TGS 2002: Hands-onKlonoa Heroes

Namco offers a different game for its floppy eared mascot to romp in.

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We had a chance to check out the latest Klonoa game, Klonoa Heroes, for the Game Boy Advance. The game is bit of a departure for the series, which has focused primarily on platformers. Klonoa Heroes is an action RPG that puts you in control of Klonoa and has you going around collecting items from chests and taking out evildoers.

The game is played from a top down perspective and breaks up the areas you'll explore into chunks. The basic goal of the levels we played was to get to an arched gate that served as an exit to the game's world map, which lets you move to new areas. We expect there's going to be more to it as the game comes together. When you explore the areas, the action should be old hat to Klonoa vets, you'll be using his trusty wind bullet and taking out enemies. We weren't able to pick any up and enemies and throw them as in the previous Klonoa games, though. Another significant change is the presence of new enemies that are immune to Klonoa's attacks. However the new metallic menaces aren't invincible. By tapping the GBA shoulder button you can swap Klonoa with a fox-like character who packs the right kind of heat to take them out. Making it through the levels we tried was a breeze once we got the character swapping down. As with most action RPGs, you'll be earning experience as you take out enemies, and there appear to be different meters that slowly increase according to your play style. As each meter fills one of Klonoa or the fox character's stats will permanently increase.

Graphically, Klonoa Heroes looks pretty sharp. The zany bunch of characters are all large and detailed and animate well. The environments we saw are a bit plain at the moment, they're mainly grassy areas with some trees and a smattering of rocks. However, given the size of the world map, there's likely to be quite a bit to see in the game.

Klonoa Heroes is looking pretty cool from what we've seen. The game is a solid step in a different direction for the series. It controls well and has some promising gameplay mechanics. We'll have more on the game as it becomes available.

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