I am the one who knocks
I’m going to try to describe Knock-Knock and you’re going to have to bear with me while I do it, because it’s not the sort of thing that’s easily described. Saying it’s a side-scroller with exaggerated, cartoon graphics starring a haggard-looking young man with sunken eyes and wild red hair is simple enough, but the world in which he lives and his role in it is something else entirely.
Bear with me.
The young lad in question lives in a house located deep in a dark, lonely forest. It’s an odd place, seemingly empty and in a poor state of repair; and worse, it’s surrounded by twisted, deformed supernatural beings of various sorts who are trying to get in. He needs to keep them out – but some of them are already inside. To banish them, he must go from room to room, turning on the lights and replacing burned-out bulbs as necessary – which is quite often. And once the light is on, he can close his eyes and “imagine” furniture into existence. And other things, too; some of it he can hide behind, while others have their own, different purposes.
It’s a game of hide-and-seek, really, with a simple goal: make it to dawn without being caught. Time passes as you putter around the house, and every now and then you’ll run across a strange, oddly familiar clock which you can use to advance the minutes and hours at a rapid pace. Hiding, however, has the opposite effect. Time runs backwards when you’re crouched behind a couch or a boiler, hands pressed over your eyes, so you can’t stay there forever.
But there’s more to it than just that. You’ll occasionally have to wander outside and traipse through the forest in the middle of the night in search of something – I wonder what? – and odd portals will sometimes open in the walls, leading to… elsewhere. Doors slam, lights go out, and other things happen. It’s all very strange. Oh, and you’re not told what you’re supposed to do, either. Figuring it out is part of the challenge. Pay attention.
Knock-Knock is being developed by Ice-Pick Lodge, a Russian studio best known for the 2005 game Pathologic, an experience of extraordinary strangeness in its own right. Yet the studio claims it didn’t actually create the game, but merely completed work started by someone else, which was sent to it in the form of 19 files containing snippets of text, little bits of recorded audio, and fragments of video footage. The materials were sent by a stranger who begged the developers to complete the work – and also warned that whatever fate befell the original creator could also be visited upon them.
It’s an unusual setup, and while I don’t know if it counts as scary – at least not as far as I’ve gotten into it – it’s certainly creepy, unsettling, and utterly fascinating. As “not for everyone” games go, this one is top-of-the-list kind of stuff, and if “not for everyone” is for you, then Knock-Knock is something you should be paying attention to. Knock-Knock is currently expected to come out in mid-October.