Sometimes they come back, and we can only hope it’s worth it, if it’s a remastered version like the one we have in our hands. The debut of Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, the collection containing the updated and graphically modernized versions of Klonoa Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2 Lunatea’s Veilis scheduled for July 8 on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PlayStation, console on which the test for PS5. A release that allows the most active players to get their hands on two titles released respectively in 1997 and 2001, and on the other hand brings with it the possibility of to introduce new players to a franchise that has remained in the shadows for a long time for over a decade, if we consider the last title released in 2008. If we combine this factor with the comparison between the version of the original and remastered Klonoa titles, the graphic update work carried out by Monkey Craft it was really good, if not overall excellent. Let’s find out the reasons and many other details in our review of Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, better known as Bandai Namco’s attempt to revive one of its old glories, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series, and answer a fundamental question: it makes sense to envisage a future development for this franchise or will it remain anchored in the past, as one of the many icons that have contributed to the development of videogame storytelling, but which has run out of time?
Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series: not all remastered ones succeed with the hole
The answer to the previous question could be anticipated by this subtitle, but it is good to explain in detail what we tested in this mini collection of two titles dedicated to one of the platformers that most deserved to stand out, at the time of theirs. exit, but what the less they enjoyed this fame deserved because of many other titles of the time. Klonoa thus remained in the background in the mare magnum of platformers, which since then has been remarkably original in some of its dynamics and in certain aspects of creative concept. Released now to understand the opportunities for further expansion of this IP, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series immediately presents the opportunity to play one of two titles originals, in the order we prefer and totally localized in Italian. So let’s briefly recap the story told in both titles: in the first we get to know the legend of Phantomille, a mysterious place fueled by people’s dreams. Among them, a strange creature between man and cat, named Klonoa, dreams of a mysterious dark airship that crashes into the top of the bell peak and manages to remember every detail of this vision. And the dream comes true: after finding a magic ring from which a sprite is released, Huepow decides to investigate the matter. In the second title, Lunatea’s Veil, we have the continuation of the story, where our hero, aided by the priestess Lolo and her friend Popka, must save the land of Lunatea from a Fifth Bell that threatens tranquility in the kingdoms. We must thus cross the four kingdoms of Lunatea to obtain the “elements” of the Bells and restore order. Clearly there isto simplicity and clearly linearity and scarcity of complexity of the story itself, a ploy to put different levels of play on the track, whose longevity is quite questionableand no, it will not be enough to change the degree of difficulty from easy to difficult, the only two available, to make it more complicated to do.
A gameplay as easy as it is short
In fact, let us now look in depth at the gameplay in itself, rather similar between one title and another: in Klonoa: Door To Phantomile is a platform very simple, which presents a series of two-dimensional levels and where we are required to rescue several inhabitants of Phantomille, imprisoned by their enemies, the soft Moos. In these levels, we can only jump, glide and use the magic ring to launch shots and capture enemies, getting rid of them in always different and useful ways. The latter can be launched, become a sort of springboard and little else, all seasoned with a level design that asks us to scour the surrounding environment, but without many difficulties. Easy yes, but also short: we just need one handful of hours to complete, a flaw already found in the original version, which takes away the taste of multiple runs, quite useless if we have already completed the levels in the first place, and which does not allow us to fully enjoy the graphic sector of the title, just rejuvenated and partially improved. But we will talk about this aspect a little later. In this new version, therefore, we have on our hands the same gameplay experience present in the remake of 2009 and in the previous one, without any variation on the theme. Speaking of the second title, the symphony does not change: once again, we are dealing with a full recovery of the original title, where the only variation, already at the time, concerned more the graphics sector, than the concept design of the game . Also here the subdivision of the platform is in levels, but in 2.5D, at least in part, and nothing more. The soft enemies remain to be faced by attacking them and in the case exploiting them to rise to ledges and capture the crystals, but nothing particularly original compared to the first title.
That breath of fresh air hoped for, but missed
Finally, looking at the technical and artistic aspect of the two titles, the first game was picked up by the makeover, as mentioned above, therefore at times it is paradoxically better than the second title, with a less accurate texture and sometimes decreasing technical performances. Despite this result, in Door to Phantomile there was perhaps a greater care of the main characters and enemies, while in general you can hear the cry of two titles that carry with them the signs and the weight of the time that has passed, both as graphics and as a concept. Globally there are no major frame rate drops, or any technical flaws as a bug or glitch, indeed, the game engine proves to be quite solid, but the basic simplicity of the titles and a complete remastering, without any additional effort, remain to make this collection more greedy. The technical sector is thus quite backward visually backward and despite the 4K resolution, it is impossible to look beyond the backward textures and not able to impress us well.
Piattaforme: PS5, PS4, Xbox One X, Xbox Series S/X, Switch, PC
Sviluppatore: Bandai Namco, Monkey Craft
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Summing up what Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series offers, we feel that these two old-school platformers can hardly attract the massive attention of the new audience, just as it could be a lukewarm interest from the public of yesteryear to recover two old guards, while showing an excellent level design and showing themselves enjoyable. Perhaps a “nostalgia operation” that risks leaving the time it finds, carried out with little budget and with relative and good care up to a certain point. Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series eliminates some minimal smudges and flaws of time, but it does not make a franchise that could really deserve something more flourish in an important and striking way.