Giant Bomb Review


Klonoa: Door to Phantomile Review

  • PS3N

The Wii remake of Klonoa is bright, colorful, and a lot of fun.

Klonoa takes place in a bright, beautiful world.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile got its start as a PlayStation game, originally released well over a decade ago. While it garnered enough of a following to generate a sequel and few other releases, the series never really caught on in a huge way, relegating this cute platformer to cult status. But there's nothing about the game itself that feels inaccessible or terribly deep, which is why it's cool that the original game is getting a second chance at life via a straight-up remake on the Wii. This new version recreates the levels and story of the first game, throws in some upgrades where appropriate, and sticks close to the 2D/3D formula of the original game. Really, the only bad thing I could say about Klonoa is that standards for gameplay and difficulty have changed over the last decade, so some players might find the game to be both too easy and too short to capture their imagination for more than a weekend.

Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is a 2D, sideview platformer with polygonal backgrounds that twist and turn behind you, giving the game a 3D look and feel. Klonoa himself is a long-eared cat-like creature who rolls around with a gigantic ring. Inside the ring lives Huepoe (retranslated from Huepow in the original version), a wind spirit who gives Klonoa some additional powers and typically hangs out in cutscenes. Klonoa's main ability is a wind-based attack that grabs enemies at range and reels them in so he can carry them around. When holding an enemy, you can toss it at other enemies or objects, or you can double jump by shoving the enemy down at the ground in mid-air. Klonoa can also flap his ears for a second or so of hovering. So at its most difficult, you'll be using enemies to double jump, then perhaps catching another foe for another jump, then hovering over to a platform. It gets a little technical in spots, but for the most part, the game leaves the difficult jumps for optional collectibles and not the main level progression.

For comparison's sake, here's the PlayStation version.
Generally speaking, Klonoa is light-hearted fun. The levels aren't especially long, though the 3D perspective makes some of them a little tricky to follow. You'll get plenty of platformer-style boss fights along the way, too. But the only serious challenge comes from trying to go back through a second time and collect every gem in every level. The game lets you take on the action with one of several different control schemes, ranging from one that lets you use the Nunchuk, to holding the Wii Remote sideways, to using a Classic or a GameCube controller. Since there's no real finesse or analog movement to Klonoa's control, using the Nunchuk feels totally unnecessary, but any of the other styles works great.

The game's primary weapon is its cuteness. Klonoa's style is very much of its time, and its cheery demeanor and blue, blue skies stick out when set against today's brown, post-apocalyptic releases. As such, it's easy to take Klonoa as a game that only kids could love. The new voice acting doesn't exactly steer away from that feeling, either. Originally, the characters spoke in a non-language reminiscent of Star Fox or Banjo-Kazooie. While you can go back to that if you like, the game defaults to English, with the sort of character voices and script that give the game an even sweeter edge. The kids show vibe made me feel like one of the characters was going to break out into some sort of song about numbers or the difference between near and far or something. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The voices are well-done, but depending on your personal taste (or how much of a Klonoa purist you are), you might want to disable the English voices. Said purists might also bristle up at the new in-engine cutscenes, which replace the pre-rendered video found on the PlayStation. Personally, I always thought the old video version of Klonoa looked sort of evil with its overtly cat-like eyes and tiny fangs. I prefer the new in-engine stuff, but again, that's a pretty minor thing.

The best part about this new remake of Klonoa is that it's going for the discounted price of $29.99. Considering the game won't take you an especially long time to finish, that's a great price for a classic platformer that still has some appeal for modern players while also being charming enough for younger kids to get into, as well.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
Posted by pucku21


Posted by luce

i dusted off my wii to play this, if only for a couple of days

Posted by Snail

Hmm... I am looking for a longer lasting experience right now.

Posted by erinfizz

Adorable, decent platformer on a system that I own? Yay! Sold.

Posted by Killroycantkill

Great review Jeff. I have memories of my cousin playing Kolnoa on the PS1 but never letting me play it lol. But this seems like a great game to pick up. Now I'm just waiting on that Tomba remake.

Posted by Milkman

Hopefully, this shuts the Nintendo fanboys up for a while.

Posted by Stinkins

Jeff, thanks for not being too manly to review this game.  I'm glad to see the site giving it some attention, regardless of its kiddy look and feel. 

Posted by LordAndrew

Ah, so you can revert back to the original nonsense language. That's good to hear.

Posted by iAmJohn

Klonoa games always have been and always will be fantastic.  That price points especially sweetens the deal, though - I'm definitely picking this up this week!

Posted by JJOR64

Kick ass review.  I need to get this game soon.

Posted by Death_Burnout

I feel oddly compelled to get it

Posted by JonathanMoore

It sucks when you don't know the fate of a game in your Country, is it coming it in stores? is it not? its not explained for us. Fuck the UK sometimes man.

Posted by MrKlorox

Eidos/Crystal Dynamics, you're alseep at the wheel. Where's that smooth talkin, cool ass gecko, Gex? This is the age of decade old pseudo 3D platformers!

Posted by SenatorSpacer

I bought it, amazing game!

Posted by dibiase77

I was on the fence until Jeff's review, now I really want to play this

Posted by SenatorSpacer


You should, it's a amazing game man!
Edited by Darro

JonathanMoore says: "It sucks when you don't know the fate of a game in your Country, is it coming it in stores? is it not? its not explained for us. Fuck the UK sometimes man."

I heard it will be released in October, which is ridiculous but thats publishers and localisation for you.  After all, Tales of Vesperia is only getting released now in June here 10 months after the US release.  Would be nice to have region-free games so we don't have to endure such crap sometimes.  I don't mind if its like a month or so but anything longer than 3 and you are pushing it too far.

I have the original game and the sequel and love them very much.  Will be getting this for sure once it hits.

Posted by Media_Master

I might get this!

Posted by RHCPfan24

Looks very neat. Congrats to the winner of this game who'll get to play it for free!

Posted by Marzy

Excellent review Jeff, it's sounding great. I may get this.

You can preorder the game for just £14.99 in the UK.

Posted by talljack

I just finished the story, such an amazing game! I'm so glad it got revived as I didn't even hear about it back when it first came out.