Brad and I are in almost total agreement when it comes to Namco's sequel. Like Brad, I too was impressed with what Namco was able to achieve graphically with Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil. Though limited to a 2.5D perspective, Namco managed to create one of the more beautiful videogames released in a while and it is certainly one of the best-looking PlayStation 2 games on the market. Namco went above and beyond the call by creating such vast environments. It certainly didn't need to go that route since the game is largely restricted to a 2D plane, but the developer did anyway. The results are worlds that are incredibly expansive yet do not overtax the graphical processors of the PlayStation 2 and hinder the gameplay. Namco also deserves some praise for the organic look they achieved with this game. Though a bit fantastic in nature, the world of Lunatea exudes life and at times this carries Lunatea's Veil well beyond the typical carnival-like atmosphere so prevalent in other mascot games.
As Brad alluded to, Lunatea's Veil is a true throwback to days long gone—days when 2D ruled and 3D was the domain of primitive (by today's standards) flight simulations on the PC. But it's not only its appearance, but the gameplay. Lunatea's Veil actually consists of little more than using a jump and attack, but when you add enemies to the mix, you get a surprisingly deep assortment of moves at almost any given time.
My only knock would be in how the action is set up. Almost every level consists of a series of puzzles—complete the puzzle and you advance to the next one. I'll agree with Brad that developers haven't exploited this type of gameplay, but I would argue that one of the reasons for this is that it results in the very leisurely pacing that Brad is complaining about. Lunatea's Veil's stop and go pacing began to wear on my nerves and before long I yearned for any opportunity to blow throw the stages and was all the more upset when I wasn't able to do so.
When it comes to the story and voice-acting, Brad saw something to be disappointed in while I was largely impressed. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I hadn't played Klonoa: Door To Phantomile. Regardless, the story was enjoyable as far as mascot games go and I really liked the voice-acting—finally a mascot whose voice doesn't make my skin crawl. Everything else from the music to the dialogue helped create a sweet atmosphere that really appealed to me.
Brad has a point about the game needing some intensity. Unfortunately, the only solution Namco could come up with was adding snowboarding levels to the fray—it must be due to some new rule stating that all mascots must ride snowboards in their games. At first, the snowboard levels are just extensions of previous levels that Klonoa took on by foot, the only difference being that the snowboard is in constant motion. Out of nowhere, the perspective changes from a side-view to one of the over-the-shoulder variety and the narrow pathways that Klonoa once traversed with ease become insanely difficult to navigate. It's as if the developer just decided on a whim to rip the training wheels off without warning to increase the difficulty or add some variety to the gameplay. I think it just made the game harder than it ever needed to be and these stages were not much fun to boot.
Lunatea's Veil may be overlooked like its predecessor was due to its cartoon-like appearance, overall brevity, and easy gameplay, and thats a shame. Underneath the saccharine sweet exterior is an enjoyable tribute to the 2D platform titles of the past.