Despite his long absence from the gaming scene, Klonoa has remained as a fond memory in gamers’ hearts — just check the secondhand prices on copies of the original two games for proof. Fortunately, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series has returned the fuzzball to modern consoles, upscaling the classic 2.5D platformers into HD and allowing a new generation of players to discover what makes these games so special.
But while Klonoa’s return is cause for celebration, Namco missed a few opportunities to make this collection into a true celebration of the series.
10 Bring Back The Cel Shading
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series compiles and remasters the series’ two mainline console entries, Klonoa: Door To Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. Both games in their original form featured a charmingly cartoonish graphical style; the first game utilized 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds, while the sequel worked around early-PS2 graphical limitations by using a gorgeous cel-shaded aesthetic.
In the remaster, though, Lunatea’s Veil is presented naturalistically, without the original cel-shading. It’s not bad-looking, and it keeps both games visually in line with each other, but as a result the game doesn’t have quite the same atmosphere.
9 Improve Performance On The Switch
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is available on pretty much every major console. It’s no surprise that the game runs like butter on the Playstations and Xboxes of the world, but its performance on the less-powerful Switch is a little rockier.
The game targets 60 FPS and hits it the majority of the time, but you’ll likely notice a few glaring hitches every now and then. And while it’s still perfectly playable, it’s disappointing and strange that these decades-old games don’t run perfectly on modern hardware.
8 Let Us Choose Between CG And In-Engine Cutscenes
Klonoa: Door To Phantomile was originally released on the PS1, during an era when developers used the freedom of the CD format to cram their games chock-full of fancy prerendered cutscenes. Klonoa was no different, featuring gorgeous prerenders for major story events… that the Phantasy Reverie Series remaster excises in favor of stiffer in-engine sequences.
It makes sense, since this version of the game is built on the Wii remake rather than the original, but it loses some of the original’s charm.
7 Stop With The Dang Tutorials
When you boot up either game in the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, you’ll jump into a level and instantly be greeted with a series of tutorials. These range from somewhat useful to completely useless, like telling you to collect the glowing collectibles that litter each stage. (What else would you do with them?)
Even worse are the pop-up tutorials that tell you exactly how to defeat bosses, sucking all the fun out of the encounters. And that’s not even mentioning the tutorials that greet you on level loading screens, which display information for levels you’ve already been beaten. What gives?
6 Features More Adjustable Difficulty Options
Klonoa isn’t known for being a challenging series, but the later segments of both games ramp up the challenge, asking you to expertly juggle Klonoa’s flutter-jump and enemy-grabbing abilities while landing precisely on tiny platforms.
So it’s nice that Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series introduces a lower difficulty setting, which provides unlimited lives, increased health, and a longer grab range to make these segments less demanding. Still, you can only take all of these options together — it would’ve been nice to mix and match these options to customize the gameplay and offer more gradients of challenge.
5 Include A Collectibles Finder
Another way that Klonoa’s levels introduce complexity is through branching, nonlinear paths. The early levels in both games are straightforward romps from beginning to end, but as the games progress, they’ll use their 2.5D perspective to introduce new paths and hide secrets.
It’s a fun twist on a traditional gameplay loop, but it also means that hitting 100% on each level can be frustrating, since certain collectibles are hidden behind optional paths or obscured by environmental elements. It would have been nice to include some kind of hint system or collectibles finder to cut down on that frustration.
4 Let Us Skip Through The Text More Quickly
Aside from its cutesy aesthetics and thoughtful gameplay, the Klonoa series sets itself apart from the platforming competition by focusing heavily on its story and world, making the game feel almost like a playable Studio Ghibli film. As such, if you want the full Klonoa experience, you’ll want to pay attention to the dialogue exchanges that bookend the levels.
Phantasy Reverie Series includes the option to skip these scenes, but you can’t just… press X to advance to the next text box. Since you’ll probably read faster than the game displays text, your options are basically to just wait around for the text to advance or to skip over these cutscenes entirely. There’s definitely room for some middle ground there.
3 Include The Other Games
Door To Phantomile and Lunatea’s Veil are easily the most well-known games in the Klonoa series, but they’re by no means the only ones. The cuddly rabbit-cat… uh, dog… dude has had his fair share of spin-offs, like Klonoa Heroes, an overhead action-RPG that mixes Klonoa’s whimsical aesthetic with Zelda-like gameplay. There’s even a Klonoa Beach Volleyball game!
But of these spinoffs, the only ones that made it out of Japan are the breezy GBA platformers Empire Of Dreams and Dream Champ Tournament… and the only way you can play them these days is by going through the dying Wii U eShop. Bandai Namco missed a huge opportunity by leaving these games out of the Phantasy Reverie Series.
2 Put A Little More Effort Into The Title Screen
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series locks two of the most charming, whimsical games ever made behind the blandest title screen you’ll ever see. When you boot the game up, you’re greeted with a flat, washed-out background and a prompt to hit start. There isn’t even any music playing!
As delightful as these games are, the start screen feels empty and lifeless. It’s a curiously flat gateway into a beloved series.
1 Include Any Supplementary Content… Like, At All
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series was released to coincide with the series’ 25th anniversary, so you’d think the collection would serve as a celebration of this adorable, underappreciated mascot.
But nearly all the celebratory features you’d expect — like concept art, or an option to listen to the soundtrack, or cute costumes, or developer commentary — are completely missing. That is, unless you’d like to spend $20 on a DLC pack!