KLAUS is a great example of an indie game done right. With a firm emphasis on storytelling and creativity, the development team at La Cosa Entertainment has delivered one of the best 2D platformers for the PS4 to date.
In Klaus, you wake up without the slightest idea of who you are or how you ended up in the place where you find yourself – a basement. All you know is that there’s a tattoo on your arm that reads “KLAUS” – and it’s a mystery that gradually unfolds over the course of the game. The game itself is a basic platformer at heart, but one that’s imbued with plenty of charm and novel touches. Over the course of the first few stages, you’ll get to grips with the majority of the controls, although newer mechanics are introduced all the time to keep the gameplay fresh through the entire campaign.
One of the more creative touches when it comes to controls is the use of the PS4’s touch pad. In Klaus, this is used to interact with the screen by drawing a circle which then acts as a sort of ‘lasso’ on screen, allowing you to latch on to platforms (and other things) that you can subsequently move around or manipulate. It’s a fun feature, but one that takes a bit of getting used to and it’s not that intuitive for gamepad veterans. However, Klaus will also be coming to the Vita and this kind of creativity can only bode well for that version.
The game’s presentation blends a unique cartoon-like style of animation with bright colors. The art style is distinctly square and in that sense ‘retro’, but you don’t really notice because of the use of soft edges and the backgrounds that are filled with little details. What also really stands out is the narrator – who isn’t voiced like he is in Bastion, but whose comments show up regularly on screen. The running commentary is excellent – almost always on point and often witty in nature. When you as a player feel a certain way about a section or puzzle, the narrator will often say pretty much exactly what you’re thinking at that moment. It’s a great way of interaction on an almost personal level – and in that sense it reminded me of what makes Bastion great as well.
Level design and pacing is well done – with puzzle types never overstaying their welcome. Before long, you’re also introduced to other characters, and you’ll have to work together to solve certain puzzles. This type of ‘solo cooperative’ puzzle platforming worked great in Kalimba, and it’s well done in Klaus as well. It’s hard to fault Klaus, although the touch pad dynamic will probably work better on the PS4 and the audio could have been a bit more fleshed out. Having a voiced narrator could have worked great (although the wrong voice actor could also ruin it), and the music is rather forgettable. Still, Klaus is an excellent game with strong gameplay and a compelling storyline. At not even half the price of a AAA game, it’s easy te recommend it.