Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series Review – The Rebirth of a Classic
Klonoa is a cult-classic platformer that has remained dormant for quite some time. With the rebirth of 3D platformers, it was only a matter of time until some of the more esoteric ones made their comeback, and I am pleased to say that Klonoa is one of these remasters that stands up well.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie is a modernization of the previous two games in the series. While it would have been easy for Bandai Namco to just remaster them, they went to great lengths to ensure that they are kept in the finest possible state. The series’ last major game was released in 2008, but it has seldom been in the limelight since so receiving something new and fresh right now is a delight even if we aren’t fans of the franchise.
The package mostly comprises two games. The first is a remaster of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, which was first published for the PlayStation 1 and Nintendo Wii. The second is a remastered version of Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, which was first released for the PlayStation 2. All of these games have stood the test of time and still look fantastic, thanks in part to visual style improvements. The presentation of this bundle looks to be intended for both long-time fans and newcomers. Klonoa performs admirably as a basic 3D Platformer, even exceeding recent efforts such as Kao The Kangaroo.
While Klonoa was never a great hit, it did have a devoted following. There were a lot of games for the GBA after the 3D platformers, but there was never a strong follow-up until this generation with the release of the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series. Both of these games aren’t particularly long and can be completed in a matter of hours, but they do come with a slew of extras, such as unlockables like Music Jukeboxes. Each of these games has collectibles throughout the levels, so returning to revisit them adds some value over time.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie is largely a single-player game, but I was intrigued by the co-op multiplayer feature. It turns out that this is more of an assist mode, similar to Super Mario Odyssey, with the main character and another player aiding them with various moves rather than two controlled characters. In this aspect, I thought this was a lackluster option, but it was still nice for a game like Klonoa. It is also feasible to obtain some of the more difficult collectibles with this option, so if you are a completionist, having someone walk you through the stages is beneficial.
Indie games and Nintendo have permanently redefined the platformer genre, but Klonoa seems like a step back in certain ways. Despite the memories of playing these games, I thought them to be very simplistic. The side-scrolling elements are wonderful to see in 2.5D design, and there is some verticality to the moves that add a dimension to the exploring, but the gameplay is lacking in excitement and challenges overall.
Klonoa’s level design has a dream-like appearance with some appealing sights overall. The main action consists of picking up enemies and throwing them in a line or in the foreground/background to obtain some of the more difficult collectibles. These are also employed for fundamental puzzle-solving skills, albeit they don’t truly strain our wits enough to be considered puzzles. The gameplay and level design feel coherent and professional, yet certain artistic vibes can give the impression that things are out of place.
One of my concerns with this collection is that it is way too clean. When played on the PS5, the visual style is extremely sharp, with 4K and 60 FPS performance. Overall, it’s a joy, but I do miss some of the cell-shading from previous games. This release frequently appears to have abandoned the creator’s intent. The animations are also flawed and do not feel modern, but in the great scheme of things, we can ignore this.
Another criticism of the game is that it is lacking in material. Because of the short play duration, the replay value is determined by how much you love returning to acquire all of the collectibles. However, if you are a one-and-done gamer, there isn’t much to offer here. The two games may be finished within only over ten hours by just progressing through the levels and ignoring the collectibles. There is no significant new content in this edition to tempt someone who has just beaten them.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Game Information
- Price: $39.99
- Publisher: Bandai Namco
- Developer: Bandai Namco
- Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher