Bargain Gaming – Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil

Posted on Jun 16 2011

What do you think of when you hear the term “great platformer game”? You probably think about one of the various Mario or Sonic games from over the years. If you’re feeling particularly nostalgic you’ll probably go all the way back to the 8-bit era to describe the perfect platformer game from when you were a kid. Well when I think of a great platformer I think of an overlooked classic for the PS2 called Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, which is, in my opinion, one of the savviest titles in the genre. Whether it be the story, the characters, or the gameplay itself, I love almost every aspect of this game, and I’m going to go through it step by step to explain why I feel this way. So grab a few winks (and a few dollars) as we follow the dream traveler into his second adventure!

One of the most important aspects of a good platformer game that I think everyone can agree on is the necessity of tight and responsive controls. They should be deceptively simple so that any gamer can pick up the control and have fun, yet with a hidden depth that allows more experienced players to achieve a greater level of skill than is at first apparent. And in this regard Klonoa 2 delivers. Not once, while I played through the entire game, did I ever find myself blaming the controls for some mistake or other, it was always I that was at fault. On top of this the use of the grab button (or wind bullet, as it’s called in game), while at first a seemingly simple tool for using enemies as projectiles, quickly evolves into a nuanced double jump that will make you into a master of your environment. And when combined with a forgiving jump system (you can hover at the apex of your jump for a moment if you hold the jump button) this allows the player to really get into the various puzzles and challenges the game has to offer.

And speaking of challenges, the game play in this title is nothing to sneeze at, with a variety of different types of stages and challenges to ensure that the player will never grow bored. Whether it is a simple side scrolling platforming stage, or a surfing stage, or even one of the six boss stages the game has to offer, Klonoa 2 has a lot to do, and I haven’t even mentioned the bonus challenge stages yet! For the rookie gamer there is plenty of challenge to be had in simply clearing the 16 main visions and beating the six boss stages to clear the game’s story mode. But for the hardcore gamer there is the challenge of not only beating all of these stages, but to do so while also collecting all six pieces of the dolls that are hidden in each stage AND also collecting 150 gems in the same stage in order to unlock everything the game has to offer. And believe me, this is no easy feat to accomplish on the later stages! And on top of this you have time trial versions of the bosses, the previously mentioned challenge stages, and art gallery which become available as you collect these items, adding yet another layer to an already impressive game.

This brings us to the issue of the story, which I also feel is praise worthy because of the way in which it seamlessly combines simplicity with depth in a way that manages to appeal to all audiences. On the surface it’s a simple enough story about saving the world from destruction, yet there are subtle story elements that add extra depth for the astute gamer. As such it can serve as either an extraneous method of progressing through the game for younger and less mature gamers, while leaving older gamers with a message on what it means to overcome and accept sorrow into your life, lest you throw yourself into imbalance. This layered approach to storytelling really lends the game towards all audiences, as anyone can pick up and enjoy this game regardless of age or understanding. It is, in my mind, a truly universally appealing game.

This can also be felt in the way the game approaches its character design, in the way in combines outward appearances with meaningful personas. All of the characters are anthropomorphic and adorable, leaving a favorable impression on younger gamers (hell, most of the enemy designs are freaking adorable!) who were, admittedly, probably most of the game’s target audience. Yet these seemingly simple characters turn out to have a lot of depth as you progress through the game, lending credence to their plight and adding a level of empathy towards these characters that otherwise wouldn’t be present. A great example of this is the character Leorina, who acts as an antagonist throughout the game yet has enough depth that by the time you finally defeat her you feel a surprising amount of empathy towards her struggle.

The last aspect of the game I’d like to mention is the sound and art design, which is really rather well done in my opinion. Sure, graphically the game isn’t as sophisticated as modern titles, but it still has a rather charming feel to it and holds up pretty well given its age. But even if it was a visual nightmare it would still be worth mentioning if only for the music that permeates throughout as you experience everything the game has to offer. With over seventy different pieces of music composed by eight different artists, the music of Klonoa serves as an incredible addition to an already impressive game, making this dream world really seem to come to life. And I also found the odd voices of the different characters to be a nice touch, as it led an air of universality to the game through all of the characters being able to understand each other even though they all spoke differently. Really, the game has just superb sound design and the Klonoa Works team really deserves a lot of credit for this addition.

As such I highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys platformers, knows someone who does, or who wants to share a videogame experience with a group of people regardless of age or intellect. It is a fun game with a lot of replayability and a huge heart. If you see this game in your local game store make sure to pick it up. At only five dollars a copy you have very little to lose and a lot to gain.

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  • Kanashimi June 16, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    I love this game so much, it has to be one of the earliest games on PS2 I owned. I have a habit of replaying it and then getting to that odd mirror world. I’ve beaten it before, but haven’t in a really long time.

    • Bargain Gamer June 18, 2011 at 6:57 PM

      Oh man, the mirror world! That place was tricky the first time I did it. Not as difficult as the final stages in the Kingdom of Sorrow, but more of a brain teaser. Good times. ^ ^

  • Elk June 19, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    I’ve never actually PLAYED Klonoa, but I’ve seen some speedruns during those charity marathons, and it looks pretty awesome.

    • Bargain Gamer June 20, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      I’ve actually never played the first game, but I can assure you that the second one was indeed awesome.

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