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Critical Reception: Namco Bandai's Klonoa

This week's edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Namco Bandai's Wii remake of Klonoa, which reviews describe as "one of the best platforming games of all time."
This week's edition of Critical Reception examines online reaction to Namco Bandai's Wii remake of Klonoa, which reviews describe as "one of the best platforming games of all time." Klonoa currently earns a score of 78 out of 100 at Metacritic.com. 1UP.com's James Mielke gives Klonoa a grade of A+, describing the title as an underrated and oft-forgotten classic. "Despite the big-eared rabbity thing's only occasional appearances (a PS2 game here, a GBA game there)," Mielke says, "Klonoa has always offered top-notch platforming action, while avoiding the cliched, Mario-esque pitfalls that reduce every other would-be platforming hero to also-ran status." "Klonoa, which first appeared as Klonoa: Door to Phantomile on PlayStation, gets the glossy remake treatment, rebuilt from the ground up to take advantage of all the Wii's relative bells and whistles," Mielke explains. Mielke maintains that Klonoa's solid platforming remains every bit as compelling today as it was when it was originally released. "The original Klonoa, based on its own merits, still holds up, nearly 11 years after its inception," Mielke praises. "While the steady march of gaming progress has relegated many former 32-bit glories to the dated has-been bin, Klonoa's simple, innovative platform mechanics and fully-realized mythology are so pure in concept that it has aged far more gracefully than probably any of us should have expected it to." The result is an experience that remains as enjoyable on the Wii as it was on the PlayStation. "This is a game that is filled with a simple yet endearing story, excellent game mechanics, eye-popping visuals, a challenging collection element, and a surprisingly bittersweet ending," Mielke writes. "Klonoa is one of the best platforming games of all time and this is a superior remake of an already flawless original. Get this game now, keep it in your collection, and enjoy it for years to come." Jeff Gerstmann at Giant Bomb scores Klonoa at four out of five stars, noting that its lack of difficulty is its biggest fault. "There's nothing about the game itself that feels inaccessible or terribly deep, which is why it's cool that the original game is getting a second chance at life via a straight-up remake on the Wii," Gerstmann remarks. "Really, the only bad thing I could say about Klonoa is that standards for gameplay and difficulty have changed over the last decade, so some players might find the game to be both too easy and too short to capture their imagination for more than a weekend." The game's mechanics themselves are otherwise perfectly translated, however. "Generally speaking, Klonoa is light-hearted fun," Gerstmann maintains. "The levels aren't especially long, though the 3D perspective makes some of them a little tricky to follow. You'll get plenty of platformer-style boss fights along the way, too. But the only serious challenge comes from trying to go back through a second time and collect every gem in every level." Klonoa's lighthearted aesthetic may also prove to be a sticking point for some. "Klonoa's style is very much of its time, and its cheery demeanor and blue, blue skies stick out when set against today's brown, post-apocalyptic releases," Gerstmann warns. "As such, it's easy to take Klonoa as a game that only kids could love. The new voice acting doesn't exactly steer away from that feeling, either." "The best part about this new remake of Klonoa is that it's going for the discounted price of $29.99," Gerstmann concludes. "Considering the game won't take you an especially long time to finish, that's a great price for a classic platformer that still has some appeal for modern players while also being charming enough for younger kids to get into, as well." Over at Game Informer, Bryan Vore rates Klonoa at 7 out of 10. "When the original Klonoa: Door to Phantomile came out over 10 years ago, the 2.5D mechanic was innovative, the graphics were slick, and anthropomorphic animals with 'tude were so in," he begins. "But times have changed, and despite a visual overhaul and some meager additions, Klonoa feels behind the times in the modern gaming climate." Klonoa's narrative is especially weak, according to Vore. "The dialogue and story are ridiculous," he says. "Don't feel guilty about skipping the cutscenes. It's obvious what's going on the whole time except to the idiot characters in the story." Vore feels that Klonoa's gameplay is often overshadowed by a lack of difficulty. "The game consists of only 13 levels, so it's easy to blow through quickly," Vore writes. "Most of the stages are tremendously easy, with the challenge focused around late boss battles and cheap bottomless pit deaths." "Despite all of these complaints, I can see fans of the original game enjoying this revival," Vore notes. "It's faithful to a fault, and I can think of plenty of older niche games that I would love to see get similar treatment. But if you've got no connection to the original, you'll likely wonder what all of the fuss is about."

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