Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series Review

Klonoa is back, baby! Find out why we think these titles are excellent additions to your platforming library.

by Shaun Cichacki
Klonoa Remaster Review

After lying dormant since 2008, it’s time for Klonoa to shine brightly once more. There’s something for everyone to love with Klonoa, from its infectious soundtrack to its adorable characters, yet it may not be a game that everyone can love. With this new collection of titles, you’ll be able to experience two of the finest platforming titles around, as long as you are willing to deal with a little lack of polish in the overall gameplay loop.

As you make your way through the different visions that are offered in this title, it’s easy to see why gamers were initially infatuated with this bipedal creature back in the day, and it’s unknown to this day why the series has lied dormant for so long. If you’re a physical collector of games, you may not have played Klonoa, but you’ve seen the prices of these titles continue to skyrocket, even to this day, which is why a remastered collection of these two titles is welcomed by so many gamers. Even those that prefer to emulate may not have had a chance to get their hands on the second title in this series, as it is notoriously difficult to emulate properly.

Now that both of these titles have found a home on just about every platform on the sun, let’s discuss why these are essential titles for gamers that love the idea of whimsy, fun, and creativity in their platformers, as well as the downfalls that both of these titles may face in the grand scheme of everything. Here’s our review on Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series. 

Wa-hoo! Klonoa is back!

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Let’s start off with our thoughts on the first title in this double pack, Klonoa: The Door to Phantomile. As soon as you select this title, you’re treated to colorful visuals, a soundtrack that will be stuck in your head for days to come, and a sweeping shot of the most adorable characters in all of gaming. As you begin to pick up and play the game, if you’re a Klonoa veteran or a newbie, you’ll be right at home with it’s loop of simple gameplay, matched with great controls.

As you make your way through this game, you’ll learn a handful of new skills, all to help you make your way through levels, as you search for hidden collectibles that aren’t so incredibly hidden, as well as jumps that are high up in the air. You’ll be able to utilize the power of your Wind Bullets to grab enemies, hold them above your head and utilize them in a matter of creative ways. You’ll be able to throw them at others to clear a path, to jump even higher in the air, and bust open eggs that will grant you extra hearts and other items throughout the stages.

It’s all fairly straightforward, and while there may be a few moments of frustration as you struggle with some of the perspectives that you need to properly hit a boss or grab an item, the gameplay is quite breezy. The story, while not overwhelmingly complicated, winds a compelling narrative that will keep you interested throughout the whole game. However, there are some times when slow movements or lengthy cutscenes can drag on for a bit too long, but you’ll be able to speed up through these if you find yourself wanting to get back into the action quickly.

A Fresh Coat of Paint Breathes New Life Into Klonoa

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Levels are designed with multiple branching paths, so you’ll be able to explore to your heart’s desire. Even if you find yourself lost at times, you’ll be able to get back to where you started with ease, so you won’t need to worry too much if you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. The overall level variety is excellent, as well, as you make your way through beautifully done seascapes, frightening factories, and so many more locations.

While the gameplay loop of Klonoa: The Door to Phatomile is quite exciting and refreshing, the difficulty spike in the last level is quite intense, pushing even seasoned platformers to their limits. You’ll need to make sure that you understand the gameplay loop to a science to make sure that you’re able to get through the final two levels, so make sure you’re practicing your double jump like there is no tomorrow! After you have completed the game and found all of the unlockables, you’ll also unlock an extra episode that will provide a hilarious end to your adventure, after you’ve faced off against some of the most creative and exciting bosses in a platforming title.

Overall, while some spots feel a bit dated, fans of the original title are bound to be pleased with this remaster, crunchy PlayStation One audio and all. It’s nice that they kept the original audio in for fans of the original game, but some gamers may find the audio design a bit jarring overall, especially when compared to the crisp, high-definition visuals. However, as a first ride through the world of Klonoa, it will leave you excited to see what is coming up in the second title, which also happens to be included in this collection.

Two For The Price Of One

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However, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil is where things start to get interesting. Taking all of the finer points of the original title, refining them, and crafting them into a near-perfect title, you’ll find yourself coming back to this title time and time again, even after completing its main storyline. Much like the original game, you’ll find a creative and lovingly crafted world, with some of the most unique level design found in a platforming title, alongside some much more manageable difficulty spikes. Now that you’ve mastered the moveset that Klonoa has to offer, it’s time to put your skills to the test.

Once again brought into a new world against his will, you’ll control Klonoa through another high-flying adventure, with even more flair than the first title. Since this title was originally released on the PlayStation 2, you’ll find the developers put more time into Klonoa, especially with the way that the camera will pan and follow through with some of the new traversal methods. While the original Klonoa was all sprite-based, with CGI cutscenes, Klonoa 2 was the jump into the 3D world, and they were ready to showcase that move in every way that they can.

You’ll have even greater control of Klonoa in Lunatea’s Veil, alongside new ways to make your way through levels. You’ll find yourself bombing down a waterslide on a hoverboard, shredding down the side of a snowy slope, and so much more, alongside standard platforming sections getting a boost in the way of new enemies that will help you reach new heights, both literally and figuratively.

The Dream Warrior Returns

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The developers took everything that worked great for the original and ramped it up to 10 in this stellar sequel. You’ll find a more engaging story, more exciting gameplay, and so much more that makes this one of the greatest platforming titles of all time. While there are still some small kinks that could have been worked out for this remaster, this is as close as you are going to get to platforming perfection. Bigger set pieces, creative levels, and hidden collectibles will make it so you have to scour each of these finely crafted levels with a fine-toothed comb before you can finally put this one to the side.

This is a collection that Klonoa fans have been drooling about for years, taking two of their favorite titles, putting a new coat of paint on, and leaving them alone, with a few small quality-of-life tweaks. However, gamers that are more accustomed to modern-day platformers may find these feeling a little geriatric in a way. While the Klonoa games were extremely high quality back in the day, the re-invention of the genre has brought so many new tweaks to the flavor of the genre that these may feel a bit antiquated by today’s standards.

How Does It Hold Up?

While the remaster has upped the quality of the visuals to a new level, there is still some work that could have been done. During a few sections in Door to Phantomile, some textures looked a bit half-baked, leaving the creative level design looking a bit unfinished. Originally, it was thought that maybe the textures didn’t fully load in, but even after waiting around, some muddy textures brought the world down a little bit, while the rest looks crystal clear and polished. However, with the original pixel style of Klonoa: The Door to Phantomile and the cel-shaded styling of Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, the different styles couldn’t have properly been mixed, so sticking with one concise graphical style makes the most sense for this remaster.

As mentioned before, the sound design may feel slightly jarring to some, as the original audio is used, uncompressed, and sounding exactly as it would on your original system of choice. Fans of the franchise may be pleased to hear that, but some gamers may feel that this sounds odd, especially when compared to the colorful and creative visuals. Crunchy PlayStation One audio coming out of a 4K model felt strange at first, but the emotion put into the character is something that probably could not have been replicated. However, weirdly enough, the in-game sound effects for The Door to Phantomile were taken from the original Wii remaster, so you’ll have clearer audio when the actual game is playing.

Controls felt great in both titles, but this is where their age starts to show a bit more. Newer platformers are, for the most part, pixel perfect, and with the unique blend of 2.5 gameplay, you may find yourself having to toss a few extra Moo’s at an item in the background because you weren’t lined up perfectly in the foreground. While this can feel mildly infuriating at times, it’s something that you grow to learn and overcome as you continue to play the game. It can lead to a few frustrating moments that don’t feel as polished as newer titles, but for Klonoa fans, the fact that these titles remain as unchanged as they can get will fuel your need to purchase these titles. Plus, with the upgraded moveset that you have in Lunatea’s Veil, including the ability to do tricks while in the air, on your hoverboard, and more, it feels excellent in the long run.

The Verdict

Is this a game for everyone? No, not in the slightest, as the age of these titles can be felt in many different forms. However, if you enjoy a solid platformer that you can complete in a weekend, with an endearing story, a loveable protagonist, an excellent soundtrack, creative levels, and more, you’ll find your money’s worth and more with this remaster. Keeping these titles as they were is almost necessary, as any changes would have made it feel like a completely different title, and different is what Klonoa has going for it. It’s very unique, and it’s something that many players, new fans, and old can enjoy tremendously. While there are some parts of this title that are mildly infuriating, the overall package is something delightful for platforming fans, and this title deserves all the love it can get.

If you grew up playing Klonoa or even had a remote interest in the franchise back in the day, you need to do yourself a favor and treat yourself to these titles. Now that you can own two of the greatest retro platforming titles without having to shell out hundreds of dollars makes this an easy sell for those that are fans of the franchise. If you’re looking to fall in love with a platformer that wears its heart on its sleeve, you’ll be happy to know that these titles still do hold up tremendously well, even if they may not feel as polished as some newer games in the genre. If you’re willing to deal with some frustrations from dated design, you may find yourself head over heels for this loveable Dream Warrior, no questions asked.

This game was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the game's publisher,public relations company, developer or other for the express purpose of a review.

- This article was updated on July 9th, 2022

"loved"
loved

  • Score: 4 / 5
  • Available On: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
  • Published By: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Developed By: Monkeycraft Co. Ltd.
  • Genre: Platformer
  • US Release Date: July 8, 2022
  • Reviewed On: PS5
  • Quote: "If you're looking to fall in love with a platformer that wears its heart on its sleeve, you'll be happy to know that these titles still do hold up tremendously well, even if they may not feel as polished as some newer games in the genre. If you're willing to deal with some frustrations from dated design, you may find yourself head over heels for this loveable Dream Warrior, no questions asked."
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