Knock Knock Reviewed
By Suzanne Verras
Where to begin? Either you really like Knock Knock, or you just want to slam the door right in its face. When playing Knock Knock you’ll probably end up going through different stages of love and hate (or plain frustration), but despite of its faults, it stays interesting.
Knock Knock is a 2D horror survival game by Ice Pick Lodge. You play a Lodger who lives in his strange cabin in the woods. The cabin has functioned as a laboratory for generations, but now weird stuff is going on. The goal of the game is surviving the night while keeping your sanity.
The game is set up as an urban legend, said to be created from files the developers received. They started looking through the files when they noticed that something was very, very wrong. This adds a nice touch to the creepiness of the game. Knock Knock itself is set up around the same concept. The night starts of pretty normal, but after a while everything takes a turn for the worse and you end up running and hiding in every way you can, trying to survive the night.
As the night progresses you’ll find yourself in a strange house that bear some resemblance to your own cabin, just a tad different and pretty empty. Most of the lights are out, but as the night progresses the house will be filled with furniture. The art style of Knock Knock is pretty impressive. It’s dark, spooky and fits the mental state of your nutcase character.
The game seems simple at first. You just move around the different rooms of the cabin, while interacting with lights, doors and hiding spots. But after some time, things will get more complicated. Monsters spawn in the dark, light bulbs explode and strange lightning illuminates the room. Those things aren’t really the complicated part. It’s more the fact that it’s unclear which actions will be rewarded and which won’t. Going into rooms that are lit up by the lightning will result in nothing, but sometimes the room will be filled with furniture. But why is there such and emphasis on a thunder storm lighting up rooms, if there is no prize? The game is randomly generated, which means that sometimes you can survive by staying in a couple of rooms, but other times it’s smarter to fix every light in the house. Hiding from monsters doesn´t always work, but staying in clear sight isn´t an option either. It’s frustrating, because you have no clue what the game expects for you, or what you are supposed to do.
Another confusing thing, is your characters words. He talks about his family, youth and how he feels like he is going insane. Sometimes it seems like he is giving a hint, but considering all the other stuff he talks about, this can also be just another crazy thought. His talking often feels interruptive, preventing you from getting into the “flow” of the game. But maybe that’s exactly what it is supposed to do; interrupt you to make you feel like the frustrated, anxious person walking through a dark house, with just your lantern as company, slowly going insane as time goes by…
Although I have some issues with the gameplay, I’m still destined to try to finish getting through all the nights Knock Knock has to offer. It’s complicated and confusing at times, but it´s also challenging. Maybe there is a method to the madness, and maybe there isn’t. I’m still going to find out, because I’m not ready to close the door on this one.