A collage of images from Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, alongside the box art for Klonoa Beach Volleyball

10 fixes the game needs

Despite his long absence from the gaming scene, Klonoa has remained a fond memory in the hearts of gamers; just check the secondhand prices on copies of the two original games for proof. Fortunately, the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series has brought the fuzzball back to modern consoles, upgrading classic 2.5D platformers to HD and allowing a new generation of gamers to discover what makes these games so special.

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But while Klonoa’s return is cause for celebration, Namco missed some opportunities to make this collection a true celebration of the series.


10 Retrieve cell shading

The Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series compiles and remasters the two main console entries in the series, 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 used 2D sprites on 3D backgrounds, while the sequel solved the PS2’s graphical limitations by using a beautiful cel-shading aesthetic.

However, in the remaster Lunatea’s Veil is presented naturally, without the original cel-shading. It doesn’t look bad and it keeps both games in line visually, but as a result, the game doesn’t have the same atmosphere.

9 Improve performance on the switch

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is available on almost all major consoles. It’s no surprise that the game runs like butter on the world’s Playstations and Xboxes, but its performance on the less powerful Switch is a bit more difficult.

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The game aims for 60 FPS and achieves it most of the time, but you’ll likely notice some glaring issues from time to time. 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’s choose between CG and in-engine scenes

Klonoa: Door To Phantomile originally launched on the PS1, during an era when developers used the freedom of the CD format to fill their games with fancy pre-rendered cutscenes. Klonoa was no different, with gorgeous pre-renders for major story events… which the Phantasy Reverie series remaster does away with in favor of more rigid in-engine sequences.

It makes sense, since this version of the game is based on the new Wii version rather than the original, but it loses some of the charm of the original.

7 Stop With The Dang Tutorials

When you start any game in the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, you’ll jump to a level and instantly be greeted with a series of tutorials. These range from somewhat useful to completely useless, like asking you to collect the shiny collectibles that litter each stage. (What else would you do with them?)

Worse yet 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 to mention the tutorials that greet you on the level loading screens, which display information for the levels. you have already won. What gives?

6 Feature More adjustable difficulty options

Klonoa isn’t known for being a challenging series, but later segments of both games ramp up the challenge, asking you to juggle Klonoa’s abilities to jump and grab enemies while landing with precision on tiny platforms.

So it’s a good thing that the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series features a lower difficulty setting, which provides unlimited lives, increased health, and a longer grab range to make these segments less taxing. Still, you can only take all of these options together; It would have been nice to mix and match these options to customize the game and offer more gradients of challenge.

5 Includes a collectible finder.

Another way Klonoa’s levels introduce complexity is through non-linear branching paths. The first few levels in both games are easy gameplay from start to finish, but as the games progress they will 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, as certain collectibles are hidden behind optional paths or obscured by environmental elements. It would have been nice to include some sort of hint system or collectible finder to reduce that frustration.

4 Let’s skip the text more quickly

Aside from its cutesy aesthetic 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 movie. As such, if you want the full Klonoa experience, you’ll want to pay attention to the dialogue exchanges that delimit 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 be reading faster than the game displays the text, your options are basically to wait for the text to scroll or skip these cutscenes altogether. There’s definitely room for a middle ground there.

3 Include the other games

Door To Phantomile and Lunatea’s Veil are easily the best known games in the Klonoa series, but they are by no means the only ones. The cute rabbit-cat…uh, dog…friend has had its fair share of spin-offs, including Klonoa Heroes, an action RPG that combines Klonoa’s whimsical aesthetic with Zelda-like gameplay. There’s even a Klonoa beach volleyball game!

But of these spin-offs, the only ones to come out of Japan are GBA’s fun platformers Empire Of Dreams and Dream Champ Tournament… and the only way to play them these days is through the dying Wii U eShop. Bandai Namco missed a huge opportunity by leaving these games out of the Phantasy Reverie Series.

two Put a little more effort into the title screen

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series locks two of the most charming and whimsical games ever made behind the blandest title screen you’ve ever seen. When you start the game, you’re greeted by a flat, faded background and a prompt to press Start. It doesn’t even play music!

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As delightful as these games are, the home screen feels empty and lifeless. It’s a curiously flat gateway to a beloved series.

1 Include any complementary content… I like it, not at all

The 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 lovable and underappreciated pet.

But almost all of the celebratory features you’d expect, like concept art, the option to listen to the soundtrack, cute costumes, or developer feedback, are missing entirely. That is, unless you want to spend $20 on a DLC pack!

NEXT: Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series Review: Time Travel Is Real And This Game Proves It

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