I’ll be upfront here, I had never played a Klonoa game before doing this review. While I was growing up the cute-yet-cool cat/rabbit hybrid always caught my eye in advertisements, but none of his games ever made it to my hands. So when Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series was unveiled earlier this year, I told myself that it was finally time to dive in, and ultimately I’m glad that I did.
Step into Phantasy
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie series is a collection of remasters of the first two Klonoa titles, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. Door to Phantomile is built off of the 2008 remake for the Wii, while Klonoa 2 is built from the original PlayStation 2 version. Both versions are faithfully remastered with stunning visuals, though some of the character and enemy designs, especially those in Door to Phantomile, definitely feel dated all these years later.
Both titles follow Klonoa as he attempts to save each game’s titular world with friends he meets along the way. Klonoa travels through each world in levels called Visions, using his trusty Wind Ring to fire off Wind Bullets that inflate enemies, allowing Klonoa to pick them up. Once picked up, inflated enemies can be thrown as a projectile or used to double-jump. Neither adventure is particularly long, though what Klonoa’s games lack in length they make for in difficulty, especially for players looking to find every collectable. The difficulty ranges from early stages being somewhat difficult to reach 100% completion on to later stages taking several attempts to complete at all. Towards the end of the games you’ll encounter particularly tough platforming sections that require quick precision with Wind Bullets and chaining several double-jumps together mid-air.
Luckily, for those who just want to experience Klonoa’s journey’s through Phantomile and Lunatea without too much trouble, an Easy mode is offered which grants you unlimited lives, causes you to take less damage, and further reach with your Wind Bullets. For those looking for an even tougher challenge, beating each game’s final boss will grant you access to Hard mode, which is essentially a no-damage challenge, as you only have one heart. You are also free to challenge yourself to find every collectable for 100% completion to unlock some bonus stages, though you’ll have your work cut out for you!
Let the Wind Guide You
For being 2D platformers, both Klonoa games present in Phantasy Reverie Series utilize 3D space to an exceptional degree, with diverging paths that can force a perspective change. Plenty of levels have a very fleshed out 3D space and a lot of the puzzles rely on players looking in both the foreground and background for switches, extra enemies, or secret collectables. Coming from a world where 3D movement is now essentially a given, these remasters have given me a real appreciation for what these games were able to accomplish with their limited movement back when they were first released.
As far as remasters in this day and age go, however, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series feels particularly bare bones when you go looking for any extras. Rather than including an artbook or soundtracks as a celebration of the series so far, there is nothing to be found in the base game. Instead, you can spend an additional $20 for DLC that unlocks a digital artbook, soundtrack, and a few other goodies like costumes for Klonoa to wear as you play through the games. It’s great that they’re available at all, but I would have loved it if I could have seen all those extras in the base game.
Like a Dream
Throughout the entirety of my review I couldn’t help but notice that Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series runs great on Switch, better than I expected even. There weren’t any frame drops to speak of when playing docked, and in my limited time playing handheld I don’t think I noticed any slowdown either. Everything is bright, colorful, and clear, and the remaster of Lunatea’s Veil looks especially gorgeous as you play through its four kingdoms.
When all was said and done, I really enjoyed my time with both Klonoa games included in Phantasy Reverie Series, they hold up well as challenging platformers, and I’d love to see a brand new visit to Klonoa’s worlds in the future. I’m now kicking myself for not bugging my parents to get me these games when I was a kid, because I can see myself being a longtime Klonoa fan moving forward, I just wish I’d realized it 20 years sooner.
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: July 8, 2022
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco