Klonoa Updated Hands-On

We take one more look at Namco's cult favorite platformer before it completes the transition from the PlayStation to the Wii.

You'll often hear a groan when the subject of porting a game to the Wii comes up, but that's mostly when publishers take a game developed for more powerful hardware and strip it down to run on Nintendo's ultrapopular console. What's cause for far less concern is when a publisher takes a cult favorite from several generations prior and spruces it up for a new generation of players. Such is the case with Klonoa, Namco Bandai's cutesy platformer based on a 1997 PlayStation game. At the time of its release, the original was regarded by critics as a platforming classic, but its sales didn't quite match the praise. So here we are, 12 years later, with Namco Bandai set to release a remake of this cult favorite for North American Wii owners, and we've just had our most extensive look at the game yet.

Welcome to the world of Phantomile.

What sets Klonoa apart from the platforming competition of the era is the way it plays with so many of the genre's conventions. On the surface, you have a side-scrolling platformer with saccharine visuals, twinkling music, and a mascot of indeterminate animal origins. Those parts are fairly standard, but the rest is much less so. Everything plays out on what appears to be a 2D plane, but with a camera that frequently swoops and pans when your path bends around a curved surface, giving you the impression of moving across a much more fluid landscape. In addition, you'll need to pay attention to objects in the background, because triggers are frequently buried behind you, forcing you to consider not just the X and Y axes, but also the Z axis. All you ever really do is move up and down, left and right in traditional platform style, but the way Klonoa plays with your conception of space is quite rare for a 2D game.

The way you interact with enemies is also much different from most platformers. Here, baddies are less of a threat and more of a tool to help propel you past certain obstacles. Grabbing hold of an enemy and throwing him down while you're in the air allows for a double jump; distant triggers can be switched with a precise enemy lob; and armored enemies can be weakened only by having an unarmored one thrown at them. Most levels become some combination of precise jumping, darting past unnecessary bad guys, and figuring out how to use the enemies that are necessary for progressing. It's a simple control scheme that uses only two buttons--one for jumping, the other for grabbing--but allows for a pleasing level of variety with the way these various feats are combined.

The Wii version of the game sports a few new features not seen in the original release. It's very light on motion control and even gives you the option to turn it off altogether, though if you have it on you can let out a whirlwind attack by shaking the nunchuk, thereby unleashing a storm of wind that takes out all bad guys within the immediate vicinity. (That's about all you'll see of Wii-specific features; it's a game that stays true to the source material.) Other new features include touched-up visuals (most noticeably 3D character models replacing sprites), English voice acting, challenge rooms within story levels, and the ability to unlock mirrored versions of each stage to play through them backward.

Boss fights cap off every other stage and give you a chance to put your skills to use.

Altogether, Klonoa should offer a lot for platforming fans to look forward to. Wii owners who are new to the series should be pleased with the charming look and surprisingly distinct gameplay, while those who have played the original ought to be pleased to find that the original Klonoa hasn't been filled to the brim with unnecessary motion controls. You can expect the game to be released on May 5.

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Discussion

69 comments
nintendoboy16
nintendoboy16

Why do I get the feeling that a lot of Wii owners are going to say "no more ports or remakes"? Nintendo is already getting hit hard with these comments and there's no doubt Namco Bandai is next.

nekusonic
nekusonic

finally get to play this game

keyroon
keyroon

WOW brings back some great memories, Gotta be the old skool voices though. Lets hope they remake Klonoa 2:Lunatea's Veil aswell.

kirbybunny
kirbybunny

For old voice Klonoa fans; there is an option to change his voice back to the old phantomile or keep the new english voice. I'm going for the new voice its alright to me.

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

This game looks really awesome can't wait to get it.

Mewt2021
Mewt2021

Okay, I posted a couple of days ago on this board and pissed off a bunch of Wii fanboys and I never really got to make my point. So here we go. If you only own a Wii then yes, games like these and others will seem incredible, but for people like me who own more then just a Wii they can probably agree with me that this game would sell better if it came out on a portable system. One for the fact that I see a game like this playing very weirdly with the Wii controls, two I believe that more people own a portable system then a Wii, and three, I'm not sure how much the plan on charging for this game but all I know is that anyone who wants to play the game could just as easily Emulate it for free and seeing as how all they have done is updated the graphics I can only assume that people who actually buy it either fear emulating don't know how to emulate or actually have nothing better to spend money on for the Wii.

Ifnot
Ifnot

I just read in Nintendo Power that we will have the option of having the new English voices or the old Phantomile gibberish. That makes me one happy person!

Ifnot
Ifnot

@birthofaster, actually, a lot of us do.

Lennah
Lennah

Hmm, another platformer.:) That'll be good. There aren't enough. I'm curious about this one. I've never played Klonoa before.

Spektre41
Spektre41

I'n going to buy it and love it. But I'm still going to whine about the horrible english VA.

birthofastar
birthofastar

NO ONE WANT'S TO PLAY THIS CRAP! NINTENDO!

shadosneko
shadosneko

I'm not a fan of the new voice acting. =

CapedCod
CapedCod

Reminds me a lot of Kirby and the Crystal Shards. Which, say what you will about it, was actually a really fun game.

cheez-it_kid
cheez-it_kid

I KNEW this would happen! Right when I sell my Wii, games come out or are coming out that I actually want to play!

JTFAN123
JTFAN123

Did I just read "ENGLISH voice-acting?" What about the cute gibberish language from Lunatea's Veil? Ohhh... This has potential to be a disaster. But regardless I can't wait to play the game! Looks amazing.

The_Gamer_U_H8
The_Gamer_U_H8

I remember playing, and loving Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil on my PS2. Whether this sucks or not, I am buying it. The characters are just so damn cute!

Spectacular66
Spectacular66

Ah another platformer! Damn haven't played one of these since Super Mario Galaxy. MUST HAVE PLATFORMER!

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Can't believe it's between 12 years. I loved this game and Lunatea's Veil on PS2.

bmaon
bmaon

Bluepoppy82, you've got it all turned around. Most "wii owners", including me, couldn't care less what PS360 has or has not. The point is PS360 owners going into Wii game boards and spewing nonsense, when in most cases they know nothing about what they're talking about. When I tell someone to go to play FPS #123245454, I don't mean that's all these system have - but that's usually what that "PS360 Rulez!!!! Wii suckz and is for ninnies!!!" is playing. Yawn. Personally I couldn't care less for Killzone2, no matter how good it is, since I am not into FPS, no matter what platform they are. And I am more "hardcore" (a stupid term) than most of those "Wii suckz" trolls. Last but not least, for me the Wii has more games with unique concepts that are plain fun to play than the other consoles. And 3rd party games are improving. I have more than my hands full with games I'd like to play these days, that's all I need.

bluepuppy82
bluepuppy82

Lol, I love how you Wii owners constantly say the PS3 or Xbox 360 owners have nothing but FPS games to play. Yet, the 360 has more RPG's this Gen then any other console. Not to mention endless 3rd person shooter's and Adventures. Same can be said about the PS3. SAME can't be said about the Wii. Sure, Wii's first party games are excellent. However, lets face fact. Wii's 3rd party games have been one piece of crap after another. So sure, bash the Xbox 360 and PS3 for having a lot of FPS games. I'll tell you this, I'd rather play Killzone 2 than anything the Wii has to offer. And I don't even own a PS3.

Ifnot
Ifnot

I'm really exited for this game, it looks awesome.

roflmuffins8
roflmuffins8

Why does everything on this site with comments enabled somehow turn into a system war? Seriously, just talk about Klonoa itself and not argue about how which console is better.

ea_goodandy
ea_goodandy

I don't want to be a hardcore gamer anymore if we sound like that. I just want to play fun games. As a matter of a fact, I'll also design one of the PC called Red Fox.

livinitup01
livinitup01

I like girl gamers. They're fun to be around. My 22 yr old sister hasn't really picked up a game since Super Mario World because 3D games are complicated and make her dizzy. When she saw me playing Super Paper Mario and Wii Sports a few months ago she wanted to play again. These games get so many people involved and remind people of how simple and fun games used to be that they want to get back into gaming. Wii really is the retro revolution that I've been waiting for. My mom loves Pac-Man and Tetris and didn't play games with me until I got Wii Sports and played Boxing. My dad hasn't played a single game with me since Super Mario Kart on SNES and broke the controller, :P. When he saw golf on Wii Sports he wanted to play again. Who wants to play the 360/PS3?? Gamers and nobody else. If the average parent or sibling saw you playing the 360/PS3 they'd most likely just watch and ask what you're doing. The Wii makes people want to join in because it's more involved and looks fun. If you hate the Wii go back to your room and play by yourself because nobody cared. I used to play like that years ago but it made me feel so alone and antisocial, even if I'm playing online.

chang_1910
chang_1910

got this in my updates, thought it was a new one... see is not... but.... how is that you ppl always manage to transform all in system wars.. or something on those lines I`ll never know... again, fanboys/gilrs... a concept beyond my understanding.... N fanboys "trying to show" how great the Wii is, others fanboys "trying to make this ppl see how bad is it" play what that heck you want and stop trying either way.. you like the wii, good for you... you like the ps3, good for you... you like 360, good for you... you like any console, good for you... you can afford every freaking console so you do not even care if you like it and you try all games, even better for you...

black_ice23
black_ice23

The fact of the matter is this good 3rd party support the Wii needs to strengthen its library beyond that have any of this so called hardcore gamers even played the Wii? most havent, they are just put off by the fact that their Girlfriend can go toe to toe with them in their favorite game, awwww is someones pride hurt? personally more girl gamers the better , more up close and personal time , with my girlfriend

Shayde_Shadow
Shayde_Shadow

Wii haters be gone!! Personally, I think this looks great. Never played it the fiors time around so I might pick it up.

KAISERKONG
KAISERKONG

I own all of the major systems and I enjoy each one differently. With that said, it's also easier for me to see why more people have migrated to the Wii. Sometimes, technology is both confusing and frightening to people who don't understand it. No one wants to be made to look or sound like a fool and the Xbox360 and PS3 both have such cutting edge technology behind the hardware that those factors, plus the factor of the price of those machines, will easily scare off all but the core gamers. There is plenty of room for enjoying each of these machines and there is certainly no need to bash any of them.

capitalthoughts
capitalthoughts

The reason the Wii is winning is so much simpler then people think. I want someone who owns a PS3 or X360 why someone who has never played games before would have any desire to have a PS3 or X360??? It is very clear with those systems and from these "hardcore" gamer comments that only those who can hold their own in Call of Duty and Halo matches are the only welcome gamers. That is a small minority. People play games to have fun, not because of how many things a system can do, not because of how realistic it looks, not because it has more "mature" titles. Keep bashing the Wii, keep calling it a gimmick. Keep pretending your smarter then the majority of people out there. It just shows how small your minds are. I like Tetris....great game...hasn't needed to be changed much, if at all, in the past 20 years. Doesn't require high definition, or any other such mumbo jumbo, but I promise you, 20 years from now, people will still be playing it, and no one will be playing Halo 3 or Killzone 2.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

senor kami your wrong, about the third party look at many of the steeler sleepers wii has had, then say anything again klonoa is no different, dead rising is a 10.0 game on wii where as its 8.0 on 360 ,, because of the time barrier in it lol, its not fun when i cant kill as many as i want without getting game over ! wii is played like you want it to , you want to rush go ahead, but it will not hurt to play around a while , as you notice the time bars have been removed, you do only get graded , lol, thats nothing , so ya, look before assuming all wii games are garbage only 15 percent of all wii games are garbage, 30 percent are hyped, maybe less, 70 percent just get noticed , hence the case with driver paralel l ines and no more heroes etc and not all wii games use the controls lol, so those wanting a more traditional aproach go look at ferrari mariokart-optional , ssbb-optional , classic chrysler racing, dead rising-only the aiming is used and the striking no pointer hardly, like redsteel *that by the way is amazing but this goes to those wanting a traditional experience while little wii experience in tact and finally ferrari challenge, uses either option of using the stick for steering or the wii mote on side, re4 wii edition also has gc controller support, thus making it noticable that its up to the developer to emplment this option , quite frankly i believe there should be an option for most of the games but even if not these games are stil fun more fun with motion controls ';;'l

soldjango
soldjango

@Texas: Didn't they make some sort of successor to Brave Fencer?

TexasAnMGrad2K
TexasAnMGrad2K

As long as they are updating PS1 games, how about an update to, or completely new Brave Fencer? I never did play Klonoa, but was always interested..Maybe this is the time to check it out.

nelfer320
nelfer320

Hardcore gamers, get a life. Please.

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

@Shrankenhiemer I think what people need to consider is that Nintendo doesn't make every game thats released on the Wii. Look for crappy Wii games, you'll see basically everyone but Nintendo. Look for AAA Wii games, and Nintendo runs the block.

Shrankenhiemer
Shrankenhiemer

I think what people need to consider is that Nintendo is using only half the potential they have for the Wii. They could make so many better thing for it, but they're holding back.

thepalatinepoet
thepalatinepoet

How many times do we need to remind the poor people who expect hardcore games (something that ceased to be in production right around the N64 era) that hardcore gamers simply AREN'T the majority? Or that there are enough people who think Wii Fit, Wii Play, and Wii Sports are more than enough reason to get a Wii (especially as a gift)? Look we who want blood and gore and first person shooters and first person slicers (I'm really hoping Ninty hurries the hell up with MotionPlus) are the same people who Nintendo does not care about anymore. Think about it. They called Animal Crossing hardcore. Just think about that. But it's still selling. And it'll keep printing money, I promise you. Because the same people who like the games we find boring or overly simplistic (and graphically ugly) make up, um, most of the money-making population. Yeah, I know, bad strategy right? Make more money by selling to more people? Surely Nintendo's jumping the shark.

bmaon
bmaon

Why do all these Wii haters keep trolling Wii game reviews/preview message boards? And wow, they even bother looking at Gamespot reviews in order to better be able to trash the WIi... (or so they think) So funny. Get a life, go play a PS360 FPS no. 13947393 :-) Games are supposed to be fun. If a game is fun (and HOTD:OK is a blast) I don't care if it on rails, but then again on-rails is a matter of taste. Tenchu 4 is a very good game, it's the Gamespot review that is terrible. Deadly creatures anyone? I'm sure you'll have something to say. Anyone mentioned Madworld? Nope? But it doesn't really matter what I'll say, so I'll just go my way for another session on Overkill...

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

REALLY could've used a new Klonoa instead. I still have a copy of the original in a snug shoebox somewhere, so it's not like I'm dying to buy the same game again, pretty graphics or no. If you've never played it, though, definitely one to pick up.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

The controls should be cool, but I liked the graphics on Klonoa 2 better. Why didn't they just make an all new Klonoa game ? Oh, forgot. We're talking about the remake/port machine here. A new game for the Wii. Surely, you jest!

Mewt2021
Mewt2021

@livinitup01 Your right, the Wii is still around, because they're still hard to find and everyone still thinks having one makes you part of some select group of people. The fact that I had to mention NMH before you was a preemptive strike on this arguement and let's see manhunt 2 get censored and was a terrible game, railway games have no appeal after the 5 time playing because it's a arcade game, dead rising turned out to be a terrible port and tenchu was just awful. The only reason this system is still around is because of how Nintendo marketed it making it impossible to get your hands on one so now everyone thinks it's something amazing and they must have it. Oh, and you say this is the year for the Wii, have you looked at this years announced games for the Wii, cause there's nothing worth buying. So unless Nintendo pulls a fast one at E3, this is going to be a terrible year for the Wii

graavigala
graavigala

NarcMonkey, probably in WoW Barrens chat...

NarcMonkey
NarcMonkey

nlrow... where did you learn english man?

nirow
nirow

@livinitup01 The problem is, besides of the gfx sux, the games aren't fun as well...they suck at gfx, and at fun.... Sorry dude And what about Manhunt 2, House of the Dead: Overkill, Umbrella Chronicles, Dead Rising and Tenchu 4 you ask... Well, censored, on rail, on rail, rip off, and terrible game play, which means that all these games also sux...(besides that the gfx can make anyone that stares it sick, specially manhunt)

livinitup01
livinitup01

@change_1910 Agreed. I only have a Wii but there are tons of games that will be coming that I want but won't be able to get. @Mewt2021 I never said anything about No More Heroes, you did :P ROFL!!! You think the Wii will die in a year?!?!? Never. Just because you want it to die or think it's already dead has nothing to do with the rest of the world. People said the Wii was a fad and would die in 2007. Still here. They then said it'd die in 2008. Still here. 2009 will be Wii's best year to date and it's still the top seller. Face it, people don't need graphically complicated games; the simpler and more fun it is, the better. I used to game all the time but now I don't have much time so fun games will do for me. Who said RE4 was censored on the GC cuz it wasn't. Games are like artwork: some may be thought of as masterpieces but some may be thought of as garbage. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyone has different tastes. And what about Manhunt 2, House of the Dead: Overkill, Umbrella Chronicles, Dead Rising and Tenchu 4?

chang_1910
chang_1910

..... looks pretty good. May get it but not until maybe the end of the year, too many games... :P

NarcMonkey
NarcMonkey

wow previewer, don't get too overexcited or anything, wouldn't want to hurt yourself! Game looks awesome, especially since the "rare" Playstation version runs you about $70 complete nowadays!