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Klonoa: The Door To Phantomile Review

Namco's long-forgotten platforming hero returns

When asked to round off some of the greatest games released on the original PlayStation, the usual names tend to make an appearance: Tekken, Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid, Ridge Racer and so on. However, there were some excellent titles that for one reason or another didn't get the attention they deserved and ended up lost in history as the great PlayStation games that sank without a trace: Jumping Flash, Pandemonium, Tobal No. 1 and the like (look them up if you haven't heard of them - they're ace).

Klonoa: Door To Phantomile was very much in the latter camp. Anyone who played it would agree that it was one of the best platform games to appear on the console, yet for some reason it was never well received outside of Japan and the majority of today's gamers never got to enjoy it. If you're part of this large group of people, this is your chance to put things right.

Klonoa on the Wii is essentially a graphically-enhanced remake of the original. It's a side-scrolling platformer where you take control of the titular Klonoa, a cat-like lad who dreams about an airship crashing into a mountainside. The next day, that very thing happens so he decides to head off to the mountain to investigate just what's going on.

Click to view larger image

What's New, Pussycat?

Despite the game's basic structure being 12 years old now, Klonoa still feels relatively fresh, probably because the whole '2.5D platformer' genre never really took off. The game's also been given a visual polish, with lovely cel-shaded graphics that really give the feeling that you're playing a cartoon. It's literally the only thing that's been changed though. The soundtrack is identical, the levels are identical... basically, it's exactly the same PlayStation game we fell in love with over a decade ago, just with a lovely graphical update.

The actual gameplay itself is solid too. As a platformer it's got some fairly heavy gravity, which we've always preferred to the 'floaty light' nature of some games. As a result the game feels pleasingly chunky to play and it's much more satisfying when you land a particularly tricky jump.

As a hero, Klonoa is pretty weak. He can't jump very high and he doesn't have any effective attacks - not even the classic 'jump on the head' technique. Thankfully, he's equipped with the Wind Bullet. This is a ring that he can use to fire wind at enemies (not in that way, you filthy beggars), pulling them towards him and letting him carry them above his head. While carrying enemies, Klonoa can use them to either improve his attack (he can chuck them at other enemies or throw them at items to break them open and get the goodies inside) or greatly enhance his jump height (by using the enemy as a springboard to double-jump off).

Click to view larger image
This means if you want to find secret areas and free all of Klonoa's mates you shouldn't just plough through enemies, but make sure you make use of their ability to let you double-jump in order to reach previously inaccessible areas. It's a nice way of using in-game enemies to add a level of strategy and puzzle-based gameplay.

Don't get us wrong, there's nothing truly remarkable about Klonoa. It's not one of the best games ever made and it's never going to make anyone's 'top ten' list. It's just a very well put-together platform game which doesn't have any real negatives. It's fun, it's uncomplicated, it's charming and it's challenging without being too frustrating. Simply put, it's a harmless, fun platformer (if a little on the short side) that gamers of all ages can enjoy without being bogged down with complications. It's a nice change of pace.

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Comments

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  1. Rudie111 Friday 10th Jul 2009 at 09:32

    how is already being cheap to buy a bad thing?? duh

  2. Flash7 Friday 10th Jul 2009 at 10:33

    how is already being cheap to buy a bad thing?? duh


    Well, because the game has failed to sell well, and you can see that by the small price.

    I like the look of it! Sounds like a renter to me. :)

  3. Rudie111 Friday 10th Jul 2009 at 10:36

    how is already being cheap to buy a bad thing?? duh


    Well, because the game has failed to sell well, and you can see that by the small price.

    I like the look of it! Sounds like a renter to me. :)

    i like the look of it to and will probably get it. but i wouldn't pay £30 for a game as old as it is.

    They couldn't charge more tahn 15 - 20 quite for a port of a ps1 game.

  4. Andy88 Friday 10th Jul 2009 at 11:02

    I completely fail to see how the fact it's retailing for a cheap price is a bad thing. :?

    Who cares if it's not selling well and is cheap? What does this have to do with the quality and content of the game!? :?

  5. ChrisONM Friday 10th Jul 2009 at 11:52

    I completely fail to see how the fact it's retailing for a cheap price is a bad thing. :?

    Who cares if it's not selling well and is cheap? What does this have to do with the quality and content of the game!? :?


    As you can see if you read the review in the magazine, that was meant to be a plus point. It's just been put down on the site as a minus by accident. I'll correct it now.

  6. OrangeRakoon Friday 10th Jul 2009 at 13:42

    I never got to play the PS1 game, never owning a PS1, but the PS2 game was brilliant, and Empire of Dreams on GBA is one of my favourite games ever. I'll definitely be getting this.

    And as I only have 3 days 'till I'm back on holiday, I'll have to buy it in store, even if it is full price. Not that I mind paying that much for such a great game.

    _________________

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    I HAVS A PICTURE SIGS

  7. Andy88 Friday 10th Jul 2009 at 14:24

    I completely fail to see how the fact it's retailing for a cheap price is a bad thing. :?

    Who cares if it's not selling well and is cheap? What does this have to do with the quality and content of the game!? :?


    As you can see if you read the review in the magazine, that was meant to be a plus point. It's just been put down on the site as a minus by accident. I'll correct it now.

    Ah right. It all makes sense now.

    Guess that's what I get for being a cheapskate and not buying the mag yet this month. :oops:

  8. OrangeRakoon Friday 10th Jul 2009 at 16:55

    Reason for lack of sales:

    GAME and Gamestation aren't stocking it.

    So play.com it is.

    _________________

    http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o272/OrangeRakoon/raccoonkirbysig.png
    http://www.freewebs.com/thezeldaworld
    Member of the Battalion Brothers
    I HAVS A PICTURE SIGS

  9. jammingamer Friday 10th Jul 2009 at 18:26

    I own Klonoa Door to Phantomille and Klonoa Beach Volleyball(This is actually pretty good except Graphics) and Klonoa 2 Oh and one of the GBA titles
    It is nice to see Klonoa come too Wii but no new content was a downer too me

  10. Random-Hero Saturday 11th Jul 2009 at 02:39

    Reason for lack of sales:

    GAME and Gamestation aren't stocking it.

    So play.com it is.

    _________________

    http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o272/OrangeRakoon/raccoonkirbysig.png
    http://www.freewebs.com/thezeldaworld
    Member of the Battalion Brothers
    I HAVS A PICTURE SIGS

    If you ask behind the counter, some stores will order it for you. Gamestation sell it for £16 so its ideal buy really... Sadly HMV do stock it; but for £35.

  11. Giga Saturday 11th Jul 2009 at 08:55

    Reason for lack of sales:

    GAME and Gamestation aren't stocking it.

    So play.com it is.

    _________________

    http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o272/OrangeRakoon/raccoonkirbysig.png
    http://www.freewebs.com/thezeldaworld
    Member of the Battalion Brothers
    I HAVS A PICTURE SIGS

    If you ask behind the counter, some stores will order it for you. Gamestation sell it for £16 so its ideal buy really... Sadly HMV do stock it; but for £35.

    Game online sell it for £40 and Game instore sell it for £20.
    Anyway I read this in the mag a week ago, great review, it got the score that it deserved.
    This is one of those games that everyone should try to get ahold of.
    Its really good value, 8/10 game for £15.

  12. Munchlax OWNS Saturday 11th Jul 2009 at 15:50

    This is the most epic and winsome of all epic win things.
    And 'no new content?' try the costume changes, boss mode and (rumored) extra levels?

  13. Random-Hero Saturday 11th Jul 2009 at 15:52

    Well I shall buy it soon... :3

  14. Munchlax OWNS Sunday 12th Jul 2009 at 18:02

    Another point to anyone considering buying this: don't be fooled by the cutesy exterior. It's got a dark, gripping story, and one scene in particular will make you cry you eyes out.
    Basically, BUY IT. Or I may have to hurt you.

    Joking, joking. But seriously, buy it.

  15. jct Monday 13th Jul 2009 at 09:19

    :D Perhaps this could start a proper comeback for the cheap and cheerful platformers of the nineties. I just hope Nintendo get in on the act and release a sequel to Kid Icarus for the Wii.
    Well, I'd buy it.

    Note: I'm actually writing this using the DSi Web Browser. It's surprisingly quick for a free application.

  16. BleachFanJ Saturday 18th Jul 2009 at 10:50

    I got my copy of Amazon for a little £15. I used to play this game on the PS1, sadly i threw my PS1 and games in the bin (i wish i never did that). Anyway i think that its a good game for £15 8) Also the price is low because many people dont know the game series it didnt sell anywhere good except for its home country Japan.

  17. Crozzly123 Sunday 26th Jul 2009 at 00:11

    I've never seen this game before but the character is very familiar. Theres something about the 3D side scroll style that draws me in. Its a bit like the New Super Mario Bros series Wii and DS they are essentially remakes of the older two dimensional games but they are in 3D. What I like about Klonoa is that it has a similar effect yet I think you're getting a much better view of the world around. Thats one thing I find dissappointing about Mario is that you only see a flat background I'd be quite interested to see marios world from the original series in the same form as this game. 2D/3D looks to be the future.

  18. NinetailedFox Monday 17th Aug 2009 at 14:05

    I've played a small demo of this game, and it's really fun. I still have yet to buy the PS2 version. I wonder if I should get the PS2 version, or the Wii version? I don't think I'd want to bother with it on Wii, it's basically the same as Ps2...
    Anyways, it looks really fun and cute, but I think I'm going to stick with Zelda: Twilight princess for now.

  19. Nelsonator15 Sunday 6th Sep 2009 at 15:26

    When asked to round off some of the greatest games released on the original PlayStation, the usual names tend to make an appearance: Tekken, Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid, Ridge Racer and so on.

    Don't forget Spyro the Dragon!

    Ordered this from Play.com a couple of weeks ago when it was "temporarily" out of stock, but it still doesn't seem to be "in" stock. I reckon it'll be a while before I get it. Oh well, I've got Swords & Soldiers and Super Mario World to help me pass the time. :D

  20. Mcpilch Sunday 31st Jan 2010 at 16:07

    i saw this in a shop and burst a blood vessel. i only had the demo for the ps2 one (or at least i think it was this, it looks very familiar to me) and played that to death. when i get more funds i shall be getting this for definite.

  21. mysti Sunday 31st Jan 2010 at 20:22

    I bought a preowned copy from GAME today. It was in their sale so was marked down from £15 to £10. I'm looking forward to playing it :)

    mysti

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