The 'Shroom:Issue XXX/Non-Mario Review
On this very special edition of The Shroom, we will be reviewing Klonoa for the Wii, a remake of the original PS1 game Klonoa: Door to Phantomile.
Most reviewers who buy remakes of games expect nothing on par or above the original; and why should they, when often remakes of older games simply dumb down the gameplay, or remove special features or core parts of the original? However, like Kirby Super Star Ultra, Klonoa is a remake that is more than perfect. To call it superior to the original would be an understatement.
The Klonoa series is a fairly obscure one -- it does have its fanbase, but it never broke into mainstream gaming or sold very well. It had great critical reception, sure, but it never did as well in America as Namco has wished for it to. And with that, Namco of America basically dropped the series off a cliff and deemed it unsuccessful. After four years of no new releases in America, they decided to bring back the very first game in the series -- Door to Phantomile.
The story is nothing too complex, as with its counterpart: suddenly, dreams can no longer be remembered once the dreamer wakes up. Klonoa and his childhood best friend Hewpoe (a new spelling of his original name "Huepow") set for the Moon Temple, and venture all across Phantomile to get there. However, Ghadius and Joker (aka "Joka" in previous installments) are doing everything in their power to stop the duo from reaching their destination. The story also shows many hearwarming moments, like Wind Waker which we reviewed in the past. The very ending of the game, in particular, is heart-renching.
The graphics are a quantum leap ahead of Door to Phantomile's; they appear crisp, clean and smooth. Most noticable are the beautiful water effects and the overall color palette of the game. Colors fit the characters and locations they adorn, and nothing seems out of place. The graphical style is even an improvement of the still-gorgeous-looking Lunatea's Veil, which used cel-shading.
It isn't just graphics that have been improved, though. The audio of the game is very close to the original and the remastering has been done excellently. New to the remake is the option to select either new English dubbing or the original Door to Phantomile language track (a fictitious language that has become a trademark of the Klonoa series). The English track is none too special, and many of the voices are annoying or unfitting for the character. That's the only area where the game makes a step wrong, though; the Phantomilian track is miles better.
The gameplay is very straightforward but can become complex at times, as well. Unlike most platformers, Klonoa can face the "front" (looking straight at the player) and also the "back" (back turned towards the player). This is crucial for solving some puzzles and obtaining certain items. Many of the later levels rely mainly on puzzles and can become quite difficult, though it is only natural that the difficulty would up the ante in time for the final stages. The bosses are quite challenging, some of which are even harder than the normal levels; namely Joker and the final boss.
Packed full of bonus features, there are new challenges and options waiting at the end of the game, such as the ability to change Klonoa's costume (featuring the original "collar" design, the PS2 "zipper" shirt, and a new beach outfit). And for those of you who are looking to put a lot of time into a challenging game, try completing Klonoa entirely -- by collecting all the Dream Stones and captured villagers!
Klonoa sets a standard and is easily one of the greatest remakes I have ever played. If you're looking for a fun and difficult game or just want another platformer to play, Klonoa is a solid choice that I recommend.
Thanks for reading my review, and I hope to review Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil next month.