“The rolling, sticking, never-stopping, ever-swelling clump of stuff that makes a star out of everyone and everything.” This is the description for a game that offers more quirk, audio diversity, and insane gameplay than any other big-budget game released this year.
Katamari Damacy is a game that defies word, it’s summarization, in it’s true essence, would sound like a philosophy session with a bunch of LSD burnouts. So, in a wholehearted attempt to summarize this game, I ask you to bear with me. You are The Prince, a large headed, small framed son of The King Of All Cosmos, who is pretty much taking up the reigns as “God” in this game. While on one of his many zany escapades, The King accidentally knocks all of the stars out of the sky, and it is now your job to put them back into the sky.
Well, the name Katamari Damacy, literally translated, means “Giant Ball Of Crap/Garbage. Your Katamari (the ball), is in essence a giant ball of glue that enraptures anything that is relative to it’s size. As you progress, you will be able to roll up larger and larger things, until you meet the level goal. This will not be an easy task to accomplish, as you will have to navigate your Katamari around the larger objects that will easily knock the objects you had already rolled up out of your collection. When you have reached the specified mass or number of objects needed, The King will send your Katamari into the sky to become a star.
The premise sounds simple, and indeed, it truly is.
The game first starts you off with a tutorial on how to control your Katamari, and gives you as much time as you need to come to grips with it. This also marks one of the few games that the Dual Shock is needed, Ape Escape being the first. You will not be utilizing any buttons (in game) besides the R1 and Analog Sticks, making the experience very fluid when you are used to the controls. I found myself very comfortable with the controls around my 3rd mission in, but this experience will be relative for those who have been using Dual Shock since it was first released. It may be difficult for some players to control since you will be using both sticks, making it twice as hard for the D-pad loyalists.
The overall graphical presentation is a bit low of sorts, as a majority of the characters and objects are made of the basic building blocks to amass a coherent person or object. Yet, some smaller objects have a great deal of detail to them, so the game balances itself out in a very odd way. The entire game takes place in a single level, which many players will not even realize until later in the game. It is very impressive (graphically), how the game maintains the same level of quality the farther and farther the camera pulls away to facilitate the collection of larger objects. The world itself is one to be reckoned with, you will have a permanent confused look on your face as you encounter the many different environments the game presents to you. There are cows and bulls on the beach, giant old men flying in the sky in their underwear, and kids with hair that extends 7 feet horizontally from their heads. If you haven’t caught my drift by now, the game is beyond and definition of reality.
What is real, though, is the collection of objects that you will be able to roll up in your adventures. The game features an impressive amount of objects that the game actually keeps track of as you collect them, available for you to access at any time. What even tops this, is the hilarious commentary that is given for some of the objects, as they are defined by The King, so it’s somewhat of a intelligent, yet ignorant inference. The King will also bestow you “Royal Gifts”, that you will have to roll up yourself during your travels. These gifts are actually pieces that you can give to The Prince to wear while playing and in the “menu map”. These gifts include: a crown, guitar, headphones, ect. Personally, I enjoyed having the white acoustic guitar slung behind The Prince’s back, but this little gimmick makes the game feel unique to all who play it, thus encompassing a truly unique experience.
The game also features a two player mode, which is complimented by your eventual progress through the game. As you complete levels, there will be a new “cousin” that will visit onto the Mushroom Planet. With this, the second player can choose a cousin to engage the first player in a battle to create the biggest Katamari in a specified amount of time. The main problem with this mode is that it takes place in rather small arenas, so it technically defeats the scope that the single-player game gives you, and thus makes it less enjoyable.
As mentioned beforehand, Katamari Damacy contains some of the catchiest tunes since the likes of Jet Grind Radio. Each level is assigned its own special track, and you will not hear a repeat until the track list is exhausted, or you revisit the very same level. The soundtrack contains catchy dance/synth tunes, upbeat lounge music that sounds just like Tony Bennett, and the opening theme itself, which is one of the best opening themes in years. In addition to this, the soundtrack contains tracks that I couldn’t even give you a genre of music they fall into, but they are great nonetheless.
One final word of warning, the game is easily beaten in a solid 8-10 hours, but the game offers about double that in it’s replayability, So if you are up to the challenge of collecting everything, finding all the royal presents, making the biggest Katamari possible, getting all of the shooting stars, and receiving 100% on all of your constellations, then you will be up for almost triple game time.
If you were a fan of Incredible Crisis, Jumping Flash, or any other quirky game with great gameplay, than Katamari Damacy is definitely right up your alley. Even if you aren’t into quirky games, I suggest that anyone that has a PS2 and some extra time should pick this up and give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
Did I mention it’s only 20$?
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Published on: 2005-01-11 (7314 reads)[ Go Back ]