Review: Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series

Posted 4 weeks ago by Zoey Handley
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series Header

Bahoo! Bahoo!

Klonoa is definitely one of those games that really need a re-release. The series is a cult favorite, having originally been released in 1998 on the PlayStation, Bandai Namco only sporadically acknowledges it exists. The last entry we got was the 2008 remake of the original title on the Wii. Yeesh. There are fan-favorite franchises that are far worse off, but we can count our victories while still screaming at the walls about what is left to be done.

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series can be counted as a victory. It collects remastered versions of the Wii remake of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, and the PS2 sequel, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil into one package. I want to complain that it would have been nice if they also included the Wonderswan and Game Boy Advance titles while, oh yeah, also throwing in the Beach Volleyball game. However, my throat is pretty sore from screaming at the walls, so I’m just going to take what we got.

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series Just runnin'

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series (PlayStation [PS5 reviewed], PC, Xbox, Switch)
Developer: MONKEYCRAFT Co. Ltd.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Released: July 7, 2022
MSRP: $39.99

The series sets itself in a sort of dream world. The two games present in the collection aren’t exactly connected in narrative outside of the titular Klonoa. Spoilers. It kind of sucks for Klonoa, since he’s not really a resident of these lands. He just shows up and fixes all their problems. That’s pretty thankless. End spoilers.

Both games are similar platformers. They’re simple, almost to a fault. They’re sidescrollers with a little wrap-around. The paths tangle around each other and you can throw enemies into the foreground and background. Really, aside from those 3D effects, you could emulate the action on something as simple as, say, a Wonderswan. Klonoa is not Crash Bandicoot, is what I’m saying. It isn’t even Rocket Knight Adventure, but not every game has to be the best platformer ever to be worth playing.

They’re also rather terrific aesthetically. Not only does the dream world allow for some interesting vistas, but the side-scrolling camera also does an excellent job of displaying them. The worlds don’t exactly feel all that cohesive, intent more on giving an abstract experience, but there’s a liveliness to them. If you keep your expectations in check, the games presented in the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series are perfectly solid, polished experiences.

Put a ring on it

As for the remaster, it does well without really marring the original products. The biggest loss is Klonoa 2’s cel-shading effect. It was perhaps dropped to try and unify the appearance of the two games. I still found the graphics to be appealing. They’re more detailed and a lot cleaner. However, the cel-shading had a very stylish look to it that gets lost regardless.

Looking at the brush strokes of the Wii remake, what struck me most was that they changed Klonoa’s height. For some reason, Klonoa was a lot taller in the Wii version, perhaps to match his appearance in the PS2 release. It wasn’t a big deal, it was just funny that characters talked down to him while he physically towered over them. He looks a bit more like he did in the original PS1 version here, for what that’s worth.

Overall, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is probably what you’d expect to see for a remaster targeting the Nintendo Switch platform. The games themselves aren’t that impressive, graphically, but they have cleaned up quite nicely. There’s also a pixel filter that you can toggle on, just in case the games look a bit too nice for your tastes.

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series Hover Boarding

Put a collar on it

The goal of Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series seems to primarily be to repackage these two games. Graphical improvements aside, not much has really been added. You can choose to play at an easier difficulty. I chose that for the first title and quickly regretted it. It’s definitely a setting for the younger crowd, as it’s far too easy for someone who regularly plays sidescrollers. The original Klonoa isn’t that difficult, to begin with, so I don’t know what I was thinking.

It’s definitely best that they packaged two titles together, as neither game is particularly long. Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil is a bit larger, less linear, and features more variety. However, you’ll be lucky to get 20 hours out of the two titles. Once again, it’s disappointing that other games from the series weren’t included. Bandai Namco is asking $39.99 for the two games, which certainly isn’t cheap, but is not particularly galling.

Waterslide from Klonoa

Turn your hat around

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is an okay way to enjoy two cult classics. Full stop. The end. There’s nothing particularly exciting about it outside the games it contains. I’m definitely happy that these games are now available on modern consoles, so thanks for that Bandai Namco. There are things that could have been done to make it more of an indispensable collection, but they weren’t.

Nothing needs to be reassessed because nothing has been significantly changed. These are still two charming, well-polished platformers. There’s nothing mind-blowing about them, but I enjoy them for what they are and think more people should experience them. More effort could have been made in this collection, but the graphical clean-up is appreciated. I’m shrugging. You can’t see it, since this is a text review, but my shoulders are up.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

7

Good

Solid and definitely have an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.

Zoey Handley
Zoey is a gadabout gaming hobbyist. She's been playing video games all her life and is a lover of both new and retro games. She enjoys digging in the dirt and picking out the games that are perfectly fine if you clean them up a bit.