Title  : Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
Platforms  : Sony PlayStation 2
Publisher  : Namco
ESRB Rating  : Everyone
Game Rating  : 7.1
Review by  : Ken Gagne

Klonoa is back — not the cooking oil, but the run-and-jump hero with hands for ears. Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil is a PlayStation 2 offering from Namco that features classic, simplistic platform action in a colorful, scrolling world. 

Klonoa's adventure begins when he washes up on the shore of Lunatea. His rescuers are an apprentice priestess who can turn into a magical ring, and a mean-tempered puppet. This unlikely pair unquestionably declares Klonoa the Dream Traveller, annexing him into their mission to ring Lunatea's four Harmony Bells and quell the world's chaos. 

To reach those bells, players must guide Klonoa through a world of two-and-a-half dimensions. As Klonoa moves left and right, up and down, the world skews on a third axis to create the appearance of moving in and out of the screen. This function is never applied in such a way as to leave the gamer's mouth agape with amazement; though Klonoa's graphics are colorful, there are few demonstrations of 128-bit power. Still, the 2.5D aspect is a fun feature that continuously creates varying perspectives on the action. 

Klonoa's repertoire comprises two basic moves: jump and shoot. The creatures Klonoa encounters are more handy than threatening, as shooting them is akin to grabbing them, from which Klonoa can produce a variety of moves. Most enemies can be thrown as projectiles, or used as springboards for higher jumps, while others can make Klonoa fly brief distances. Short of running into these animals or mistiming a leap, Klonoa is unlikely to be at any great risk during much of his travels. A few puzzles require fleet-footed movement, if not quick thinking, as the application of the solution is more difficult than determining what steps need be taken. 

The world through which our hero traverses is gaily lit and colored, full of flowers, mountains, amusement parks, and other attractions. Items in the background and foreground can be gathered, so be attentive to what in other games might be just decoration. The characters themselves look like cartoons or caricatures whose expressions are clearly readable. 

The music fits the environment, with crashing waves on the ocean and raucous noise in the city. The rest of the music is forgettable in its mediocrity. Between levels, character interaction advances the plot as dialogue is printed on the screen and spoken in a combination of foreign and nonsense languages. 

Klonoa is not geared toward an older gaming audience, as is evidenced by the silly plot and characters, and reinforced by the appearance of Meow-Meow Kitty as an antagonist. The game reads like a storybook and plays with a matching level of complexity. The lack of difficulty left me going through the motions of gameplay without any of the fun. Younger gamers will enjoy the simplistic controls, invariable challenge, and charming storyline, but other players will not find that those aspects add up to a satisfying gaming experience.


This article is copyright (c) 2001, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 12-Aug-01