A quick ramble about the Klonoa Phantom Reverie Series collection

Klonoa has been one of my favourite series since a decade or plus ago i discovered it… as a teen by playing the second game, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, on the old “fat” PS2 model. Yep, this isn’t a childhood fascination, i just loved the frigging series since i stumbled upon it, so thanks to some handy “gift money” i pre-ordered this new collection… one that Namco Bandai just kinda put out there without much marketing and fanfare, aside from revealing it in a Nintendo Direct.

I got the PS4 version for performance’s sake, and because i wanted something good to keep on the shelf – alphabetically -before Knack, so let’s just give a quick overview of this collection after spending a couple hours or so with it.

But before that, let me get a couple of things off my chest.

First off, let me say i hate that Namco Bandai has pulled the “buy this so maybe we’ll make a new game in the series” bullshit, worked so well with Rayman past Origins and Beyond Good Evil 2, with the added benefit of being just awful and scorned upon.

Second, Namco Bandai did choose the laziest possible modus operandi to make a collection, just the two mainline games, when there’s plenty of spin-offs that could have been included to make it a great package, especially since some of them were unevenly distributed, like the GBA Klonoa games, with the second one, Dream Champ Tournament, never getting a PAL release.

Or the volleyball spin-off, Klonoa Beach Volleyball, which conversely was released in Japan and Europe, but not in North America. Heck, give me the japanese-only Moonlight Museum for the Wonderswan, why not?

In terms of what’s actually into this collection, you get Klonoa: Door To Phantomile and the sequel, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, both remastered for the occasion.

It’s what it says on the tin.

Oddly, is the sequel the one that did need the remaster treatment, as the first Klonoa did receive a Wii remake back in 2008, so they basically took that and tarted it up, in terms of graphics and performance, and altered the art style to be more like the one see on the original PS1 release. Can’t really blame them on this particular choice since nobody did actually bought the darn thing on the Wii.

Speaking of which ould have been nice to also give you the original PS1 version of Door To Phantomile, not necessary, yes, but it would have costed them very little (since as of now it’s legally playable as an used physical disc or in its PS1 Classic release available on the PS3 PSN store) and gone a long way in terms of being appreciated for it.

Lunatea’s Veil – as previously hinted at – is now sporting a different art style, polished but ditching the cel shaded-like look the original 2001 release had, again, in order to make the art style more consistent with the remastered version of the first game.

The games themselves are untouched in terms of gameplay and content, so they retain the lives systems, for example, but there are new features and accessibility options.

The more obvious is the tutorials now propping up by default (they can be turned off), and the various levels of difficulty (easy let’s you take more hits, helpful for the less navigated, fledgling player, since Klonoa ain’t that easy as it looks) , alongside a co-op play feature that works like the one in Super Mario Galaxy, with the first player actually playing the game and the second player able to help them, here via a support jump, tied to a cooldown meter stopping you from breaking the level design, but useful if you haven’t mastered the Klonoa method of double jumping.

There are also some very small quality of life features, as in you can skip or play at 5x speed the cutscenes, and some options like showing a timer for speedrun purpose, or a pixel filter that does make the first Klonoa look a bit more like its PS1 original version, so if you want the retro looks and just that you can toggle them on or off.

Just don’t expect much from this filter, this is how it looks.

This filter can also be applied in the second game, with the same effect, which is a bit odd considering – as previously explained – the aforementioned original art style of Klonoa 2 used some cel-shading.

So yeah, it’s not a lazy remaster job as i thought, more games could have been put into the collection, YES, but the updates in terms of technical performance and looks are well done, the new features make the games more accessible (and its a multiplatform release) which is a good thing, and it’s a much needed re-release, since nobody bought the dang Wii remake and Lunatea’s Veil never received a port at all before.

The games themselves are still pretty dang good and kinda unique platformers-puzzlers, good stuff, though one could have some reasonable qualms with its 50 bucks pricetag (at least here in Italy and most European territories it’s in the 50 “eurobucks” price range) and the inescapable fact these games are not very long in terms of “hours needed to see the finale for the campaign”.

Not dozens of hours worth of playtime stuff, but delectable quality games with some extra content and replayability.

So, Namco Bandai, let’s just port the other remaining games in the Klonoa series, stat.

Gimme that punya.

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