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KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series review for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, PC


Platform: Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Arbitrary Metric
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

It kind of feels like KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series is a testament to the power of bad timing. The game is a re-release of a pair of Klonoa games, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, both of which failed to set the world alight their first time out, not due to any fault of their own. Door to Phantomile, was originally released back in 1997, when Super Mario 64 had suddenly made the 2D platforming of Klonoa (or, more accurately, 2.5D) feel tame by comparison. The game was re-released on the Wii in 2009, but like lots of other third party games on that system, no one really noticed it then either. As for Klonoa 2, even back in 2004 it was known for having low sales – presumably, in part, because 2.5D platformers still felt too much like a relic.

If nothing else, then, the resurgence of 2D platformers over the last decade-plus makes KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series seem less like an anachronism. In fact, if anything, competing against lots of other 2D platformers makes it even more clear how good these two games are. The levels are well-designed, with checkpoints and puzzles and enemies that feel like they’re spaced out just right. While you always have a clear logical progression, the games also give you just just enough opportunity to explore and uncover treasures, so that it doesn’t just feel like a straight line from point A to point B.

It also helps that both Door to Phantomile and Lunatea’s Veil look fantastic. Somehow, despite the fact the games were designed in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s, they don’t look like they’re from the era. Rather, they feature bright, colourful worlds that pop off the screen.

That said, there are certainly a few things here and there that show the games’ ages. For example, while I wouldn’t quite call these games collectathons, there’s still plenty of treasures here to uncover, giving you ample reason to explore some of those side paths. There’s also a somewhat odd mechanic – the game’s titular hero can’t double-jump, but he (she? It? I’m not even sure what kind of animal Klonoa is, to be honest) can grab enemies and use them as a means for double-jumping. It’s not difficult, but it does take some getting used to, and it never feels like it’s a mechanic that other games would have been smart to borrow/steal.

All in all, though, the two games are highly enjoyable. I don’t know if KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series is going to be the game that finally gives Klonoa the audience it deserves. But if there’s any justice in the world, it will be.

Bandai Namco provided us with a KLONOA Phantasy Reverie Series Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-