Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Graphics 7
Sound 7
Gameplay 7

If you enjoy platform games, then Klonoa has a lot to offer. The 2.5D visuals sets the game apart from the 3D titles of the era and there are lots of extra stuff to see and do while playing.

Gameplay: Pretty straightforward platform fare.

Graphics: A bit pixelated, but bright and colorful.

Sound: Upbeat

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Klonoa: Door to Phantomile

Developer: Namco | Publisher: SCEE | Release Date: 1997 | Genre: Action / Platformer | Website: Official Website (Japanese) | Purchase: Amazon

Klonoa is a strange catlike creature who, along with his childhood friend Huepow (who is a ring spirit by the way), live in a world called Phantomile. The strange thing about this world is that it is fueled by the dreams of its inhabitants and thus they can’t remember any of their dreams. When Klonoa wakes up remembering one of his dreams he knows something is amiss and things get even stranger when his dream of a spaceship crashing into a nearby mountain comes true. Of course Klonoa and Huepow sets off to investigate this strange occurrence. The story might sound childish but it is quite imaginative and the ending came as a big shock to a lot of players.

Gameplay wise Klonoa is a straightforward platform game that will appeal to all Mario and Sonic fans. Klonoa can jump and hover for a short while using his floppy ears, but its his wind attack that is the most useful. Enemies can be captured with it and then used for a variety of purposes ranging from throwing them at other enemies to using them to jump to higher platforms. The gameplay is actually very puzzle oriented so don’t expect to just rush through the levels. Enemies require different techniques to dispose of them  and along the way you’ll also need to find the keys  that will unlock doors or manipulate the scenery in order to find a way through. There’s also a few interesting boss fights along the way.

Level layouts are pretty good and rarely straightforward. The “2.5D” nature of the graphics occasionally causes some parts to be obscured by objects in the foreground but nothing too serious. The graphics can also look a bit pixelated at times, but remain bright and colorful throughout. The bouncy, upbeat music fits the game nicely and while there’s no speech the characters all speak with gibberish voices while the translation is given in text format.

Klonoa has a bit of backtracking at times and it s possible to take repeated hits, which is very annoying but overall the game isn’t too difficult. You can save at the end of each level and there are lots of checkpoints, but lose all your lives and its right back to the start. Just playing the game to finish it isn’t too hard, but there are some extra stuff you can go for which can add to the challenge.

Because of the way this game looks it never really gained that much popularity outside of its native Japan, but if you enjoy games like Castlevania and Metroid you’ll be sure to enjoy Klonoa. The original Playstation version is very hard to get a hold of nowadays, but fortunately a remake has been released on the Nintendo Wii so be sure to check it out.

*Review originally published 2008

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