Klonoa Empire of Dreams
The Emperor is unable to dream and in true tyrant tradition, if he can't enjoy something then his subjects can't enjoy it. The problem is Klonoa and Huepow continue to dream. Somehow the Emperor finds out about this and they are arrested. They are about to be executed when the Emperor decides to let them off providing they can vanquish the four monsters that are attacking the empire.
Klonoa is a cat type character and Huepow is an imp that conveniently places himself on Klonoa's magic ring and waits to assist him. You control Klonoa and to complete your quest you are going to have to complete over 40 challenging levels that are spread over five different worlds.
Klonoa is not your standard platformer, it is much more than that. Of course the classic platform ingredients are all here and executed splendidly but what makes Klonoa different is that it really makes you think. In order to complete a level you have to find the three stars. These stars can be in tricky locations and you have to use a variety of techniques and objects to acquire them.
Klonoa has a variety of moves that can assist you in this puzzle solving. In addition to the basic movements he can also perform a hover, which allows him to temporarily remain in mid-air, he can fire a wind bullet which captures enemies and allows him to throw them and finally (and perhaps most importantly) he can double jump. A double jump uses a captured enemy as a springboard to perform huge jumps. This allows Klonoa to access what would otherwise be inaccessible areas.
Not all the levels are about collecting the three stars. The levels in which you have to collect the three stars are known as Puzzle stages. There are also Action stages. Action stages either involve you speeding along on a self-propelled hover board or participating in an athletic challenge in which you have to overcome obstacles and reach the goal. Finally there is the Boss stages. These are simply a fight to the finish with Boss characters.
Klonoa looks absolutely fantastic. The graphics are bright and colourful and the animation is first class. Little things like the revolving of the worlds, where you choose which stage to have a go at, has been wonderfully done. All of the backgrounds for the stages look great. To be honest it looks as good as anything Nintendo themselves could create, it's that good.
The game is perfect for deaf gamers. There is no vocal feedback, as you would expect with a GBA, and everything is given in text. On the first couple of stages you will come across sign posts and looking at these will explain how to perform certain moves. These messages require a button press to continue so that you can read the text at your own pace, which is large and easy to read.
Klonoa is a supremely playable platform game that is as good as anything on the GBA. The puzzle nature of the levels has been balanced just right and it will provide an immense and enjoyable challenge for fans of the genre. Like all class titles it will also appeal to gamers who don't normally like platform games because the puzzles prevent it from becoming too straight forward and similar to other platform games.
Overall Game Rating: 9.3/10 Klonoa Empire of Dreams is a truly great and innovative platform game. Namco have done a superb job. This is a must have title for your GBA.
Deaf Gamers comment: Klonoa Empire of Dreams is perfect for deaf gamers. With clear, easy to read static text, what more can we ask for?