Whilst I am all for remasters and remakes of slightly lesser known, but still fully deserving games, I do have one major gripe – it is getting tougher and tougher to justify the purchases of the original releases as an ‘investment’. Klonoa 1 on the PlayStation was up over £100 due to its rarity. That has taken a significant hit with this remaster, and my copy of Klonoa 2 has also decreased in price. These remasters are causing my collection to de-value overnight and my wife’s complaints that they are just collecting dust are becoming more and more true. The remasters must be stopped!
But in the case of Klonoa, I am happy to make an exception. A childhood favourite that plays just as well now as it ever did.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a remaster of both mainline Klonoa titles: Door to Phantomile and Lunatea’s Veil. Door to Phantomile is a remaster of the Wii remake from 2008 and Lunatea’s Veil is getting its first outing since 2001 on the PlayStation 2. Both games play identically: they are 2.5D platformers where you control Klonoa (who is some sort of furry animal) through many levels. Armed with a Wind Ring, he can fire Wind Bullets at enemies and switches. Once enemies are hit with a Wind Bullet, they become inflated and Klonoa can use these to fire at other enemies or throw them on the ground to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.
It’s a very basic concept but it is surprising how much variety can be gotten from it. Unlike other platforming mascots, Klonoa doesn’t unlock any other abilities on his journey, but you could argue he doesn’t need to. Neither of these games are massive, but you will still be finding collectibles, fighting bosses and exploring secret areas, all with this singular mechanic.
In the first game, Klonoa awakens after a vision he has of an airship crashing. Along with a spirit orb called Huepow who lives inside his Wind Ring, they go off and investigate. He finds an evil ne’er-do-well called Ghadius who is searching for a moon pendant to turn the dream-like world of Phantomile into one of nightmares.
In the second game – spoilers, but Klonoa manages to thwart Ghadius’s plan – Klonoa is joined by new sidekicks Lolo and Popka. Lolo is an apprentice priestess who is the resident of the Wind Ring this time and Popka is the comic relief to Klonoa’s straight man routine. Once again, he is called upon to save the world, this time by collecting elements from the four giant bells across the world of Lunatea.
Klonoa 2 also features a bit more level variation compared to the first one thanks to some board riding stages. And one of those remains as personally iconic today in the remaster as it did when I first played.
Upon arriving in the theme-park inspired world of Joilant there is a level called Jungle Slider. Perhaps one of my favourite platforming levels of all-time, Jungle Slider changes the perception to a 3D platformer as Klonoa surfs down a water slide. Back in 2001 I was truly blown away by the waterfalls and the huge sense of verticality that the game had, along with the impressive draw distance. In 2022 this will be a level some will take for granted but it is still as impressive now as it was back then.
Both games feature the same cute Japanese art style, upgraded substantially from their original releases. But don’t let that fool you; things start off easy enough, but later levels can prove to be a bit of a challenge with precision jumping and comboing of grabbing enemies required. That said, if you bested Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, there will be nothing here to trouble you.
Each level also has a number of collectibles to find. There are 150 Dream Stones – sometimes more but this is the required amount – and six stars to find in each level. Collecting 150 stones is the icing on the cake as what you really need are the six stars. Depending on which game you are playing, these will relate to either a resident of the world you are exploring or be one part of a Momett Doll.
New for this remaster includes an Easy mode and a two-player mode. Easy mode allows Klonoa to take more hits before dying and the ability to shoot his Wind Bullets a little bit further. Two-player mode however is a bit of a lazy addition. I can see its use if an older person is playing with a little one and doesn’t want them to feel overwhelmed, as player two doesn’t really get to do much, unlike Klonoa themselves. Those expecting dual Klonoa’s jumping all over the place will find this mode disappointing.
In terms of new features, that really is all this remaster brings to the table. There is a Deluxe Pack available on the Xbox Store that includes DLC hats for Klonoa to wear from other Bandai Namco franchises, a digital artbook and soundtrack. This though, is an extra £15.99 on top of the base game and the artbook and soundtrack are even then only available as an app rather than in-game. There are no excuses for why this couldn’t have been included in the remaster.
The base game does come with a couple of hats for Klonoa too, so it isn’t like the rest couldn’t be implemented.
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series presents a bit of a no-frills approach to a remaster. Both games are presented as they originally were and are still as good as ever. They are highly replayable to those that experienced them first time around, but there is a lack of anything else included, unless you are willing to pay for it. What has been added in is minimal – and in the case of two-player for the first Klonoa game, a bit pointless – and some extras would have been appreciated. This shouldn’t put you off too much though, as both games are still fine examples of platformers. And at least now you don’t have to fork out nearly £150 to own them.
Find platforming’s forgotten son in the Klonoa Phantasy Reveries Series on Xbox