For some, sometimes you just have to step away from big, online, Triple A games and just relax with a smaller title. Platformers from independent studios seem to be on a roll even if they are few and far between sometimes. With the success of games like Shovel Knight and Guacamelee, it proves that there is always an itch for a good platformer. This time around, the developers at La Cosa Entertainment has brought us the next great platformer, Klaus, for the PS4.
The setup is simple, even if the overall plot isn’t. Your character wakes up in a basement of sorts, not knowing who he is, and finds the word ‘Klaus’ tattooed on his arm. He then must traverse his way through a mechanical lair of traps while the player must solve puzzles at some points to move onto the next portion of the game. As you go through the game, while it’s not necessary, you can discover areas to play through that mess with your characters’ senses, but also awakens some memories at a time when completed. These areas are important to the narrative of the game and it is recommended that most of them are found; not only for story insight, but for trophies as well.
You also run into another victim of prolonged imprisonment that helps you get through the levels later in the game that gives it the game more depth of gameplay. What is great about this game is its use of the PS4’s touch pad on the controller. In the game you have to activate platforms and control them by touching them with the touch pad, and then using the right stick to control it. While it may not seem like the most innovative way to use this feature on the Dualshock controller, there hasn’t been a lot of games that have and kudos should be given for taking advantage of the tech because not many other games do.
The controls are solid. I mean, really solid.
At no point in going through it did I ever get mad at the game for being too difficult though the six to eight hour campaign. If I kept dying it was because of my own ego thinking I could make a jump, or not timing them correctly. It should be clear that Klaus isn’t an easy game, especially towards the later levels, but it’s not difficult in the way Super Meat Boy is either. There hasn’t been a platformer in a while that made me want to suffer through the rough spots like Klaus does. Klaus has a way of making you want to continue through its campaign, because regardless of how hard a section can be, it is obtainable when you just stop and think about it like any good platformer does, and you’ll give yourself a small mental pat on the back afterwards.
There are some similarities to Thomas Was Alone that gamers will pick up when it comes to the switching of characters; the different abilities. Initially, when this aspect of the game started in the second area, I groaned a bit as I was sure that this inconvenience would bog down my progress, but luckily the levels were expansive enough to where your companion wasn’t an annoyance and has quite a part to play in the game.
Visually, Klaus is impressive in the sense that it has the “stamp art” look that was popular in the 50’s and 60’s that is very prominent in the levels; the use of solid colors with thin black and white lines. From a character design, Klaus has a visually striking, yet has a simple look to it as the characters you see have a very Sunday morning comic strip vibe that also reminds me of the character design of ‘Don’t Starve’.
As colorful as Klaus is, the tone of the game is actually very grim as you are navigating through traps and trying to survive. What grabs you is when you unlock parts of your memories; each piece is broken down by at least six pieces that you obtain when you find a portal, and when you fit them together, it shifts to your past and while some of it isn’t unusual, there is also a lot of grim aspects to it.
What was particularly entertaining was the statements that were written on screen at certain points in the levels. At first, it just seems like Klaus’s inner monologue as you progress, telling you what he sees and smells, but what ultimately ends up happening is that the characters acknowledge that you are the playet and start talking to you, the player, specifically. The breaking down of the fourth dimension is a great touch, but if there is a gripe to be had is that you will find yourself so engaged with clearing the level, you will probably miss some of the lines which is a shame because they can be insightful and humorous.
Klaus is the most fun I have had with a platformer in years, and it’s highly suggested that you should try it out if you are a fan of that genre. Challenging in its set-up, and as bright in level design as it is dark in scope, there is not a lot that is wrong with this game. La Cosa Entertainment Studios is a developer to keep an eye out for as Klaus is an example of a great first game on their roster.
You can view our quick-play for Klaus by clicking HERE!
Note: Writer was provided with copy at release from La Cosa Entertainment