Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series Review
Ask any gamer of who they think Bandai Namco’s defining characters are and you’ll likely hear answers ranging from video game icon Pac-Man (who is, in fact, their official mascot) to maybe even Tekken’s Heihachi Mishima. In between those answers might lie an unusual answer in Klonoa, a beloved character from the 90s.
Debuting on the Sony PlayStation back in 1997, Klonoa was the star of a couple of amazing and underrated platform titles that have been fan favorites for their fantastic level design and adorable characters. 14 years after its last appearance on the Wii back in 2008, Bandai Namco is breathing new life into the dormant series as Klonoa comes back to work his way into the hearts of both new players and longtime fans.
Welcome back, Klonoa!
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series includes both the aforementioned classic Klonoa games, namely Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. It goes without saying that, in terms wanting to experience the most complete version of both games, this latest release is the best entry point for newcomers veterans thanks to a plethora of features that has both casuals and challenge seekers in mind.
You play as Klonoa, an adorable little fellow that enters dream worlds and fights off the baddies who are trying to disturb the peace. It’s as fantastical as it can get, and while it may sound childish, the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is charming and light-hearted enough to be appreciated by a wide-range of players.
As far as the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series goes, the game doesn’t exactly reinvent the platforming genre but instead makes tweaks to the overall experience that makes it feel refreshing. Despite generally being a 2D platformer with a simple sidescrolling path, the game shifts camera angles often to give the illusion of being a 3D game, something that worked well for its playful setting.
The level design in Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series really elevates the experience because it encourages diverging from the main path to find new areas for goodies to collect, all while maintaining a sense of a proper length without feeling too short or drawn out. Levels also offer quite the variety of settings, which is a nice way to mix things up.
Each level has enough twists to make the trek fun and challenging. Klonoa’s ability to grab and hold enemies with his Wind Ring feels similar to Kirby, but since holding onto enemies was also the way to double jump, this teaches players to be mindful of their surroundings to further advance through the levels.
The game didn’t really “push the envelope” back then, so current players shouldn’t expect something in today’s standards in terms of creativity and variety.
All of this is wrapped up in wonderful package that looks like a colorful cartoon brought to life. Despite obviously looking like a product of its time, the improvements in the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series look and feel right at home in this age ruled by 4K and photorealistic visuals.
Complimenting the visuals is Klonoa’s upbeat and catchy soundtrack. Each of the audio tracks fit all of the different places you visit, from Breezegale to the Sea of Tears, and are good enough to give you an earworm.
Being a remaster, the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series brings along some quality of life features for the ride to make it fit into the modern standards of retro collections.
First off is the option to adjust your difficulty thanks to an Easy mode for newcomers who just want to enjoy the story of both games. Players that want a challenge will still be able to unlock a hard mode after finishing the game.
As with any platformer, collectibles in the form of Dream Stones and Ngapoko Eggs are riddled across the levels of the game, making repeat runs a thing to consider for those looking for replay value.
It’s also a great touch to add a Co-op mode, where a second player can assist Klonoa by giving him a boost in his jumps, offering an interactive way to enjoy the game with a buddy.
If anything, the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series has a DLC that gives players a digital artbook and soundtrack that could have sweetened the deal instead of making it a separate purchase. While it does also include a number of adorable outfits, we argue that it should have been part of the collection in the first place.
What We Liked:
- Improved visuals brings Klonoa’s vibrant worlds to life
- Fun and challenging platforming gameplay
- Catchy and upbeat soundtrack
- Lovable characters
What We Didn’t Like:
- Pretty basic collection with no outstanding bonus
- Pricey DLC that could arguably have been part of the package
Verdict: Buy it!
Klonoa was an iconic character for a reason. This fun platformer combined with catchy tunes and lovable characters made for some memorable experiences, and the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series lovingly brings all of it back to life for current systems.
Including both of Klonoa’s classic titles, the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is the best way to experience the classic and is a triumphant return for the character. The game is very simple to pick up and play, but also offers enough variety and challenge to those looking for a test.
Despite some minor complaints, you could even consider them as nitpicks, the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a treat for fans and is the closest thing we have (for now, maybe) to a modern Klonoa experience.
*Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 and 5 via a review code provided by the publisher.