Review: Klaus

Posted by on January 27th, 2016 | 0 Comments | Tags: ,

A man wakes up in a basement and has no recollection of the past. He doesn’t even know his name. All he knows is that the word “Klaus” is written on his arm. This is all of the background you’ll need in this side-scrolling puzzle platformer. Klaus includes a wealth of mechanics that will be needed to complete all 35 levels. The controls could leave you confused when pushing multiple buttons, but the excellent design of each of the levels is expertly crafted, and mostly overshadows the problems with the game.

Our protagonist, just named Klaus, attempts to try and find who he really is. The player (yes you), is actually a part of the game. Klaus will talk to you and begin to mention how you are controlling him. The game breaks the 4th wall several times, and works well, but those segments weren’t some of the memorable moments in Klaus. Text appears on screen as Klaus’s dialogue. He will occasionally tell the player his thoughts and will ask questions to the player. At times Klaus and the player don’t always see eye to eye, leading to some interesting story and gameplay segments. You’ll know when Klaus is talking, because you can hear an audio cue from him over the speaker on the controller. A problem I had with Klaus, is that at times you are so focused on avoiding obstacles and planning your next move, that you don’t want to take your eyes off the character to read the text. I missed some parts of the dialogue and story due to focusing on the action, rather than reading. The audio cues coming from the speaker help offset this problem, but I know I missed some sections of dialogue. After a while, you’ll meet a big hulking brute named K1. K1 isn’t the smartest character in the game, but does offer some unique dialogue to the game and interacts with the player as well. K1 has his own backstory that you’ll learn over the course of the game. Throughout Klaus and K1’s journey, you’ll come across secret areas that are mini challenge rooms that unlock a memory. If you unlock all memories in a floor, you’ll have an additional level in which you’ll learn the story of Klaus and K1. Finding the memories are not mandatory, but I could see if someone did not unlock these memories being confused by the end of the game. Overall, the story isn’t too interesting, but the story’s acknowledgement of the player, and a few twists and turns was enough to keep me interested during its 3-4 hour experience.

As a puzzle-platformer, you’ll be jumping from platform to platform avoiding obstacles while trying to get through each of the levels. Klaus and K1 have different abilities and you’ll need to use both to complete every level. Klaus can double jump and hack terminals, while K1 has a little bit bigger moveset. K1 can glide using his torn off shirt, destroy bigger terminals, throw Klaus to greater heights, break blocks and can use an uppercut to gain new heights. Playing with K1, I found to be much more enjoyable, as he has a wider range of moves. Using K1, felt it required some actual skill, but when playing with Klaus, all you needed to do was avoid lasers and jump to the next platform. Both characters can run using L1 and be controlled at the same time using the R1 button. It may seem simple enough to control both at the same time, but while holding L1 to run and R1 to control both characters, on top of pressing the jump button and moving the analog stick, the controls can be cumbersome. In addition, if you need to jump twice to avoid an obstacle, Klaus will double jump, while K1 will glide, leading both characters to doing different actions that could lead to one character falling into a trap. Thankfully, checkpoints are very frequent. A few obstacles may need to be repeated upon death, but I didn’t think there were too many or too few checkpoints. The touchpad on the controller is heavily used throughout Klaus. Using the touchpad to unlock doors or move platforms is necessary for Klaus to progress. It can take a second or two to line up the cursor exactly where you want it, but it works well. It can be frustrating, however, when you need to switch between certain movable platforms with the touchpad, only to not select the platform in time and fall into a trap. The game uses each of the mechanics to great effect. I never saw a puzzle twice and was never disinterested in what section came next. Each level was a challenge and I was ready to rise up to meet it.

There are six main floors to the game, and each is coded with a certain color. For example, the basement has a red theme and background, while the office floor has a blue background. The game stands out with these themes, and without them, the game would look very dull. Each floor consists of about 5-6 levels that take about 5-10 mins or so to complete. The one floor that stands out, however, is the glitch world. This world plays with your perception of the world. What you see as spikes, may no longer be harmful to you, and what you think is an exit, may be just nothing in disguise. The game offers few boss fights, which aren’t too hard, once you understand their attack patterns. One of the fights stand out, but the other two aren’t anything special to write home about. Each level has a hidden level that can shed more light on the backstory. Some of these levels can be challenging, while some require you to walk from left to right and perhaps jump once or twice.

The presentation of Klaus is mostly solid. Loading menus and progressing to the next level can slow the game down a bit. When selecting levels, the game can take about 10 seconds to load the next menu. While in game, the game runs great, except for one instance. During one of the boss fights, the game’s performance did take a hit. It didn’t slow to a crawl, but it did affect my rhythm of avoiding the oncoming dangers. In the same boss fight, the game froze about 3 times where in turn, I needed to replay the fight over again multiple times before the game progressed normally. There was also a level that I completed that froze at the very end, leading me to run through the level again. Another gripe I found with the game is that there is no level select until the game is completed. So if you are on the fourth main area of the game, and you want to show someone a section from the second area, your only choice is to start a new game and play to that section. There were times I wanted to go back to find a missed collectible or hear some story segments again, only to find that I couldn’t until I completed the story. When completing the game, you’ll unlock the Arcade Mode. Here you can revisit previous levels to hear the story again or find hidden memory pieces. Also in the Arcade Mode, you can test your skills in the Time Attack mode. Time Attack is a time trial mode where you can compete against your friends or the world on the leaderboards. There is also a Boss Record that has you trying to complete the level under a certain time. A fantastic electronic soundtrack plays in each of the levels and the music is definitely worth mentioning. It sets the mood and immerses you into the world around you.

Klaus isn’t perfect by any means, but is a fun puzzle-platformer that challenges the player without making it feel too easy, and at the same time not making it too frustrating. The levels are expertly crafted and it uses every mechanic the game has to offer. It doesn’t introduce mechanics just to have them never be seen again. The game has some minor problems such as some cumbersome controls and a few technical issues, but overall the game is a fun platformer that is worth checking out for fans of the genre.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.

General Info

  • Cumbersome controls
  • Lack of level select until game is completed
  • Minor technical problems