Grab your blue cap and get ready for a blast to the past; it’s time to check out our official Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series Review!
It’s Klonoa, but not as you know it. Jumping on the bandwagon of the remastered games series alongside the Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy and the Spyro Re-Ignited Trilogy, the Phantasy Reverie Series brings remastered versions of both Klonoa games.
That’s right; players can delve back into Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil on all next gen consoles, including playing both docked and handheld on the Nintendo Switch.
No surprises which one I went for eh?
I was a huge fan of Klonoa back in the day, making sure the first title nestled firmly in our best PS1 games the moment I began the article. Now, remastered and with some lovely finishing touches, the games look better than ever.
Let’s crack on and take a look at them, shall we?
Klonoa: Door To Phantomile
Nostalgia alert – it’s going to hit you right in the face as soon as you turn on this game. You dive straight back into the 90s from the very first side-scrolling moments, reliving all the excitement of Klonoa’s world from the get go.
The first thing that I couldn’t help but notice is how crisp and clear the levels look now. I know that it’s been 25 years since the first game came out, but…
Hang on, 25 years?! I just had to stop myself mid sentence. How can this game have been out for 25 years?
Anyway, forgetting I’m 32 for a second, the levels all look sharp, crisp, and much more detailed than the original title. The same 2.5D side-scrolling action ensues from the start, but somehow everything feels much more textured, those rare moments where Klonoa walks towards or away from the camera for a second feeling even more special.
See, look how crisp the bell is in the first boss battle before Rongo Lango shows up. It’s a little like the HD version of the Wind Waker on the Wii U, with all the colours appearing much more vibrant on the screen.
For those who haven’t played Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, it’s very Rayman-esque in its design and gameplay. Klonoa doesn’t attack directly however, relying on a magical ring to fire wind bullets that grab enemies, which he then uses to throw at other enemies or double jump with.
Check out my article on how to beat Klonoa: Door to Phantomile for some more epic tips!
The game mechanics are very simple; use enemies to jump, collect gems, and beat bosses by hitting them with enemies four times. Back in 1997, this would have proved a bit of a tough call for gamers, but it’s mega simple now and not very challenging.
That being said, games don’t always have to be challenging to be enjoyable. For me, this is a nostalgic run through, a chance to kick back and go ‘oh yeah, I remember this bit’. It’s also a great title for younger gamers to sink their teeth into as well.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil feels a lot more polished and has many more tricks up it’s sleeve. Just take a look at the Donkey Kong Country-esque level selection screen above, for starters. There’s much more thought gone into the game overall, mainly down to the fact that the dev’s needed to build on the success of the first title and had to think outside the box a little.
Little changes like the one above instantly make you feel more immersed in the story and also help with transitions between levels too. Plus I’m a big fan of getting to explore the map, even just a little.
Just look at that still above; this game doesn’t look out of place with titles like Super Mario Odyssey or the best Ratchet and Clank games. And in many ways, it takes a lot of inspiration from Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.
From boarding levels to huge drops and segments where Klonoa flies across the screen at breakneck speeds, it’s very clear that Namco stole a bit of Sega’s formula and brought it to the PS2.
The main premise in Lunatea’s Veil is the same as the first game; use wind bullets to ensnare enemies and fire them at other enemies. Still, the level layouts are much different, with camera angles swapping and turning as you career down waterfalls and dodge enemies that are much more keen on gobbling you up.
Lunatea’s Veil provides the more difficult experience of the two games, introducing new elements like the tornado jump pads to add an extra slice of excitement to the proceedings. And if anything, the boss battles feel a lot more challenging too.
Are There Any New Features?
One of the new features that might be of interest to first-time gamers picked up from this Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series review is an easier mode. This allows Klonoa to fire wind bullets much further than the original game.
If you’re not used to playing games, say if you don’t write for a games magazine for a living, then you might find it a little daunting how close you need to get to an enemy before the wind bullet hits them.
To be honest, the wind bullets start to fly backwards as they come out of Klonoa’s magic ring, where as in the easy mode, they fly much further and make it easier to grab hold of enemies without losing health.
I imagine that would make trying to sacrifice an enemy to one of the massive wall monsters in Lunatea’s Veil much easier!
There’s also a new two-player mode where a second player can use another supporting character in certain situations, making the game almost feel like a co-op adventure. It’s not necessary and you can certainly complete the game quite easily without a friend beside you, but it’s a nice little touch if you have a sibling or best friend who is also obsessed with Klonoa.
Which Is The Best Klonoa Game?
After playing them both extensively, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil is definitely the best Klonoa game.
In many ways, Lunatea’s Veil feels a lot more like Crash Bandicoot, with many more levels showing the camera either behind or in front of Klonoa instead of just side on. It adds a whole new depth to the title and instantly makes it more exciting.
As I’ve said before, the sequel adopts more of a Donkey Kong Country/Super Mario-esque world map, with players moving Klonoa between worlds as they pick which level they want to play. Door to Phantomile adopts more of a Yoshi’s Story-style level select, keeping things side-on with minimal world-hub depth.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love Door to Phantomile, but with the addition of objects to grab hold of and ride in Lunatea’s Veil and the new items and challenges the game poses, I have to rank it above the original every time.
This Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series review was an absolute joy to write. As I’ve said time and time again, it’s a real blast from the past that most definitely appeals to fans of the the games that played them the first time around.
Playing both games again prompts the question as to why we never saw a Klonoa 3?
I guess with Rayman and Mario bossing the side-scrolling world and the shift to fully 3D games taking precedence, Klonoa’s 2.5D escapades just couldn’t cut the mustard.
And, if I’m being honest, they are quite easy.
That’s the main complaint that I have about both of these games; while Lunatea’s Veil is tougher than Door to Phantomile, that’s a little like saying that hopping is more difficult than walking.
If you’re looking for games that are going to get your grey cells tingling and leave you putting your switch down for a couple of days while you work through intricate puzzles in your mind, then this collection isn’t it.
If, however, you just want something to play while switching off and throwing little enemies into the abyss, then you’ll have a field day here.
All in all, Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series is a quirky but a little bit on the simple side. Which coincidentally is the review Brandon first gave me after we started writing together.
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.