This week's Micro episode looks back to a dark time in gaming. A time when the ability to easily produce games with 3D graphics caused everyone to look at decades of game design that had come before and sneer at it.
In that grim era known as "the ’90s," only handheld games (back when serious gamers treated handhelds as if they were only for kids!) continued to evolve 8- and 16-bit platformer and action formats. Console games hopped on the Mario 64/Ocarina of Time bandwagon — which was great, but rather single-minded. Only a handful of daring developers continued to explore the idea of building on deprecated genres without abandoning their style and mechanics. Those games may have been few and far between, but they could often be truly incredible... and few were as incredible as Namco's Klonoa.
For this week's Retronauts Micro, I briefly go over the creative choices and design excellence that made Klonoa so great. The series may be dead and buried at this point, but Klonoa remains fantastic; in fact, thanks to some quirks of its graphics, it actually gets better when you play it on more advanced formats than the original PS1 hardware. Klonoa was simple and sweet in a time when those were the last traits most people wanted in their console games, and it was all the better for that divergence.
Jeremy reminisces on the appeal of Namco's Klonoa, a PlayStation game whose existence defied the odds. Simple yet memorable, its ethereal atmosphere made it a timeless 32-bit creation.
The retail version of Klonoa sells for a mint these days, but you can grab it on the cheap via PlayStation Network to play on PlayStation 3, PSP, Vita, or PSTV. I highly recommend it! You can also grab the Wii remake, which is also quite good. But there's something about the original that no remake or sequel ever quite captured....