Klonoa Wii Review
What we have here is a remake of a game that first appeared on the original PlayStation, given upgraded graphics and a range of control options, and released on the Wii. But will the old-school gameplay put off new players, or introduce them to a whole new genre?
Klonoa is a furry creature with large wing-like ears that help him jump and float by holding the jump button down. To deal with the enemies, he can fire wind bullets. Hitting an enemy captures it and Klonoa will grab hold of them. The enemy can then be thrown to hit objects and other enemies, or to boost Klonoa’s jump height. Shaking the Wiimote also triggers a brief whirlwind to slow down enemies. The environments may appear 3D, but the player’s path through them is very linear. Throughout the level are gems, and collecting 100 awards an extra life. Hidden throughout each Vision (level) are six villagers, and rescuing them all unlocks an extra level. The memory clock acts as a checkpoint, letting Klonoa continue from that point with full health should he die.
The plot is very straightforward, with Klonoa and the ring spirit Hewpie investigating a mysterious explosion near the Wind Village. One kidnap later and the adventure begins, with the bad guy’s sidekick Joker providing a bit of humour. The gameplay is not just about jumping across platforms, killing enemies and collecting gems. There are some (fairly simple) puzzles to overcome, with the player having to hit switches and work out a route. A good example is vision 3-2’s Clockwork Tree, where what seems like a dead-end becomes accessible once a set of switches at the other end of the level has been activated in the right order to start the gears. Eggs spread throughout the levels also have to be cracked open to reveal extra bonuses and villagers. Finding the mirror fairies turns the gems gold and doubles their value for a short time, while silver and gold coins add one or three lives respectively.
Graphically, the cartoon style is good but does not compare with the best on the system. The characters are well defined and there are some nice touches. The English voice-over comes across as high-pitched and can annoy very quickly, so it is worth switching the option to “Phantomile” voices instead (or skip the cutscenes completely). The music, remixed from the original game, is pleasant enough but can get repetitive.
Longevity is not a strong point, with only twelve levels and the boss fights to play through. The challenge of finding all the inhabitants to unlock the extra level is not a big draw and the game can be completed in just a few hours. (There is also a Time Attack mode unlocked on first completing the game, along with extra costumes). It is frustration rather than difficulty that is the main bar to progress, with small platforms, re-spawning enemies (a necessity, but still an outdated game mechanic) and the bosses posing the problems. Control is fine, be it on the Wiimote held sideways or with the Nunchuck to move. The player can throw enemies by shaking the Wiimote, but this sometimes proves tricky to aim in the desired direction. The Classic Controller and GameCube Controller are also supported.
While the cartoon looks suggest a game aimed at younger players, they may find the difficulty off-putting. Still, it is nice to re-visit this style of platformer, however brief the experience may be.