Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament Review

Developer: Namco Publisher: Namco
Release Date: February 22, 2005 Also On: None

It’s hard to pen Klonoa 2 in any one genre. On the one hand, you want to call it an action-platformer, while on the other an adventure due to the backtracking and finding of various pieces, and on the other, a puzzle game, because at heart, that’s mainly what it is. If you can’t solve the puzzles, you’re not going to get anywhere in this game. For classification’s sake, let’s just call Klonoa 2 an action-platform-puzzle game.

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The gameplay variety is quite astonishing for a GBA title. The whole game is either side-scrolling or vertical rail (think Crash Bandicoot). In all of the levels, your goal is to reach the end. The ‘action’ levels (vertical rail levels) will have you moving left to right, collecting items, avoiding enemies, etc. The ‘adventure’ levels have you collect items, such as the 3 moon stones to open the moon door, and other items such as keys to unlock doors. All of this is done while solving various puzzles in the game.

If you aren’t familiar with Klonoa, Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament places gamers in a world where you must compete with various heroes in a tournament. You will be placed in a bracket, where you will have to defeat various opponents in this tournament by knocking them out. They are knocked out by beating them in a face-off, where you will need to reach the goal before they do.

In order to do this, however, you will need to unlock each level in succession, though there are some instances where you can choose between playing one of two levels that branch off. Once you reach the end of each level, another level will unlock. This does not mean you have ‘beaten’ that level though. You’ll need to collect the three moon stones and one sun stone in order to actually complete a level.

If you’re reading this, thinking Klonoa is all about collection, you’d be right. Where you’re wrong is that the purpose of collecting these items is to force gamers to stretch their imagination as far as possible. For a Game Boy Advance game, they did a very good job of creating situations where you’ll have to think. You’ll find situations where you will have to use your imagination, using trial-and-error sometimes to achieve your objective.

For those of you still in the dark about the basic play mechanics, think of Klonoa as your standard issue platformer. Where it’s different is in the gameplay itself. You see, in order to reach ledges, you don’t get a ‘double-jump’ ability, you have to use enemies, boxes, whirlwinds, etc. When you slap a baddie with a ‘wind bullet’, it’ll attach to you as a balloon looking thing. You can use them for a number of things, including throwing them into enemies, to reach higher ground, etc.

Where ingenuity comes into play is in the puzzle solving elements of the game. Grabbing an enemy and using him to reach a ledge isn’t puzzle solving, it’s basic play mechanics. Where you’ll have to use creativity is in locating where you need to go, and what you need to do to get there. In one level, there’s a block that you’ll need to drop to the lowest level. Once you do that, you need a ‘left arrow’, atop of the block, in order to push a switch. From here, you take one of the enemies, which conveniently turns into a bomb, throw him towards the ‘left arrow’ and wait for him to explode. Once he does, the ‘left arrow’ is triggered and will hit the switch. This is just one example of the many puzzles that you will encounter.

The hoverboard races that I talked about (the rail levels) are a lot less spectacular than the action-platforming elements found in the other levels. You basically move from left to right, avoiding obstacles, collecting coins, and jumping over large gaps in the screen via wind-bullet of an enemy, then the ‘double jump’. The hoverboard levels are frills that could have easily been left out in the finished product.

If you’re an action-platforming puzzle-solving type, Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament is probably one of the best GBA games available on the market today. With the current GBA slump, Klonoa 2 is by far the best GBA offering of 2005. For the price that Namco’s asking ($29.99), it’s hard to pass this one up.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 8.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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