Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is here to remind or introduce gamers to the cute adventures of the Cat/Rabbit fusion through Dreamland. But unlike another cute character who ventures through Dreamlands, this one has a case of wind!
Dreaming in Double
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a compilation title. It brings together both Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. The first was originally a PlayStation 1 game which later on saw a Wii Remake, with the second being a PlayStation 2 title.
In terms of notable extras for the titles, it includes an additional difficulty mode and the ability to speed up cutscenes. The usual stuff like a Gallery is sadly missing outside of a rather pricey DLC pack, making this feel more like a straight-up remaster rather than a celebration of Klonoa.
Klonoa is a dream exploring cat/rabbit with a habit of getting into trouble. Ones involving treasures, accompanying spirits, and a dose of Sky Pirates. While quite simple initially, the stories do tend to get rather heavy later on tackling more themes than you would expect from a pair of Platformers from “back in the day”. If you’re like me and just want to get down to the nitty-gritty having played the titles originally, there is an option to either speed the cutscenes up or skip them completely.
While there isn’t anything wrong with the narrative and the characters in Klonoa, occasionally cutscenes will break up the flow of levels. This happens more so in the sequel, which likes to get quite chatty at times. Luckily the ability to speed through them can somewhat negate this.
Handles Like a Dream
The two Klonoa games are 2.5D platformer adventures from way back in ’97. This is a genre that was dwarfed by 3D platformers at the time like Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot, and the master of “kershplat” Croc. What this means for gamers is that it plays like a 2D platformer with 3D graphics creating the illusion of a 3D. There is also the ability to interact with the back and foregrounds.
Armed with the “Wind Ring”, unfortunate naming aside, Klonoa is well equipped to deal with the pesky nightmare creatures that are plaguing the dream worlds of Phantomile and Lunatea. The “Wind Ring” is Klonoa’s one tool that does it all when it comes to using enemies. It suspends enemies above Klonoa’s head. This allows you to fire them at other foes, at items to open them or to bounce off of them to reach higher locations.
Klonoa also can use his giant ears to momentarily hover in the air. I say hover – it’s almost like a desperate struggle to keep in the air for a second or two. Paired with some clunky physics where Klonoa falls out of the air with all the grace of a falling anvil, the platforming does take a little while to get used to, especially in tighter platforming sections later in both games.
Dreaming of Puzzles and Jumping
The basic gameplay in Klonoa is part charm and part curse for both titles. While they are incredibly easy to pick up and play, the real meat of the game doesn’t happen until around the halfway mark of each title. This paints a really poor, almost simple picture when in actuality both games can be devilishly brilliant with the less linear levels and more complex puzzles and jumping sections.
Each level presents you with the standard “Get from A to B” objective, but there are also 6 Denizens trapped in bubbles to save and 150 Gems per level to collect. This allows more experienced gamers to challenge themselves while providing a smoother experience for younger or inexperienced gamers. To add to this, the games now have a new “Easy” mode which increases the attack distance of the “Wind Ring” and also provides unlimited lives allowing anyone with enough tenacity to reach the credits. Those who aim for the collectibles may find themselves suitably rewarded though!
The boss fights throughout the package are absolute highlights and tend to make the most of not only the game’s mechanics but also the 2.5D graphics. Again, there isn’t anything “Souls” in terms of difficulty with them, but a few of them have little quirks that may take a few lives to crack.
While it may seem like I’ve lumped both games together for ease, it’s more of a case of the games being nearly identical in terms of content and gameplay. This is right down to the slow start before the game picks up around the halfway part. The only real addition that Klonoa 2 brings to the package is the “On the rails” sections where you glide along, collect gems, and dodge hazards. It’s hardly groundbreaking mechanics, but it’s the only real addition the sequel has.
At its best Klonoa will have you exploring levels to find switches that alter the levels in interesting ways, using enemies to manage tight platforming sections, and providing a real good time doing it. At its worst, you’re presented with a rather barebones but charming platformer where the character has an odd relationship with gravity.
Oh So Dreamy
Visually Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series has a really strong, cutesy Japanese art direction which is what helped the original titles stand out on release. This coupled with the 2.5D graphical wizardry going on helps the game stand out a little more, despite not having the strongest graphics in town.
The sweeping camera and cute art style distract from the blocky yet charming graphics and sometimes rather low-quality textures. While it’s a rather large leap in graphical quality from the original 1997 version, I wouldn’t say it looks better than the Wii Remake that was released back in 2008. Rather, it puts it on par with Klonoa 2 and gives them both a smooth framerate and a suitable resolution to make them closer to modern standards.
Musically Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series has some right little toe-tappers which just channel whimsy. It’s nothing I’d particularly dig out to jam with from time to time, but it fits the tone of the game beautifully. The voice acting also does that brilliant thing where they speak “gibberish”, much like the sounds iconic to Banjo-Kazooie. It harkens back to a time before Nolan North needed to voice every character in every game.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a brilliant little package for fans and newcomers alike. That said, the latter may have to wade through some of the more basic stuff before they hit on why Klonoa has such a cult following.
The graphics and funky physics paint a deceptive picture that the game is “budget” or “cheap”, but it’s simply a faithful remastering of two titles that are still very much rooted in the late 90s to early 00s. The same titles that have so much heart it would make the Kingdom Hearts crew green with envy.
The lack of extras outside of the DLC and the omission of the GBA titles does mean that the title slightly misses the mark, and it isn’t the most original title around nowadays, but the cheap price point and overall charm win the day in the end.
KLONOA PHANTASY REVERIE SERIES IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to Bandai Namco for a PlayStation review code for this title.
Support High-Quality And Detailed Coverage
Want to support the cost of us bringing you these articles or just buy us a coffee for a job well done? Click the Ko-fi button below. You can even find some digital goodies in our shop~!
Pride of utopia & greatest thing ever, I found the One Piece, Collected the Dragon Balls & won the Mortal Kombat Tournament in one night, it was quiet for me that night! Follow me on Twitter @powahdunk