People often dream about getting off the grid and living in remote isolation. No more busy city life, no more traffic, and no more stressful responsibilities. Just you, the great outdoors, and peace and quiet. This sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, that’s what the Lodgers thought too. Life was peaceful for them and they could tend to their research without interruption. However, something weird is starting to happen and these woods just are not what they use to be. Isolation can be a scary thing, especially when there is no one to call when the monsters come a-knockin’.
Knock-Knock is a survival horror title developed and published by the cool dudes at Ice-Pick Lodge. It tells the story of the Lodgers, a family of researchers that dwell deep in the wood isolated from modern society. For three generations, this cabin has been their home and laboratory. However, lately the current Lodgers has started hearing noises and things in the cabin just do not seem the same. Items have gone missing, rooms are getting rearranged, and there is that weird knocking noise that happens every night. Nobody knows that I’m out here and yet, they found this place. Something seriously strange is going on around here and I guess it is my job to figure it out.
The game mechanics of Knock-Knock are something that is very confusing at first, but slowly you learn a pattern to perfection. This title is broken down into three stages…I like to call them the cabin stage, the woods stage, and the eye stage. You wake up in a cabin and you start hearing knocking. You then are allowed to explore the house, but it is rather empty. The front door will eventually open and you are free to leave. This is where you start the next part, wandering throughout the woods aimlessly until you find another cabin to walk into. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a cabin instantly. Other times, you make a wrong turn at Albuquerque and end up spending a good fifteen minutes just looking for the next house to wander into. Once you find, this randomly unlocked cabin and walk into, you will start the eye stage and this is where the main part of the game begins.
Once you actually get to the meat of the game, it will actually become a survival horror game. The Lodger must survive until morning in this random cabin in the woods without being caught. Being caught? What on Earth would be in this cabin? Well, just the scariest monsters known to man of course. At first, the cabin is completely empty; the Lodger wakes up and there is nothing there. He doesn’t remember how he got there or why is he is there in the first place. I honestly want to know who falls asleep in a strange cabin that you stumble upon in the middle of the woods, but you know that’s just me. The monsters will emerge through a hole in the wall known as a breach, some interdimensional portal that brings scary monsters right to the Lodgers doorstep. The only way to prevent the demons from crossing over is to turn on the lights in the room they are breaching. It is best to turn on as many lights as possible as quickly as you can, but be warned! These monsters can shut off any light they want and once they enter the cabin, they are not leaving until they find you.
Now you are probably sitting there and asking yourself, well what if they get in? Am I just royally screwed? Do I just have to suffer and let them catch me? Of course, you don’t! You might not be able to run, but you sure as hell can hide. Every couple rooms will spawn a bed, a cabinet, or some other household object that is perfect for shielding your body from those Hell spawns. Hiding is great for getting yourself out of a pinch, but time does not advance when you are hiding. So, it’s probably better to just make sure the monsters never get in the house anyway.
The visuals and soundtrack of Knock-Knock gave me the Don’t Starve vibe. From the voice acting being completely gibberish to visuals being the crude cartoon style, I just could not help but be reminded of the Don’t Starve series. The visuals also go along with the isolated laboratory aspect of the game. The rooms look disheveled with papers and maps everywhere and the old nautical equipment all over the place, it just brings the entire game together. The soundtrack isn’t the best thing in the world, but it brings a spooky ambiance that is needed to bring together the horror aspect of the game.
I personally really enjoyed playing through Knock-Knock. The game was really enjoyable; however, I feel I was more immersed with imagining what was going on in the game. Other than a set of diary entries and a few bits of dialogue the Lodger spews from time to time, there is no story in this game. Similar to a review for Virginia a while back, I found myself making inferences throughout the game to actually understand what in the hell is going on. I would notice that most of what was happening to the Lodger didn’t make a whole lot of sense. It states that he is an insomniac, but besides that, we do not really know anything about him. He wakes up in his cabin and everything just seems wrong and then he starts seeing monsters. It just doesn’t add up. I honestly think the story that is being told is describing the Lodgers struggles with his developing schizophrenia. His years of isolation is wearing down on his mental health and he is finally snapping. His schizophrenia is leading to constant insomnia and paired with the lack of sleep he is envisioning monsters and portals to other dimensions.
In the end, Knock-Knock is a fun survival horror game that I would recommend for most people. The game is priced decently at $10 USD, but if you are on the fence I would wait for a sale. The gameplay is rather simple and can get repetitive, but you can play through the game pretty quick. The horror aspects are not that scary and there is very few jump scares. If you are looking for a cool, little indie game that provides a few cheap scares and a couple hours of fun, Knock-Knock is the game for you!
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review
Final Score: 7/10
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