Klonoa Review
Klonoa box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Namco Bandai 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Namco Bandai 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: May 5, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Namco's ventures in the platforming genre are few and far between. We mostly know them for their Naruto and Katamari games, quality RPGs and card titles, fighters, and, of course, Pac-Man. Klonoa is definitely a more obscure franchise, though it had its share of critical acclaim back in the day. It started on the original PlayStation, but there were a few other installments on the PS2 and GameBoy Advance. Twelve years after the original game, Klonoa is back and ready to pick up the fame and recognition that was left behind. The Wii is definitely the best vessel for this affair, so hopefully people will be able to find in the game the same quality and amount of entertainment that I found.

Klonoa screenshot

This Klonoa is a faithful remake of the original PS1 game Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. Its visuals and overall presentation have been upgraded quite a bit to suit the Wii's standards, though that's not to say the game looks that much different. The environments look lush, vibrant, and very attractive overall, but most 3D elements and textures show their age. However, despite being somewhat outdated, this Klonoa revisit has a few things going for it. The level design is very original, the characters, wacky as they are, have a lot of charm, and the gameplay is very satisfying, even if not perfect.

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When you start playing, you’ll find a strange similarity to Sonic and Mario games. The characters, including the big-eared protagonist, definitely have a SEGA vibe. Some of the villains are actually quite creepy, though innocent and cartoonish. The soundtrack and voice-overs also scream SEGA, exuding a childish style that will certainly make a few players hesitate before playing. Still, the interesting 3D level design and engaging 2D gameplay manage to separate this franchise from similar ones, giving it its very own flavor.

Klonoa screenshot

The story is not particularly interesting, and I found it even difficult to follow at times, though it's actually very basic and typical of these games. Perhaps the voices were too distracting, and the dialog wasn't all that great. But in case you wonder what this adventure is about, Klonoa and his little blue sidekick Hewpoe set off to bring back the world of dreams, once managed by the Moon God. Ghadius, the King of Darkness, wants to turn Phantomile into a world of nightmares, so Klonoa and his friends will have to bring together the other gods in order to finally defeat Ghadius and get rid of him and his greedy intents.

Taking on the role of Klonoa, you'll advance through the 14 different levels by going from one platform to the next, using elevators, hopping on a spring, entering secret tunnels, finding keys and traversing doors, and ultimately, catching enemies and tossing them to eliminate or weaken other foes, activate switches, uncover hidden eggs, rescue citizens, etc. Using the enemies to your advantage is not exactly a new thing, but it certainly works at least as well as it does in Kirby games. Different foes are tackled in different ways. One has to be cautious not to be tricked by their fiddly moves, but that's just part of the fun. The puzzling elements also add a little dose of challenge. Finding the right path is not always obvious, so you'll have to use items and plan out some things in advance in order to find the final level exit.

Klonoa screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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