Klonoa Review (Wii)

[NOTE: Klonoa might have gotten rave reviews back in the PS1 days but the remake, as you can see by reading below, didn’t grab me the same way as the rest of the nostalgia-trippin’ industry.]

klonoa

Latest Draft Dated May 5, 2009
Published by: Namco Bandai Games
Developed by: Paon Corp
Genre: Action
US: May 5, 2009
MSRP: $29.99

Our Score: 6.5/10

Originally, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile was released in ’97 to prove that platformers did not have to be completely synonymous with Italian plumbers and jumping-and-stomping abilities. The decade-plus games returns on the Wii with no subtitle and upgraded graphics. Should you care?

At the budget price of $30, Klonoa isn’t so bad. The grabbing and tossing enemies gameplay of its former PS1 self is intact and, for the most part, the charm as well. Having never played the original, Klonoa is intriguing as you’re taught how to use enemies to double jump, attack and open up objects with your “wind bullet.”

You lead the main character and his odd, bodysuit condom-wearing buddy, Hewpoe, on a trek through fourteen levels against the evil Ghadius. Fortunately, developer Paon Corp didn’t stray off the beaten path too much as the only Wii “enhancement” you’ll see is waggling the controller to slow down your enemies a bit. But, in reality, there’s rarely a need for that as you get through most of the levels by simple puzzles not twitch action.

Sticking close to the original’s formula is well and good, but when the Wii already has an incredible breaking-the-fourth-wall title in Super Paper Mario, it’s easy to dismiss Klonoa‘s once innovative 2.5D gameplay. The platforming is precise and accurate enough (you listening, LittleBigPlanet?) to be entertaining for a few hours, but it now serves as another generic template that’s since been surpassed by its mustachoied competitor’s offshoot RPG series.

About the only thing the game has going for it is the charming and whimsical nature of its story and visuals. Both are understated and the narrative, for a change, is easy to follow and ends with a great twist — even if it is a bit predictable. Although, the argument could also be made that the game might have lost a bit of its magic. Now, the graphics look like any average third-tier game where, at the time, Door to Phantomile was amazing PlayStation gamers in its — now — crude attempts at polygonal integration and not-quite-rotating objects.

From there, Klonoa takes a few more dips in its latest incarnation. It consists of only fourteen levels (with an “added bonus” reverse mode) and four to five hours of game time. The difficulty is too easy at the beginning and ramps high up in its last couple of levels for no apparent reason. And, lastly, where’s the clever boss fights? Every other level has one, but we much rather have settled for quality over quantity on this one.

The Good

Unique, wind bullet action and no nonsense story.

The Bad

Age has not treated this 12-year-old game kindly.

Overall

Novelty aside — and twelve years later — Klonoa doesn’t hold up so well. The graphics might have been spruced up to give it a clean, stylized look, but under the hood…time has passed it by. It can be charming at times and its grab an enemy as a weapon concept is unique, but it’s still an average game spit-shined on for a new generation. If you already played through the much better Super Paper Mario and missed out on this PlayStation “classic,” you might want to give it a try. Otherwise, this thirty-dollar priced to move title (compared to eBay’s double-up auctions of the original) is an unnecessary luxury.

[Rating:6.5/10]klonoa

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