Skip to main content

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is the comfort game I needed this year

Klonoa is not a new series by any means. It made its debut the year I was born back in 1997 and returned in 2001 with Klonoa 2, a game I’m more than familiar with. Many fans, like myself, have made a special place in their hearts for this often underlooked platformer series. But in a year like 2022 (one that hasn’t been too cheery), remake collection Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a title that isn’t just for fans.


It’s a comforting re-release and not just because of its nostalgic platforming and bright art style. It’s a game that reminds me that the lows in life are important to the overall journey and that it’s okay to embrace those negative moments.

Embracing the negative

At face value, the Klonoa series is yet another drop in the bucket of classic “scrimblo bimblo” platformer series. Thankfully, this particular drop is one made of liquid gold. Klonoa titles are solid games that have tons of unique design features that differentiate themselves from their peers. Klonoa producer Ryo Ishida explained what made the series unique when I spoke to him earlier this month.

“The biggest feature of Klonoa is the side-scrolling platformer action,” Ishida told me. “But how Klonoa differentiates from its competitors is the 3D-interactable and stylized map, and the deep and diversified gameplay with the simple core mechanic of grabbing and throwing enemies.”

Klonoa jumping up a rocky structure.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

All that gameplay takes place in plenty of comfy dreamland levels called “Visions,” a space that gives Kirby’s own cozy dream world a run for its money. From grassy lands to whimsical forests, all accompanied by calming and cheerful music tracks even when the situation is dire, Klonoa constantly reminds me that a great video game can just be a pure fun-first experience that brings players to a different world.

Of course, Klonoa’s adventures aren’t just about the gameplay. The series is a very rare case of a platformer being praised for its story. That praise comes not from just the script, but the timeless themes that are surprisingly deep for both children and anyone above that age range playing through the games. If you’re anything like me, you can expect to let a few tears flow during the final cutscenes of both games. And yes, it’ll probably happen every time you revisit the games as well.

Klonoa 1 and 2‘s stories are about friendship, cherishing memories, and daring to dream. But the main lesson I take away from the two mainline Klonoa games is a message of acceptance: You can’t ignore the bad in life and that’s okay. You have to take the negatives, remind yourself that difficult emotions are natural, and realize that they’re just as important as the good feelings.

Ghadius standing in front of a dark sky in Klonoa 1.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s okay to cry

Both Klonoa titles in the Phantasy Reverie Series feature antagonists that are angry at the world for forgetting them and seeking their revenge and rightful place in the hearts of its inhabitants. The forgotten two are Ghadius, the Dark King of nightmares, and the King of Sorrow. Both are shunned and thrown into the darkness for being emotions and parts of life that no one wants to acknowledge.

Through their frustrations, Sorrow and Ghadius seek to destroy anyone in their way and make the world accept them. In the end, Klonoa defeats both in their respective games, but not before he realizes that they both are an important part of life that can’t be thrown away.

In the first Klonoa, the titular hero loses his “grandpa” and finds that all the memories he’d believed throughout the game are fabricated memories. In the end, he returns home, never to meet his new friends or witness the saved world he freed from nightmares. It’s the ultimate nightmare, despite Klonoa apparently disrupting Ghadius from unleashing such a thing on the dream world of Phantomville.

Klonoa 2 sees Klonoa and its antagonist, the King of Sorrow, get more closure along with a further fleshed-out theme. Klonoa defeats Sorrow with the power of every other emotion that he’d encountered from other kingdoms throughout his journey. After his victory, Klonoa removes the veil put over the world and reintroduces sorrow to everyone’s hearts, freeing the King from his tomb of sadness and reminding everyone that it’s okay to cry.

Klonoa hugging Lolo in Klonoa 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One particular moment stands out. In Klonoa 2, the hero tells a friend that if they remember the sadness of a certain moment then they’ll never forget it. It’s a small, but key line that underlines the series’ ultimate takeaway: We can’t lock away our negative emotions, no matter how painful they are.

While those themes can be heavy, they’re why I find so much comfort in the Klonoa games. The platforming is relaxing, the world is charming, the characters are endearing, and the story reinforces lessons that are easy to forget. We need to live with our nightmares and sorrow, just like the residents of Phantomville and Lunatea.

Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is available now on Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

Editors' Recommendations

DeAngelo Epps
Former Digital Trends Contributor
De'Angelo Epps is a gaming writer passionate about the culture, communities, and industry surrounding gaming. His work ranges…
Inscryption is the creepy Halloween game I needed this year
A player holds a deck of cards in Inscryption.

“Scary” isn’t usually a word that comes to mind when talking about digital card games. Some deck-builders, like Hearthstone, include cards that depict menacing monsters, but those creatures are never going to pop off the paper and yell “boo!” With careful, turn-based gameplay, deck-builders are generally more about building strategies, not atmosphere.

Inscryption - Reveal Trailer

Read more
All Xbox Series X games will release on Xbox One for at least a year
everything from xbox e3 2018 halo infinite feat

Halo Infinite - E3 2019 - Discover Hope

If you were hoping that early Xbox Series X games would be so advanced that there is no way they could possibly run on Xbox One, you might be in for some disappointment. According to Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, the lines between generations are going to be blurred for the foreseeable future.

Read more
Wordle Today: Wordle answer and hints for May 17
Someone playing Wordle on a smartphone.

We have the solution to Wordle on May 17, as well as some helpful hints to help you figure out the answer yourself, right here. We've placed the answer at the bottom of the page, so we don't ruin the surprise before you've had a chance to work through the clues. So let's dive in, starting with a reminder of yesterday's answer.
Yesterday's Wordle answer
Let's start by first reminding ourselves of yesterday's Wordle answer for those new to the game or who don't play it daily, which was "STALL." So we can say that the Wordle answer today definitely isn't that. Now, with that in mind, perhaps take another stab at it using one of these Wordle starting words and circle back if you have no luck.
Hints for today's Wordle
Still can't figure it out? We have today's Wordle answer right here, below. But first, one more thing: Let's take a look at three hints that could help you find the solution, without giving it away, so there's no need to feel guilty about keeping your streak alive -- you put in some work, after all! Or just keep scrolling for the answer.

Today’s Wordle includes the letter T.
Today’s Wordle uses one vowel.
Today's Wordle is an individual who provides additional, specialized, or personalized instruction and guidance to students outside the standard classroom setting.

Read more