Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is a classic PlayStation adventure game remade for the Wii that's entirely true to the original in content, colour and even voice actors.
The only new things in the game are bonus stages and challenge levels to extend gameplay for hardcore fans that have likely outgrown the difficulty level of the linear story mode. The good news is the modes really are challenging and will probably extend gameplay by a decent number of hours. The bad news is they really are challenging and you might break a few Wii Remotes in frustration.
What Is It? The Klonoa challenge modes come in two main flavors: Mirrored Vision and challenge areas. Mirrored Vision involves replaying completed levels by starting from the end of the level instead of the beginning and different challenge areas within levels offer time attack and jumping puzzles the likes of which could make your blood boil.
What We Saw I spent the better part of an hour in timed challenge areas. The ones I saw were mostly jumping puzzles, and in Klonoa that counts of a lot of what you'll be doing. The main one I focused on involved Klonoa progressing a third of the way through a level and then dropping down into a white whirlwind portal. The challenge on the other side of that portal involved Klonoa leaping out over a pit of lava, turning to face backward in mid-air, hovering to gain a bit of height and then grabbing a floating enemy. Once you've mastered this first part (and it's way harder than it sounds), you have to nail the exact timing necessary to fling the enemy as you jump, hover, turn to face forward and grab the next enemy and so on until you reach the top of the lava-filled cavern.
How Far Along Is It? Final. The game is out May 8.
What Should Change? Lose the Wii Remote: I started the jumping challenges with the default Wii Remote and Nunchuck combo. The game is waggle-free, but the exact button presses took some adjusting to, so I decided to lose the Nunchuck and flip the Wiimote on its side. It simplified the button presses a little, but made it damn painful to mash the correct sequence of buttons and D-pad directions with the right timing. After my twelfth attempt, I came away with a square dent in my left thumb. Thankfully, the game is supposed to be compatible with the classic controller or the GameCube controller; which makes me wonder why bother with the Wii Remote at all?
What Should Stay The Same? Bragging Rights: Completing a challenge in Klonoa brings a sense of satisfaction you might otherwise get from winning the lottery or surviving a train wreck. Nearly every journalist I watched try the challenge modes began with a puffed up chest and quick thumbs – and almost every single one of them failed a challenge more than ten times. Even after two dozen goes at that challenge mentioned above, I still couldn't get higher than the first enemy (mostly because I had trouble with the part where you need to turn all the way around in midair using that viciously sharp D-pad). When the PR rep finally stepped up and managed to pull it off in one go for the first time in his many months on the title, he was cheered as a hero.
Final Thoughts The original Klonoa was one of the best things that ever happened to my big brother because he got to lord his PlayStation over my Nintendo 64 as the superior adventure gaming platform (at least until Ocarina of Time came out). I find it cosmically hilarious that more than a decade later, I'll get to be playing his PlayStation trump card on my Nintendo Wii as a Wii game instead of a port. It may still be a kid's game, but the challenge modes sweeten the deal and give me something to say to my brother all those elitists who might sneer at me for never having played the original.