Switch version tested
Review code provided
This tidy little platform game was quite under the radar. If it wasn’t for the quirky trailer that showed a hint of some 60s spy-like gameplay, perhaps it’s one of the games forever lost in the growing digital pile of Nintendo eShop games. Luckily then, TBG got to play Klaus, and this here is our (my) opinion.
Klaus kicks into gear the moment you press start – without any build-up, you’re straight into the game and as the titular character, hop over a few obstacles here and there with ease, slowly gainly your confidence in some epic jumps. This game really does throw every jumping tactic at you as you have the classic Mario long jump, subtle taps of the button to get over small gaps, plus the butt-clenching ‘drop down a chasm and jump at the last minute’ type jump. Klaus, like Potata, has them all.
With no real recollection on who he is, Klaus finds out bits about himself where the story is told through text embedded in the levels. I was a bit on the fence with it as first impressions were ‘ah, this is cool – no interruptions’, then to thoughts of its excessive use, then finally back to the initial thoughts that this was a good way to tell the story without too many cutscenes. There’s a fine narrative thread woven into the game, but this is a platform puzzle at its core and serves up some rewarding set pieces, to some infuriating jumps where you have to keep repeating until you get it right.
In some ways, Klaus reminded me of Super Meat Boy – one of my favourite games of recent years, but without the same speed. Your character has a bit more of a floaty feeling, but this is essential to perfect your jumps, adding aftertouch to get to a higher/lower platform or avoiding becoming a human shish kebab on the very many spikes and sharp pointy things that are in abundance. The level designs are great and just the right amount of challenge, but that’s not to say it still isn’t tough.
Throughout are checkpoints, represented by a swirly arrow. Usually, these are in the right places you need them to be, and for the majority of the time, you don’t always need them as you can get past a section with ease. Then there are other moments where you repeat the same bit again and again without making any sort of progress. While I wasn’t remotely going to give up, some sections tested my patience – notably the secret bonus areas. These are entirely optional, but as they’re relatively easy to find and get to, it’s worth doing.
Unfortunately, the developers are sadists as these feature tricky puzzles like not being able to turn in one direction, having a mirrored version of yourself that mimics your moves but in a different section of a map with various hazards, or somewhat daredevil jumps where you have to be pixel perfect. I won’t spoil what happens when you complete these parts, but even if it was just a pat on the back, it’s rewarding once you finish them.
Aside from the typical platform side of things; either use the stick or d-pad to move with Y to sprint and B to jump – double-tap for a higher jump, Klaus can also use telekinesis with some objects by holding ZR and the right analogue stick to manipulate it. It’s simple to do at first, but by the time you’re facing the levels with auto-scrolling (horizontal and vertical), and you’re trying to stay on screen, switching between objects isn’t fun. In this scenario, Klaus is quite stressful as the slightest mistake has you returning to the checkpoint; however, it is doable, and if you persist, it’s uplifting to think you actually beat that level. There’s always the option to go back and revisit levels you’ve played in the Arcade mode, too. You can also unlock additional characters through your progression, once you defeat the boss of a floor, made up of numerous chapters.
The visuals in the game are simple but effective – much like Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio. Instead of opting for the ever-common pixel art approach, the game has more of a retro feel, with hints of something like Samurai Jack, but on a much smaller scale. I wasn’t too keen on the music at first as it disappeared into the background in the earlier chapters. While I don’t want to be distracted with happy hardcore or some cutesy music that’s inappropriate to the gameplay, it was pleasing to hear the tracks in the game improve into more chillout type tracks that took the edge off when dying for the 100th time. A note on that; deaths aren’t as frequent as you’d expect, but thankfully there are no lives in the game, meaning infinite continues. That doesn’t help with the boss battles however, as you get one attempt and have to restart the fight each time you die.
Though Klaus doesn’t have the same finesse as Super Meat Boy, it’s a pretty solid platform game, and just when you think you’ve mastered a section, a new gaming mechanic is thrown into the mix to throw you off guard and put you off your game, which is good, as Klaus never feels boring or becomes complacent with the same old puzzle one after the other. The story continues to be elusive, but it doesn’t matter as the fundamental gameplay is excellent. Despite my reservations over some of the pretty much cruel jumps you have to pull off, I very much enjoyed my experience with the game.
A must for platform fans who like a bit of aftertouch to a jump or like the idea of the ground either moving you in a different direction while you time your jump or for it to literally fall away under your feet, Klaus is a solid platform game and highly recommended.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 18/06/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Action, Platformer, Puzzle
Developer: La Cosa Entertainment
Publisher: La Cosa Entertainment
Download link: eShop