special | Klonoa: Fantasy Fantasy Series – Since Super Mario Bros. Before NES set the standard for platform games in 1985, many developers chose to copy this scheme as closely as possible when creating a title of the same genre. This is of course not surprising, because the game was a huge success and can still be played quite well even today. This has ensured that nearly all platform titles are similar to each other: you walk from A to B, collecting several copies of a particular item along the way, and jump over the heads of your enemies to take them out. However, Klonoa tried to create his own identity by making some changes in this formula. You can now replay the first two parts of this privilege as a remaster.
The first thing that gave Klonoa its own identity was that it was a 2.5D title. This was not the dominant arrangement at the time, and thus made a good impression. Taking out your enemies was also different than usual. You did this by means of a magic ring, with which you can catch your opponent and throw him away. This can go in and out of the screen, creating some 3D games as well. You were so familiar with platform games that you had to jump on top of your enemy, which made this feature very original at the time. Now you have more 2.5D platforms today, so now Klonoa is less impressive in this area. However, the way you have to take out your opponents still looks new.
Klonoa: The Fantasy Fiction series consists of the first two parts. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is the first game and this game shows its age. The controls are good and the platform is very fun, but very basic. This is because the levels are quite linear, especially in the first half of the game and do not require much player skills. Once you’re halfway through, it’s a little less monotonous and the gameplay is more challenging, but it’s still clearly an old title. It is also not to be missed that the bosses are not very special and easy to beat. The first part of Klonoa is very nice to play, but it does not go beyond any good game.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil is a different story. The level design is more diverse than its predecessor and the same goes for the gameplay. For example, some small puzzles are occasionally presented and more are played with the entire 2.5D event. For example, more 3D gameplay is now being introduced, along with throwing your opponents into the screen and onto the screen, which was already in Klonoa 1. You now do more than just jump on platforms and dodge/take out enemies. This puts your platform skills to the test even more which makes Klonoa 2 better than its predecessor in all respects. This second part ensures that your desire for a completely new part will grow.
When a modified version of an old game or games is announced, you never know what exactly will ensue. Well, at least you know that accuracy is brought to a modern level, but developers sometimes want to go beyond that. With Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series, the resolution on PlayStation 5 has been increased to 4K and textures are provided with the same resolution. This looks minimal on paper, in fact the game looks a lot better than the original. The game obviously has a modern look now and looks really stylish. Klonoa itself has been completely redesigned, which makes the hero look a little different than the previous one, but in a positive way. If you’re going to show Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series to someone who doesn’t know it’s an emblematic game, they’ll know nothing better than that it’s a new (indie) game that runs at 60fps.
Bandai Namco also wants to use this package to see if it makes sense to create a new part. They’ve also equipped Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series with a number of difficulty levels. This way everyone – regardless of your skill level – can enjoy the game, which is always a good thing. Both parts now support co-op – the original first part didn’t have this – just don’t expect too much from this. The second player only plays the role of “helper” Klonoa. For example, you can help Klonoa to reach a higher platform. So don’t play as the protagonist’s brother to go on an adventure together. Which is actually a shame, because honestly this sounds a lot of fun to do.
Klonoa: The Fantasy Fantasy Series is a welcome return for the Dream Traveler. Games have their own identity – mainly due to the way you take out your enemies – so you feel fresh. The remastered version of the two titles ensures that the games look more modern and therefore fit well for this time. However, the first part of Klonoa shows its age in terms of gameplay, which is very basic. So it is nothing more than a good game. The second part comes out better, because it gives you more versatility and a better level of design. This part shows that a new part of the series is definitely welcome.
Played on: Playstation 5.
Also available at: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.