Full Review: Holy shiznit! A platformer on the PS2, I never thought I'd see the day.
The old school platformer is a dying art. Most developers assume that if it's not in 3D it's not good enough for a next generation system. Well those people would be dead wrong, and you need look no further to prove that than with Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil.
Klonoa 2 feels a lot like Sonic, it just doesn't feature the same super speed. Klonoa and Sonic even look a lot alike. Except Klonoa has these big floppy ears that allow him to float after he jumps. In addition to Sonic, Klonoa remembers its roots. The storyline and setup are a lot like the platform games of old. Klonoa has been knocked unconscious and is found in the water by Lolo and her sidekick Popka. You see Klonoa is the mystical Dream Traveler, foretold by the mystics to save the world from the Chaos Bell (yes you read that right). So Klonoa and his merry band set out into the world of Lunatea and meet all sorts of characters and must ring the four bells scattered around the kingdom to stop the Chaos Bell. Try not to think about the story, it'll make your head hurt.
That's because the world of Klonoa is a platform gamers dream come true. The entire game is rendered in what's known as 2 1/2D. This means the game has a 3D look and you can interact with things you see in the background, but you only have to move left, right, up, and down like you've done in platformers since the dawn of time (or to be technical, 1978). And if this is where the platform genre is going I'm all for it. Klonoa looks fantastic and plays just as a platformer should. The whole point of the game is to reach the end of the level by jumping from platform to platform. You will also have to shoot enemies with your Power Ring and then you can use them to get a super jump or throw them at other enemies. You will also have to solve puzzles by finding keys and flipping switches to make invisible platforms appear, or to make visible ones disappear that are blocking your path.
To break up the platform jumping monotony there is also several Board levels. In these Board levels you're on a giant surf/snowboard that can go anywhere. The Board levels are quite possibly my favorite part of the entire game as your only goal is to get from the start to the end and just stay on your board. You have to do all of this while still making jumps and hitting enemies with your Power Ring.
Not only does Klonoa 2 play great though, it also looks and sounds good. The worlds you have to explore are just amazing. A city in flames, a jungle paradise, a mirror fun house, an ice castle. The levels are just all so unique and detailed. Let me give you an example. Remember the Sonic comparison? Well Klonoa 2 really takes it to extreme heights in the Joilant Fun Park level. It's like a 3D version of the Casino Night level in Sonic 2 with all the colorfulness and the music and the detail. It's the perfect blend of sight and sound. If one level will make you a believer this is the one. If that's not enough there are also these cannons and jump plates littered throughout the game that send Klonoa flying through the levels. Just to see these giant detailed landscapes fly below him is amazing, Namco has really outdone themselves. The backgrounds that you fly over are almost as good as the foreground graphics.
Not is well in the land of Lunatea though. The control is a little rough and it takes a lot more practice than it should to get the Hover Jump working. Such an integral part of the game should not be that hard to perform. And then there's the fact that it's almost too cute for it's own good. Allow me to explain.
See the "story" is told through in game cut scenes at the start and end of every level. And there are so many of these cut scenes that they really bog down the flow of the game. And everyone speaks in Japanese (or what I assume is Japanese, it could just be gibberish) and the game is subtitled in English. Even with all these cut scenes, the story still makes absolutely zero sense. And aside from Klonoa all the other characters are just annoying as hell. This is kind of a pointless argument though seeing as how you can just skip over the cut scenes (and you should) and because the gameplay is just so great.
Finally, as often is the case when you're dealing with a game "for the kids" it's going to be rather short (which Klonoa 2 is) and rather easy (which Klonoa 2 also is). It's not that it makes the game not worth playing, far from it. It's a simple case of I wanted more.