy old forest. And either you’re possessed or the house and forest are – or maybe you all are? It’s a difficult one to gauge.
Knock-Knock plays like an adventure, of sorts. You move the main character around the house through the different rooms, switching on lights, waiting for the break of dawn when everything is going to be okay, and locating the various ghostly noises and whisperings that are going on around you. The adventure side is finding out what to do and when to do it. Most of the time you’ll have absolutely no idea, but a sudden pop of a bulb and the insane ramblings of the main character may lead you to find something worthwhile or at the very least allow you to stay sane long enough for the dawn to come.
The evil that’s haunting you feeds on your imagination and your insomnia; like a twisted somnambulist you wander aimlessly around, cowering from the dark and craving the light. You live in a world in which you’re never quite sure what’s really there, what’s real and what isn’t. A hangman’s noose dangles down from a roof beam, opened bottles pills are strewn across a table, strange delusional drawings mark the walls – but they’re all gone when the light comes on, only to reappear again.
Graphically, Knock-Knock is a very imaginative and atmospheric game. It’s large, detailed drawings are a pleasure to view, and when zooming out you get to see the whole house before you and anything else that’s moving in the background. The animation is excellent and really sets the scene, as do the knocks, bangs and sudden moans and lamentations from whatever ghostly thing is nearby. Even the main character's speech, who in a way sounds like a comical impersonation of an Ewok, never distracts you from the tense feeling that something pretty awful is about to happen.
Knock-Knock is one of the most interesting and unique horror-themed adventures we’ve played for quite some time. There are no first-person aspects or grizzly monsters leaping out from a doorway here, just an intense physiological, hallucinogenic fuelled trip through sheer and utter madness. The idea is to survive the night and survive with your sanity intact. Whether that's possible or not, we’ll leave for you to find out.
• Price: £6.99
• Manufacturer: Ice-Pick Lodge
• Website: http://store.steampowered.com/app/250380/
• Required spec: Windows XP or later / Mac 10.5 or later, Ubuntu 10.10 or later