Singularity

Sam reviews… Katamari Forever

Oct.04, 2009, filed under games, Reviews

I promised you two game reviews yesterday and only delivered one. That was rather naughty of me. Still, you can’t say I short-changed you in the last review. At least I got to it before Ben Croshaw (whose feelings about Web of Shadows match mine exactly).

The other game I wanted to review was Katamari Forever. All together now…

NAAAAAAAA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA, KATAMARI DAMACY!!!!!!

Following on from We Katamari, there has been a terrible accident in which the King Of All The Cosmos suffered a head injury and lost his memory. Total amnesia. The Prince and all the cousins then build RoboKing to help out but RoboKing is a bit of a klutz and before you know it we’ve lost all the stars. Again. It’s down to you to get rolling and create lots of stars to sort things out before the King does something awful to RoboKing (minus lube, apparently), and to bring back the King’s memories while you’re at it.

Thus there are two main arenas in this version of Katamari. In the RoboKing’s realm are the new games, while in the King’s realm are old levels from the last game, tastefully decked out in black and white to represent forgotten memory until you bring them back to life and colour by rolling them up into your katamari.

What can I say? It’s Katamari. Fundamentally, all Katamari consists of starting small and getting big. As big as possible. No, bigger than that. Call that a katamari? It’s a bit of a thin katamari. We’re disappointed. But there it is. You do know the whole point of katamari is to roll big, don’t you? We did explain that, I’m sure we did.

No updated graphics here, oh no. It’s still the quirky, pastel-shaded realm where everything looks sort of baby-ish and sweet until you realise that all the people trapped in your katamari are screaming in pain and fear and you ask yourself how come the bloodless, apparently painless scrapping of MUA2 gets a PG but this blatant horror is considered suitable for three year-olds. It’s not like they welcome your advance with open arms. People and animals alike flee in terror more convincingly than they flee from Godzilla, FFS. I mean, wouldn’t you? If a 10m wide ball of accumulated stuff that once made up the scenery in your neighbourhood came barrelling towards you down the street, wouldn’t you run screaming? You are, fundamentally, rolling up property and living organisms, which are then turned by your mentally unstable, despotic leader into giant fiery balls of nuclear processing using some sort of matter-transforming superpower. It’s not like the people can expect anything but a terrible, suffocating, agonising death.

And they think this is suitable for three year-olds. Right.

The two new things are the Prince Jump, in which you can cause the katamari to leap in the air by using the Six Axis controller’s motion sensor (or pressing R2, which is much easier); and the heart points, which cause your katamari to suck in everything it is capable of picking up. Thus the games can be quite tactical, in that you have to decide whether to go for the heart early, or wait until you’re a lot bigger and can suck in more things. There is also an option to take photos from the Look screens, although I keep forgetting I have the option of an aerial view to look for more things to roll up so I haven’t taken any photos yet.

New levels open up upon completion of previous ones, and you have to complete levels in both realms to open up all of them. You can’t work your way through the RoboKing levels without opening up the King levels and vice versa. Yes, the Cow Bear level is one of those that you have to complete. Grrr. Gnash. Gah. And the campfire one.

Initially somewhat disappointing, the game gets a lot more fun upon completion, when you gain access to the mini games and can then go through the levels again opening up the other modes of play: Eternal (no time limit), Drive (double speed katamari); and Classic (exactly what it sounds like). The music isn’t as good as the previous games, despite consisting largely of remixes of the old favourites.

Overall it is worth a punt, especially if you are already a fan. If you are not already a Katamari fan I’d suggest getting a copy of the previous game instead, because the dialogue is a lot more quirky and you’ll miss out on all the in-jokes in this one, if it were not for the case that it’s become collectible and costs almost as much as this one. The game is definitely worth the current price tag if you already know you can lose yourself to the joys of rolling up screaming people and rabbits, cats, dogs, mice, juggling monkeys, giant octopus, fairies, sumo wrestlers, buildings, trees, flying whales, pizzas, sushi, cars, vans, helicopters, parascenders, Easter Island heads, UFOs, clouds, tropical storms, continental plates and god.

Otherwise, wait until the price drops a bit or find a friend who already has a copy. Just don’t expect to be allowed to borrow it.

Naaaaaa na na na na na na na, katamari damacy…

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