The Game Boy Advance is home to many great games, from platformers, to RPGs, its library is full of hit after hit, but alas, such greatness can lead to overlooked titles, hidden from sight by more well known games, and such was the fate of this title, a puzzle/platformer that even as a series, was overlooked by most gamers.
Empire of Dreams begins with our main character, Klonoa, waking up in the Kingdom of Jillius and is promptly captured and taken to the king himself, and he is charged for the crime of dreaming, a crime caused by a law created by the King himself, because he couldn’t dream, and so, decided no one could, but instead of being punished, he is tasked to defeat four creatures causing mayhem in the kingdom, and if he succeeds, he’ll be allowed to go free.
The presentation in this game is good for the most part, the graphics are clear, and the sprites animations are well done, the background does a good job of making you feel as if you are in a dream, and while the music is certainly not memorable it fits the atmosphere of the game well.
The game is divided into 5 Worlds, that have 8 “Visions” each, and every 4 or so stages, the gameplay is given a slight twist, in the usual stages you solve puzzles by using your platforming skills, but in others, you have to move fast, because the screen keeps moving and if you fall behind, you die.
Another stage lets you ride an air board while dodging enemies as you move, and one more that it’s the boss stage, in which you defeat the boss to advance to the next world.
While this game is a platformer, most of it is done to solve puzzles in the stages, you can run, jump, flutter in the air using Klonoa’s rabbit like ears to gain distance, and use the Wind Bullet, which allows to grab enemies, objects, and use it as a grappling hook of sorts, the purpose of the moving stages and the air board stages is to reach the end, but in the usual stages, you have to find 3 Hexagram shaped stars in order to open the door to leave.
On the way to exit each level are diamonds, that have no immediate value, but, you need them in order to unlock extra visions, that are more difficult to beat, but really not by much, as the game will probably be easy for most players.
Klonoa: Empire of Dreams is a platformer like no other, it’s fun, innovative, and while the series is likely dead due to poor sales, it’s good to remember it, and with that in mind, I would recommend this to fans of the genre, and it’s also a good choice for younger gamers to get into, but in the end, if you are looking for a fun experience, this is one that you will enjoy.