Strangers In The Night: Knock-Knock Released

By Adam Smith on October 7th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Waiting for a new Ice Pick Lodge release is a lot like waiting for Christmas, except instead of presents under a tree and a day of jollity with family and friends, Icepick reward their devotees’ patience by dragging them into strange and terrifying new worlds. Thanks, Mr Lodge, it’s just what I wanted! Knock-Knock is a Kickstarted curiosity, with a crowdfunding campaign that became a fictional account of the game’s origins as a sort of cursed creation, plucked from obscurity and haunted by similar qualities to those afflicting Inland Empire’s film within a film. Jim will have more to say about the final version soon but you can revisit his earlier thoughts right now. Trailer below.

I’ve played for a couple of hours, and am thoroughly enjoying every creak and bump while slowly discovering that the latest transmission from the Lodge is far more bound in rules of play than I’d anticipated. A game of hide and seek in which the player is both seeker and sought. Despite the oddness of the design, both the structure and the story are more clearly defined than brief glimpses suggest. I’m eager to see how it all ends.

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20 Comments »

  1. Keymonk says:

    Well, then. I suppose creepy is a fitting word.

  2. DrScuttles says:

    Drawing vague similarities with Inland Empire piques my curiosity that bit more. Weirdly (or perhaps not, really), muting the trailer and playing that film’s soundtrack works really well.
    Maybe Ice-Pick Lodge would like to make a Rabbits videogame? That would be terrifying.

  3. Muzman says:

    I do worry that the main character’s general expression is one of angry determination rather than fear or something neutral.
    That seems to undermine it a little, from the brief clips.
    If anyone knows their Kuleshov it’s those folks, so maybe they know what they’re doing.

    • AngoraFish says:

      For what it’s worth, having played the game for an hour and a half or so now, in my view the character couldn’t be more perfect… evocative and with a ton of personality and uniqueness that makes the game feel thoroughly charming.

    • LTK says:

      Just wait until you see his expression when he’s hiding behind the bed.

    • RedViv says:

      The angry determination actually fits it more. It’s the kind of angry determination of just bloody wanting to go back to sleep already because you’re already seeing shapes in the corners of your eyes, shapes ever fleeing from more direct gaze.
      And that IS perfect.

    • Don Reba says:

      It is that angry determination of the sleep-deprived to stay awake. I often look the same way after getting 3h of sleep.

  4. XhomeB says:

    Released? Yay!
    *opens the GOG page in the new tab*
    Oh…

    It will be launched on GOG, as well, right? RIGHT?

    • AngoraFish says:

      Right… but with no set GOG release date you may have to wait a while yet.

    • SavageTech says:

      If you’re just waiting for the GoG version because you’re worried about DRM, the Steam version doesn’t have any.

      Otherwise, yeah, a GoG version is coming but Ice Pick Lodge hasn’t given a release date.

      • The Random One says:

        Conversely, if you backed the Kickstarter and asked for a non-Steam version you got DRM. (Simple, unobtrusive “please enter your product key just this once while connected to the internet” DRM, but still DRM. I don’t know how many activations you have, either.)

        • Lemming says:

          What you just described is no more ‘DRM’ than using your credit card to purchase something online: “just pay for it, just this once”.

  5. GameCat says:

    I’ve played this for while.
    In short words – it’s a horror game with almost arcade gameplay. And it’s quite scary and it comes from guy who thinks that Amnesia wasn’t scary at all.

    You’re waking up in the night. You’re walking around house to fix these damn cheap lightbulbs that are always malfunctioned. Somehow your house is different from that from last night. Suddenly you feel that there’s something wrong in your basement. There’s knocking on the door. Someone (thing) wants to come in.
    You’re walking around your house waiting for morning to come. You’re hiding behind your bed, because there’s a creature in your room. Somehow while you’re hiding the time seems to stop, even reverse. Creature walks out. You’re winding your clock forward hoping for morning to come earlier. Sun set up. You’re walking around your house again, fixing lightbulbs. Someone opens the front door. Someone just invited you to visit the forest. You’re walking through that forest like delusional maniac (admit it, you have problems). Then night is coming and you’re repeating all of this.

    TL;DR – play it, it’s brilliant.

    • LTK says:

      I’ve completed it twice now, and there’s still a secret ending that I haven’t found yet. But I concur with all of this. It’s great.

    • The Random One says:

      I wouldn’t even say it’s scary. It’s more… unsettling. I found myself reluctant to keep the lights off even when the game (or the Lodger?…) made it very clear they shouldn’t be left on for long.

      • GameCat says:

        That’s why it’s so great. It’s not “boo, you’re scared now because of sudden loud noise”, it’s rather like nightmare that you can’t remember after waking up. A nightmare that was caused by staring too long at Old Gods from deep space and reading books that devour your sanity. It creeps inside your skull and slowly turns you into madman.

  6. DuneTiger says:

    I picked this up because I’d been reading the articles here on RPS and tbh, I was extremely confused as I started the game… it’s quite effective for the horror aspect of it, really. Only after a good hour or so of being in a seemingly-perpetual WTF-state, it all started to click together. There really isn’t anything else like it out there.

  7. vahnn says:

    Well, consider me baffled.

  8. Don Reba says:

    I did not expect the game to turn out as well as it did. It may be 2D and cartoony, but it definitely continues in the same vein as Pathologic and Tension.