Review – Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series

The fifth and sixth generations of consoles were by far my favorites, as they were an integral part of my childhood, but the PS1 and PS2 weren’t systems I owned back in the day, thus I missed on the Klonoa games when they first came out. Even though they screamed “Nintendo-ish”, considering how similar they looked and played to the Kirby franchise, they remained PS exclusives for a long time, with the exception of a Wii remake of the first game. Bandai Namco, wanting to capitalize on 90s and early 2000s nostalgia, which is all the rage nowadays, is re-releasing the Klonoa games to a wider audience, all thanks to their brand new remaster collection, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series. Time to check out what I had been missing out on.

Klonoa Wii

The Wii remake of the first Klonoa is cute, but it somehow looks worse than the PS2 sequel, released on older hardware.

I feel like I should always clarify what’s included in each retro compilation prior to tackling the games themselves, and explain if the titles included in the package are remakes or remasters. Even though the first Klonoa game included in Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series looks way prettier than the one you grew up with, this isn’t a remake of the first game. It’s actually a remaster of the aforementioned Wii remake of the PS1 classic, with the second title being a remaster of the PS2 original. As a package, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a bit bare-bones. You can choose between both games, and that’s it. Extras aren’t a focus in here, meaning that this collection lives or dies depending on the quality of the games included in it.

Klonoa 2 PS2

Case and point.

The good thing about reviewing these games is that being 2.5D platformers from the PS2 and Wii, they have mostly managed to stand the test of time when it comes to visuals, performance, and some of its mechanics. Both Klonoa games are really easy to learn, but a bit more complicated (and occasionally frustrating) to master. I think of them as the natural progression of the Kirby franchise without the inclusion of the copying ability. Pick up enemies with a “wind bullet” and use them as projectiles or jumping boosts in order to solve puzzles and complete well-designed and really colorful levels. You can also use the titular Klonoa’s ginormous ears to float in the air for about seven milliseconds.


Still better than the minecart levels from Donkey Kong Country, I suppose.

The frustrating bit mentioned in the previous paragraph is mostly tied to these games’ hit detection. By no means are these titles challenging, but I had some issues with the enemy hit detection, and most importantly, the reach of your wind bullet. It’s tied to the difficulty setting you’ve chosen, which makes little sense. It’s a cheap way to artificially enhance a game’s difficulty level by basically making its mechanics less intuitive. On Normal mode (the hardest setting available at first), you basically need to be glued to a foe in order to use the wind bullet.

Klonoa Bosses

Boss battles aren’t very exciting.

As per the games, I definitely liked Klonoa 2 more than the remake of the first one, even though the latter is technically the more recent (and therefore, more modern) of the two. It all boils down to the improved level design (the Wii remake is still a PS1 at heart, of course), more gimmicks, and a much better sound design. Even though both games feature good soundtracks, the first Klonoa game still suffers from severely compressed voice clips included in its code, making it feel cheaper and clunkier than it should have been. I get why they did this, however: the original version of the Wii remake had voice acting. Really bad voice acting. Catastrophically bad voice acting. Bandai Namco then decided to revert back to the dated, crunchy, compressed gibberish from the PS1 original. It’s better to sound dated than to sound terrible, I suppose.

Klonoa 2 Level Design

Klonoa 2’s level design is a thing of beauty, I’ll give them that.

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a collection of good, but not outstanding platformer remasters. They are charming as all hell and quite relaxing to play, but they feel dated in terms of its mechanics. Tying the reach of your attacks to the difficulty level of choosing was a totally unnecessary call, and its hit detection could have received some extra tinkering in order to feel less clunky. All in all, I still had a good time with this collection. I don’t know if bringing these games back to the spotlight will garner enough attention for a third title to be greenlit, but I wouldn’t say no to that. The more platformers out in the wild, the merrier.


Graphics: 7.5

Both games included in this collection still look like they did back when they first came out, albeit with an improved resolution, aspect ratio and framerate. Cute for the most part, even though the Wii remake features uglier cutscenes and less impressive levels than the PS2 sequel.

Gameplay: 7.0

Easy platforming, with branching paths in each level, multiple secrets to unveil, and a neat usage of the 2.5D perspective. Both titles suffer from a shoddy hit detection, as well as an annoying weapon reach based on the level of difficulty you’ve chosen.

Sound: 7.0

Both games feature good soundtracks, but the Wii remake still includes excessively compressed sound effects and voice bits that aged like milk.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a collection of good, but not outstanding platformer remasters. Despite their charming looks and feel-good vibe, their mechanical issues annoyed me to the very end. Still, they were quite fun.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Xbox Series S.

A copy of Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series was provided by the publisher.