Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (1998)

Genre: Platformer | Players: 1 | Developer: Namco

An underrated little game about an anthropomorphic... something named Klonoa who uses a magic ring to fight and traverse the many levels of the land of Phantomile; A land made of the very dreams people have at night. A dark wizard named Ghadius wants to destroy the land by replacing the dreams that fuel Phantomile's existence with nightmares and it's up to Klonoa to stop him.

Klonoa moves in a two dimensional plane, but the levels are rendered in 3 dimensions. One of the many games of the time that used this "2.5D" perspective, it allows the levels to be a little more expansive and for Klonoa to actually engage with things outside of his 2D path even if he remains fixed to it. The perspective gives the platforming a little addition of puzzle solving that is already part of the gameplay because traversing the levels must be done with Klonoa's limited moveset. His ring can be used to capture enemies from which he can shoot them at other enemies or use them to perform a double jump. He can also float momentarily by flapping his ears. That's it. Those 3 moves are all players are given for the entire game, but that is by no means a bad thing. Using them in increasingly new and challenging ways is what makes each encounter with it more akin to solving a puzzle.

The aesthetics are full of bright colors and simple designs. The simple designs could be intentional or just a limit of the hardware, but they have aged better than other 3D designs of the time. The simple aesthetic and gameplay make it a suitable game for kids, but easily enjoyable by older players as well. Simple but solid execution. Decent little soundtrack too.

Buyer's Guide:
Used copies of the Playstation original are somewhat hard to come by, but there is also a remake made for the Wii with new graphics and voice acting. The unaltered original is also now available for download on PSN.

4 Traditional 3-phase boss out of 5

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