Game review: Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series
If there's something missing in today's gaming industry, it's the wonderful discovery of finding new games for hire at your local video rental store. I remember my family hired out the first Klonoa game for the PSOne back in 1997, and it was a blast to play as a kid.
Sadly, my experience with the series died off as we didn't play the second Klonoa game for the PS2 in 2001. By that time, we were busy having too much fun playing the new Grand Theft Auto III game from Rockstar.
I've always wanted to go back and play the Klonoa games, but I never managed to find another copy. Thankfully, this year's release of the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series means I don't have to dig for an old copy of the game.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series includes both Klonoa 1 and Klonoa 2, and it's out now for most major gaming platforms. Instead of being a simple port of the original games, this collection has been built from the ground up as it's a full remake.
The 2D visuals of the older games are gone as this new version includes 3D character models and updated environments. Not to mention the cutscenes have been revamped to look and feel more cinematic.
Visually, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series looked great while I was reviewing it on the Xbox Series X console. The game is colourful and bright, which is a nice change of pace from all the depressing-looking post-apocalyptic games out there. The remake's graphics are impressive and don't look outdated.
Fans of the originals don't have to worry about the audio because the gibberish that the characters speak has been retained. Obviously, the game has English subtitles, so you can understand what they are saying. Players can also fast-forward cutscenes if they want to get on with the actual gameplay.
Even though the game is now in 3D, both the Klonoa games are still side-scrolling platform titles. This means Klonoa will be moving from left to right most of the time, although there are certain doors he can enter by you pressing the up button.
Klonoa as a character is very unique because he doesn't have the most effective skills and weapons that most video game main protagonists have. He doesn't have any guns, nor can he jump on top of enemies like Mario and Crash Bandicoot.
Klonoa is only armed with a special ring that can fire out a non-lethal wind bullet. Instead of shooting enemies, the wind bullet can only capture bad guys. Once Klonoa captures a bad guy, he can either throw them away or use them to jump to higher platforms.
The character is pretty limited with his skills and abilities, but this does not mean that the game is boring to play. The unique level design makes the game quite interesting because it's harder than it looks. There is some backtracking that needs to be done since locked doors are everywhere, plus none of the paths you take are very linear, either.
To make the levels more interesting, there are some collectibles that Klonoa has to collect if you want to achieve 100% everything. There are also only two difficulty settings in this game, and choosing one or the other will change your experience with the game.
On Easy mode, the game is more forgiving because you have five hearts as your health bar, plus you have unlimited lives. That being said, you still lose all your hearts if you fall into a pit. On Normal mode, you only have three hearts and only three lives. If you lose all your lives, you will have to start the entire level all over again!
Aside from the main side-scrolling levels, there are also several boss battles that Klonoa will have to face too. Since he does not have a gun, he will have to rely on capturing surrounding enemies and throwing them at the bigger bosses. One cool thing about Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is that the game will give you hints on how to beat certain bosses if you cannot figure out their pattern.
Some people might feel that both Klonoa games are easy, but they progressively get harder the closer you are to the end. If you feel like a platform game veteran, it's best to play this on Normal mode if you really want to challenge yourself.
While Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series has a great collection of two Klonoa games, it's disappointing that the Game Boy Advance game has been ignored. It could have been added since both games in this collection are surprisingly short. Klonoa 1 can be completed in less than four hours, while Klonoa 2 is only around seven hours long.
Despite the fact that these games are short, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is still a great way for older fans to relive the franchise in a new light. Even if you were too young to play the series, this collection includes two great games. This is a must-have if you are a fan of platform-style games.