Review: Klonoa (Wii Door to Phantomile Remake)

A few years back, there was a fantastic little game that went by the name of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. Largely ignored by many gamers hesitant to spend a bit of time with a mascot character that wasn’t Mario, it enjoyed moderate success but it was pushed away into obscurity. Luckily a few hardcore fans stayed with Klonoa through all of the stages, even the smaller Game Boy Advance ports and various side-quests of games. However, to most Klonoa fans, Door to Phantomile remains the true hallmark for the series, showcasing what Namco’s mascot character is truly capable of. Fast forward twelve years later to 2009, and Klonoa: Door to Phantomile has received a re-release via the Nintendo Wii. Is it worth resurrecting for the chance at making some new fans? You bet.

Retitled simply “Klonoa,” this port to the Wii has received little more than a cosmetic makeover, though its jump to a current-gen console is much appreciated. Little Klonoa is faced with the rather big problem of restoring several dreams that have been infected by nightmarish facets to their former glory. It’s a simple story that anyone can identify with and enjoy, much like Mario and Sonic. Klonoa’s travels allows him to meet a cast of colorful and engaging characters such as Hewpoe, a blue, floating sprite who takes up the mantle of this mascot’s, well, mascot, and he offers advice throughout the game. Klonoa will also meet various other characters who want to help him out to sort out the common goal of returning the dream world to their previous peaceful states from the current nightmarish, freakish form. The storyline may seem a bit simplistic, but it’s accessible in ways that many games that are being released these days fail to achieve.

Though Klonoa may seem like it’s aimed at the younger set, this is in no way a platformer meant to coerce non-gamers or the kiddies into getting into gaming. Klonoa has an impressive arsenal of moves up his sleeve, and it shows. Rather than simply running from point A to point B, left to right, this game utilizes 3D backgrounds and 2D platforming mechanics for a truly innovative experience. This means that Klonoa must rely on various moves that you wouldn’t need in simple Mario or Sonic ventures. He must double jump, glide bia his ears, trigger switches, collect items, grab and toss enemies to their death, and solve complex jumping puzzles. That’s a lot for your average mascot to undertake! Luckily, Klonoa’s antics translate well to the Wii, and you can utilize any controller currently available on the console in order to accomplish one of the many tasks you will be expected to complete. It offers a decent amount of challenge, and it’s a safe bet you won’t be breezing through the game in one afternoon – unless, perhaps, you’re a seasoned Klonoa veteran. Acclimating yourself to the 3D-infused with-2D worlds can take a bit of time, especially if you’re new to the genre like many Wii owners may be.

The graphics are clearly updated from the PlayStation original, adding a current-gen sheen to an already quite polished adventure. Gorgeous pastels and bright colors adorn the environments, and it’s clear that this is a remake that was given a very loving touch. If you enjoyed the original game, you’ll find that nothing has been changed and the game is exactly as you remember it, though it’s now sporting a beautiful new makeover. Nothing to complain about, right? Almost. It would have been appreciated had Namco tossed in a bit more animation for locations that feature moving elements such as flames or water, but since such a great job was done on the package overall, those are very minor gripes.

Klonoa speaks for the very first time in this Wii-make, donning a voice actor for the first game in the series. He can be likened to a very inquisitive child, which may turn some gamers off, but turns Klonoa into a much more personable and likeable protagonist that children and families can feel good about spending time with. The music also presents an enjoyable whimsy that will linger with you long after you have unplugged the Wii. It’s all very calming as well, with a soundtrack that (in my eyes) is worth a purchase if you value video game music.

With all these positives regarding the game, you must be wondering what possible downsides there are. Well, I’m hard-pressed to find that many, considering this is a fantastic and faithful remake. However, this is a very short game. Even worse, when you’ve completed it, there isn’t too much to do beyond sittign through the credits. You can easily complete the game in 3-5 hours when you’ve gotten the hang of things, though it will take much longer if you’re new to the world of Klonoa. A few new modes are unlocked upon completion such as a mirror mode that will allow you to complete areas in a certain amount of time, but there’s little reason to return to the main storyline unless you just want to finish the game again. Even with that said though, Klonoa never ceases to entertain. It just doesn’t last too much longer after you’ve conquered it.

Klonoa’s Wii re-imagining is everything a fan could have hoped for, and more. Though many “hardcore” gamers wil complain that it’s “too easy” and lacks multiplayer (cry me a river), it’s a respectable, well-paced, and tight platformer that will hopefully see many more installments in the future. Hopefully, with this move to the Wii, we can expect more in the future from Namco. In the meantime, take a bit to check out some of the Klonoa titles of old. You won’t be disappointed.

Comments are closed.