Basically Klonoa is a small half-cat half-rabbit character who evolves in platform games in 2.5. Created by Namco, it is best known for two games that made the heyday of Playstation, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. And it is precisely these two titles that we find today united in Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series on Playstation, Xbox, PC and Nintendo Switch
Small with big ears
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series therefore compiles two typical classics of the Playstation platform games of the 90s/2000s. That is to say games that take the mechanics of 2D platform games from previous generations by mixing them with more 3D elements and settings”modern“, all coated with kinematics in computer-generated images (in a way Pandemonium- another classic of those years.) The two games are fundamentally very similar in their gameplay and even in their realization. Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil is however more successful and better built with richer and more varied environments. Moreover, it is necessary
Two classics remade in HD
It must be remembered that the two games were graphically quite different since they were released on two consoles of different generations. The first Klonoa: Door to Phantom Island is indeed a game PSOnereleased in 1997 and the second, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veila title PS2 released in 2001. At the time, there was therefore an evolution between the two titles. Klonoa: Door to Phantom Island was a very pixelated title with sprites way gameboy advance while Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil featured sharper graphics and more detailed cell-shaded characters.
With KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series, the two games are getting a real makeover and now agree completely both in substance and in form. However, on Switch in any case, do not expect to find games capable of competing with current standards. It’s colorful and very clean, even at times very pretty, but we’re still closer to Wii games in HD than to PS4 games, even first generation. A comparison that is not totally irrelevant knowing that Klonoa: Door to Phantom Island has already had the right to Wiimake in 2008. However, the version contained in KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series is not the Wii version remastered in HD (which included elements of opus 2.) This is a new version designed especially for the bundle. It’s a shame because the Wii version was quite successful with a slightly darker side, redesigned cutscenes and especially spoken dialogue. Namco obviously preferred to completely revise its copy in order to offer two games in the same spirit. Exit therefore the realization of the Wii opus and its (small) changes, the developers preferred to opt for a deliberately “cartoon” side with bright colors and cartoon-style decorations of Saturday morning. As for the dialogues, it will be necessary to be satisfied with the text (in fr) and the language phantom, an imaginary language. Other than that, the developers have redesigned the character of Klonoa, or rather unlike the Wii opus, they reviewed it by getting closer to its original design. On Wii, Klonoa had a very Disneyan “. He was very thin and slender with very big hands and very big feet. In this version, Klonoa is more packed and its proportions are more modest. We also notice that in opus 1, our little hero finds his cat’s collar which had disappeared on Wii. Otherwise, as a good Namco mascot, Klonoa obviously always wears his PAC-MAN cap.
A real cartoon
On arrival, if we can prefer the biases of the Wii version, Klonoa version Phantasy Reverie Series remains adorable and always pleasing to the eye, especially since the world of games is very kawai and refers to Japanese anime from the 70s. KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series undoubtedly has a very regressive side and not only for those who have experienced the heyday of the first Playstations. If the two games do not include any new content or additional levels, they now have a “pixel” filter for those who would have the curious idea of wanting to believe themselves on GBA. They also have an easy mode, adding hearts, infinite lives, waypoints and making Klonoa stronger. To tell the truth, the games are not really difficult at the base but certain passages can suddenly turn out to be more difficult, which can destabilize young players. At least with the “easy” mode, they can repeat the difficult passages several times without having to start the level from the beginning. The games also now include a two player mode which is more like an accompaniment since player 2 can only assist player 1 with limited actions.
On the gameplay side, no big problem – once you get the mechanics. It’s always about moving forward and following predefined paths using the scenery and enemies to progress. There is always an obvious path but also different branches allowing you to rummage through the levels. Basically, Klonoa can run, jump and spin for a few seconds in the air. Thanks to a mysterious ring, which he recovers from the start, Klonoa can also grab enemies; an essential ability that allows him with good timing to jump higher but also to use them as projectiles and thus get rid of other enemies, open chests or activate mechanisms.
Small particularity of the license: if Klonoa always evolves on the same plane in 2D (moving to the left or to the right or even going up or down), it can interact with the background and the foreground – the environment being in 3D. It’s not really obvious the first few times, but we understand quite quickly how it works and overall, we find ourselves there quite quickly. It’s clear that Klonoa does not have a gameplay as clear and obvious as a Mario but it is well thought out. Klonoa respond well and game design has been expertly built around Klonoa capabilities and different 2D/3D perspectives. Once you understand the available actions, the rest comes by itself. Sometimes you have to make perilous sequences (especially to go to bonus corners) and again, some passages are more difficult but that’s also what makes the charm of the game. The games are not very long in a straight line; a dozen levels per game, interspersed with animated sequences and varied and often original boss phases (which always give pride of place to 2D / 3D mixes.) We would have liked some new features, or even why not, find the other Klonoa games ( 2 GBA titles and a Wonderswan title but in the state for 49€ (introductory price on the eShop- and more or less in store) KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series remains a good investment for all fans of platform games.
At the arrival, KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series allows us to find two beautiful platform games from the late 90s / early 2000s in very colorful versions that will appeal to old hands as well as newcomers, and more particularly to young players. Note that the Switch versions are technically very successful both in TV mode and in portable mode.