Giant Bomb News


Hands-On With Klonoa: Door to Phantomile

Namco's floppy-eared Pac-Man enthusiast is coming to the Wii in this remake of the original Klonoa.

Klonoa's got some weird friends.
Klonoa's got some weird friends.
As far as mid-tier platforming characters go, I've always fostered a particular fondness for Klonoa. The gameplay in the Klonoa games, which recalled certain aspects of the Kirby series, was unique enough, and the tone was playful and cute without being cloyingly saccharine. Sadly, in the 11 years since the first Klonoa hit the PlayStation, we've seen just one proper sequel, a few portable games, and an inexplicable beach volleyball game. It's been years since the franchise has seen any activity at all beyond the odd cameo in other Namco games, but that ends now, as Namco Bandai is showing a remake of the original Klonoa: Door to Phantomile for the Wii on the TGS show floor.

Every platforming hero needs some kind of hook, and Klonoa's got a couple. The most apparent are his low-hanging, to-and-fro wobbling ears, which he can use to hover for short periods of time, though more significant is Klonoa's magical ring, which he can use to grab enemies from a short distance. Klonoa can't actually make direct contact with enemies without taking damage, but once he's got one of these weird little circus monsters in his hot little hands, he can use them as projectiles to take out other enemies, or to perform a double-jump. Another big part of what set Klonoa apart back in the day was they way it coupled side-scrolling gameplay with 3D environments, a combination that has seen enough use since then that it's maybe not quite as novel as it once was.

From what I played of the Wii remake of Door to Phantomile, it doesn't seem like Namco is fussing with the actual content of the game, though it's admittedly been so long since I've played the PlayStation original that I'm not sure I'd pick up on any particularly subtle changes. If nothing else, it's true to my memory of Klonoa, though the graphics have been cleaned up quite a bit. While perhaps not as dynamic as Klonoa 2, it looks at least as good, if not a little bit better. The game can be played with just the Wii Remote using just the d-pad and two buttons, and I have to say that I'm pretty grateful that Namco isn't wasting its time or mine by trying to wedge some kind of lame motion controls in there.

A remake of the original Klonoa admittedly doesn't get me quite as excited as a proper Klonoa 3 would, but I guess at this point there are so few people who even remember Klonoa at all that it makes sense for Namco to test the waters with a remake before committing to a proper sequel. Hopefully I'm not being too optimistic.