The Latest

Storming and Platforming- Klonoa Reviewed

Klonoa for the Nintendo Wii. Developer: Namco, Publisher: Namco-Bandai

It’s quite rare that a week passes in which Tech-Gaming doesn’t get an accusatory missive. These letters charge us of being overly nostalgic and often state that we artificially inflate the scores of remakes or retro-influenced titles. Recent Nintendo Wii release, Klonoa, looks to perpetuate that steady stream of electronic correspondence. The game manages to capture the zeitgeist of the late 90’s platformer, albeit with a graphical makeover that doesn’t obstruct the titles charming simplicity. Bottom line- it is a remake that has aged exceptionally well, and remains thoroughly enjoyable, and looks downright picturesque.

1997’s Klonoa: Door to Phantomile for the Playstation One represented a remarkable transition in the platforming genre. For years, gamers were captivated by Bonk, Mario, and Sonic’s 2D hop and bop escapades. With the release of Sony’s first console, a critical shift was made from flat bit-maps, to a three dimensional, polygonal aesthetic. Door to Phantomile was a stopgap compromise, offering players instinctual platforming that weaved in and out of a voluminous playfield.

2009’s Klonoa– stripped of its superfluous subtitle, should be used as a model for future remakes. The game remains perfectly loyal to its original two button control configuration, if played with the Classic Controller, Gamecube pad, or horizontally situated Wiimote. Offering a Wiimote and Nunchuck scheme introduces physicality to the game, for players seeking additional diversion. Unlike most platformers, which offers success based on level memorization and player reflexes, Klonoa offers a slight cerebral challenge. Players navigate through each stage by jumping, and once an enemy is procured, double-jumping is possible. Amassing each jewel and collectable in a level requires players to strategize, and gives the title its unique feel.

The title’s only shortcomings stem from its decade-old roots. Although the player has a liberal health bar composed of hearts, falls into an abyss spell instant death for the helpless protagonist. Fortunately, the game never becomes excessively difficult, and incorporates a reasonable learning curve. Although the game is being released at a very reasonable price- $30, some may find the adventure ending a bit prematurely. I finished the games fifteen levels in a little more than five hours; unlocking a mirror mode in the process.

Klonoa’s largest improvement over its Playstation predecessor comes in its graphical delivery. Employing a rich color palette, a bevy of effects, and some intricate texture work, the title is quite impressive. Bloom-lit horizons, inverted waterfalls, and a flourishing tree village are just a few examples of the game’s accomplished visual backdrops.  While Namco didn’t have to include cinematics, their insertion indicates the developers longed for Klonoa to be more than a mere port. The title masterfully substitutes modeled polygons for the original’s sprite-based characters, which along with the solid framerate, makes the title seem incredibly fluid. 

There’s a reason why some players are nostalgic about ‘retro’ games. They typical offer uncomplicated play control and straightforward objectives. Klonoa marvelously presents those attributes, along with a level of graphic polish that in uncommon for a Wii title. If you’re a fan of the original or merely a platforming enthusiast, I highly recommend Klonoa. It’s a timeless classic that will likely be relevant in another decade.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

43 comments

  1. Didn’t expect such a great score from this one.

  2. Wow, a good remake. It’s on my radar now.

  3. Maybe they’ll remake the PS2 version now, too.

  4. You guys are still retro-loving fools. Don’t chance 🙂

  5. If a person still has the original PS1 game, would you guys recommend this one?

  6. Which came first Pandemonium! or Klonoa? You seem to say that Klonoa was the first 2.5D game.

  7. Seeing how the PS1 game is super-expensive, I’m going to buy this.

  8. Ten dollars lower and that cat/rabbit guy will be mine o mine.

  9. I bought this and it came with a free taco from Wahoos! What a weird tie-in.

    Now I wish there was one near me.

  10. RocksontheScotch

    I will have to grab this if it ever goes on sale.

  11. Wow, I got to pick this up. I love old-school platformers, but have never played this.

  12. A great 3rd party Wii game. I bet it will fail- sadly.

  13. Chi-Town Baller

    Looks cool. Think they’ll make a another Mario game this year?!?

  14. I hope I cant wait the price cut out.

  15. Never heard of this. Looks ok.

  16. Don’t change I meant to say. But don’t chance either 🙂

  17. Is there replay value beside the mirror mode.

  18. I think it was a good time to release this. There aren’t a lot of high profile Wii games out right now.

  19. Who is this Cologna?

  20. I’m sure they will. This year or next. They’ve got to be working on it.

  21. SamuraiSquirrel

    Wow, great review. I’ll need to get Klonoa now.

  22. That would be good. I hope this sells well.

  23. Wow, you guys like a Wii game? That’s so rare. You usually are pretty harsh on them.

  24. Awesome review. Everyone seems to be loving the game. I would love to see more revivals.

  25. Nice looking graphics, looks like a DLC 360 game.

  26. I think this site is pretty damn fair. If anything they give games the benefit of the doubt- Like In Major Minor.

  27. Great review, I’ve always wanted to play some of the Klonoa games, but they were overpriced. Now I have the chance.

  28. Nice lighting.

  29. Good read! Thank for the info.

  30. A good looking Wii game? That’s a rarity these days.

  31. It is not that often I have to get a dictionary out to be able to get through a review. At the end of an article,it is worth it!

  32. BrushwithDeath

    Words are DE’s weapons, and I think he misses the majority of his targets 😉

    Still, I love the Dennis Miller-like reviews here.

  33. DemolitionFurby

    Game sounds nice, and it’s really smart of them to have this at $30. Might just pick it up at that price.

  34. I think I vaguely remember the PS1 game.

  35. I loved this game when i was little but hopefully it will still be good on the wii…

  36. Great review, I’ll have to try this game out!

  37. Is Klonoa really that good? Never played any of the previous ones.

  38. I loved the previous installment, and this review had pretty much sealed the deal for me to pick this one up.

  39. I remember playing this long ago on the PS1. Glad to see that it’s still getting some love.

  40. Interesting, ive heard alot of hype from the PS1 version being the “best platformer in history” soooo, this interests me.

  41. $30 for a remake of one of the best games ever is too good to pass up.

  42. Man I just bought this game, and I couldn’t agree more.

    This game was really fun to play.

    A bit short, but man this was a great throwback into the PS1 era.

  43. Oh man I’m so glad this got made! The only problem is, living in New Zealand I have to get it from an import site and it’s going to cost $80 >.< But I'll still get it, Klonoa was the first game that got me hooked on gaming, so it has a special place in my heart ^_^