(Namco Bandai for Wii)
By Mike Delano
It’s hard to classify the sporadic, but steady, stream of 2D platformers released in 2009 as a resurgence of the genre, since any that aren’t Nintendo-branded definitely have a strictly niche appeal. That means new titles really have to be special to succeed in engaging their small, hardcore audience, and recent entries have gone that extra mile, from connoisseur fare like Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? to polished gems like Shadow Complex and Klonoa. Not just a rerelease of the 1998 game on the Playstation, Klonoa for the Wii features totally rebuilt graphics that are as bright and colorful as you probably remember the original being. It looks fantastic, and the ahead-of-its-time mix of 2D and 3D visuals keeps it from appearing too old-school. Other than the visuals, not much else has changed: Seeing as how the controls value precision, there’s no Wii-waggling to be found. In fact, the controls approach the Mega Man-like precision that defines the best platformers, something LittleBigPlanet sorely lacked, and the something that will hopefully keep the Klonoa name alive for many new coats of paint to come.