This gorgeous remake's gameplay has stood the test of time.
Klonoa began life on the PlayStation in the title Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. Since then he has become somewhat of a trademark Namco character, finding himself in a collection of other titles on the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, GameBoy Advance, and finally Wii. Since the series has gone dormant and Door to Phantomile has aged significantly, Namco decided to remake the title with updated graphics, a bevy of new control schemes, and new material to help revive the iconic series.
Klonoa features a character duo comprised of Klonoa himself and his ring spirit companion, Hewpoe, who grants Klonoa his staple wind bullet power. The team begins their adventure in Phantomile, the land of dreams, when a ship crashes into a nearby mountain and the duo decide to investigate. Upon reaching the mountain peak they encounter Ghadius and Joker, two evil beings who seek to destroy dreams, as well as Phantomile itself. The two villains capture the songstress Lephise and set off in order to perform their deed. So begins the quest to save Lephise, dreams, and Phantomile.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Klonoa moves on a 2D plane in a 3D environment. Klonoa's plane weaves all around the environment, and new planes frequently appear perpendicular to his current plane, allowing Klonoa to completely deviate from his original path. Players often find themselves playing three-dimensionally, as enemies, switches, and collectibles are found in both the foreground and background. This shouldn't be confused with games such as New Super Mario Bros, which only features action on the 2D plane in which the player exists. Those familiar with Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards will see some similarities in Klonoa's presentation.
Klonoa's combat mechanics are a tad unconventional as well. Klonoa uses the Wind Bullet to fire a projectile gust of wind that serves a variety of purposes. Players will mainly use it to pick up enemies, who can then be thrown to defeat other enemies, collect items, or perform a double jump. As such, players often need to trek back and forth to obtain enemies which enable them to reach a new area or collect an item. Klonoa also has the innate ability to float in mid-air for a brief moment at the peak of his jump, thanks to his massive floppy ears.
Conveniently, players can control this relatively small moveset on a variety of controllers. The Wii Remote, Wii Remote + Nunchuk, GameCube Controller, and Classic Controller all give players sufficient, comfortable, and responsive control of the titular character.
The game is split into a set of seven visions (worlds), each containing two sub-visions (levels), the second of which features a boss battle. Merely playing through these visions to reach the end of the game proves easy. However, meticulously scrounging through each level for all of the crystals and trapped villagers proves to be a much bigger challenge, and when played this way, Klonoa can be described more accurately as a puzzle-platformer. Puzzle elements also appear in the game's boss battles. Each boss battle typically locks Klonoa into a specific area, requiring players to identify the boss' weakness and exploit it to win. In many instances, these bosses are present in the background, allowing Klonoa to attack from many angles thanks to the oft-circular layout of the arena.
Players already familiar with Klonoa: Door to Phantomile will find that the remake has stayed true to its source material. The game sports a fresh coat of paint that looks even better than the cel-shaded graphics of the PlayStation 2 sequel. Those who finish the relatively short game will notice that a Reverse mode has been added, along with a mid-level challenge room in the reversed levels. After completing the game players can also unlock costumes to give Klonoa and his friends a new look. Finally, there is also a new Time Attack mode, allowing players to challenge the bosses separately from their levels.
Though short, Klonoa makes for a fantastic addition to the Wii library. With its beautiful new visuals, additional modes, and extremely challenging bonus rooms, Klonoa veterans as well as platformer fans would do well to pick up this budget-priced title.