…Yeah, I’m not sure why I digged this old girl up again. I have other games I should be getting around to, but the ever large annoyance of DLC tempts me to wait for a “complete” experience once a sale hits. And I don’t want to dive into a Sandbox or another Metal Gear right now So I sat down with a budget title from Namco Bandai, jogged through it in two days, and was left realizing why it was largely forgotten and sold like spam at a vegan youth hostel.
Klonoa Review Release Date: 5/5/2009 Platform: Wii Developer: Paon Publisher: Namco Bandai
Originally a Playstation one title remade as an attempted reboot of sorts with the franchise, Klonoa has only a bit more plot than you’d expect from a colorful 90s platformer. With the fairly simple starting ground of a little furry guy going out to figure out what the hubbub is about the big shadowy man wearing a golden condor helmet, with the help of a talking sphere. The game could easily just offer as much plot that could fit on a post-it, but insists on trying to expand it over the three hours the game latches onto. Which only falls flat when you realize the throwaway characters from the first few levels were suppose to be ones you forged some brand of feeling for, so their presence has meaning in the final battle.
The interspersed mid level cutscenes and ability to easily skip through the cutscenes makes the idea of plowing through the story sound more than a knick plausible. Especially given the voice acting that, due to the very straight script and less than stellar instructions I’m presuming the voice actors were given. Which quickly got to the point where having the characters spout semi-related gibberish was the more plausible of the two audio tracks. But I must give the game’s props for, while mostly being a run of the mostly retired mill, offering an ending that still stands today as being one of the most delightful things I could fathom from a game that keeps it so straight.
Which expands to the gameplay, which is simple enough to run on an NES. You see an enemy, you grab them with one button, jump with another, and use their inflated form for a boosted jump or a weapon. Pretty much Kirby’s Dream Land with a more limited flutter and a super jump if you swallow an enemy. Which the game uses as much as it can through twelve levels, seven bosses, and a bonus stage. I’d hesitate to say that it is light on content though, seeing as how with the mechanics presented, a longer game would likely feel repetitive, or even more so than this game did when it was trying to throw in a light and dark world mechanic for a level. Which I’m normally cool with, but not when it has me wait for enemies to stop being invincible for a bit
Not that what is presented is not enjoyable, it is a relaxing platformer than keeps a very easy to grasp set of mechanics that it uses in as many puzzles as it can get away with before making switch puzzles that made me feel like the duke of the derps. With the biggest threat to demise being platforming on single locks floating in midair, which the flutter jump attempts to offset, but I still fell into their clenches a decent amount of times. As I watched the life counter go down, my mild irritation towards the very idea of a life counter lessened due to how collecting 100 doohickies gives you a life, and the game doesn’t reset them after a checkpoint. So having 99 before a gem means you basically have infinite tries.
Another factor that caused slightly less negligible fatalities, was how the game is presented, in a 2.5D manner with a fondness for curves and circles you traverse around the circumference of. which can get a bit screwy when one block jumps are used due to how the world is rotating around you. It’s a nice visual glazing that, as well as its ability to throw things into the background and foreground, I’d assume to be the original justification for the game being on the Playstation back in 1997. And helped by a simple sphere centric visual style that has colors aplenty while doing just enough to justify how it was on the Wii, even though I highly doubt it was the weakest system the game could run on.
However, the very Kirby-esc, enemy designs can sometimes come off as a bit unremarkable in addition to limited. With several of the bosses seeming like they were made up through a few men rumbling about what would make a neat looking NiGHTs boss. Which, along with how I recall the game looking better due to how I played it before I was introduced to HD as a standard, take away from the game until it looks fairly meh. Which quite sad, since the game does have very nice visuals for a Wii title. While , the soundtrack fares better, with several upbeat and mellow tunes that do give a nice atmosphere for a slower paced game like this. While ramping it up a decent amount during the bosses at the end of every other level, like this was an old Sonic game.
In what is probably my shortest assessment of a title, if I had to summarize Klonoa in one word as opposed to over 800 it would be a word like okay, alright, fair, decent, average, any of them, take your pick. The story balances out between groan worthy and legitimate neat. Gameplay is fine, but could be a NES game that only had enough ideas for a few hours. And as neat as the visuals can be, the standard definition factor is difficult to ignore, at least for a spoiled blob like me. And for a game that was originally $30, I can think of several better games that launched for half of that. And even at $10, I’d sooner recommend the other two Namco Bandai budget titles I reviewed, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom and The Munchables, over it.
Alright (10/20) Fans of the genre or premise might enjoy the product. There is a kernel of goodness, but it’s still surrounded by some non-ignorable non-goodness, making the final product a bit “bleh”.
…So, did I do the reviewing and justifying the opinion good or did I do it bad? Let me know via a comment, because it is always nice to get those… assuming you offer constructive criticism… I didn’t like my last two, because they came from meanies!