Review by PSO CheZi

Reviewed: 09/28/04

Whoever thought rolling a ball around would be so much fun?

I love weird games. It's so much fun to have friends of yours look at your collection of games, pick out like 5 or so games, and give you a "What the hell is this?" look. I definitely got that look from my friends when I told them about Katamari Damacy. Hell, I even got that look from the Gamestop employee who sold it to me. Truth be told, it's a weird, off-the-wall game. I'd even go as far as to say that describing the game to someone just doesn't work. The true way to fairly judge this game is to actually play it. For this reason, I can't say for sure that this review I'm writing will be enough to convince someone to get the game. When a person tells you that the object of a game is to roll a ball around and pick stuff up, it doesn't exactly sound like the most appealing game in the world. However, in reality, this simplistic concept makes for an enthralling and entertaining game that's fun for pretty much anyone who's willing to give it a chance. This being said, I'm going to do the best I can in this review, and I hope you find it helpful.

STORY: The King of the Cosmos is a mighty, powerful, and also gigantic being. Of course, even mighty, powerful, and also gigantic beings can have mighty, powerful, and also gigantic problems. The King's problem (Besides neck problems due to a tremendously large head) is alcoholism. Now, when normal people are drunk, they may accidentally cause a little bit of property damage, but hopefully nothing huge. The good old King, however, caused more than his fair share of damage by destroying all the stars in the sky.

Geez, talk about a "What the hell did I do last night?" moment.

Anyway, old Kingy realized his error the next day and obviously knew that he had to fix the problem. So he sent his son, the miniscule Prince, to Earth with a special tool to alleviate the problem. The Prince's Katamari, a round and sticky object, has the ability to stick to things it rolls over. Using the Katamari, the Prince must collect many many things on Earth and make the Katamari grow so it can be thrown into the sky and replace the missing stars.

By now, it probably sounds like I've gotten into the King's liquor cabinet. But trust me, as weird as the storyline sounds, it's excellently done, and makes for an amazing game. The game's chock full of crazy humor, and it's such an enjoyable journey.

GRAPHICS: If you're looking for photo-realistic character models, rippling water effects, and beautifully detailed scenery, you may want to look into some other game. However, this does not, by ANY means, make KD's graphics bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. KD has very cartoony graphics, but cartoony in a way that looks very nice. Most of the objects look like what they're supposed to, and as one could tell from the cover of the box, everything is colorful and cheery. The graphics may not be the best ever, but Namco certainly succeeded in making a nice-looking game.

SOUND: Oh man...the music in this game absolutely ROCKS. With a weird game comes weird music, and like the game itself, it's a good kind of weird. From Japanese rapping to Sinatra-esque pieces, this game's music spreads across quite a few genres and does an excellent job with them. Hell, I've got the main theme stuck in my head. This game's music has had me searching the internet for an OST, and I rarely ever buy OSTs. The only other game that sent me on such a search for its soundtrack before KD was Skullmonkeys. When a game's music convinces me to try and spend extra money to hear it when I could just turn on the game to hear it, that's saying something to me. I can't think of a single unenjoyable track in this game.

CONTROLS: Easy, yet at the same time, difficult. All you use for this game is the two control sticks. As the back of the box says (Paraphrasing, since I'm at school and don't have access to the box), "No complicated button combinations." It's mostly true: Not a single button press is necessary, though there are controls that use the L and R triggers, but they're not a must for playing the game. The controls, however, can be a bit difficult to learn, but after playing for a while, you get mostly used to them (Even though I still sometimes turn the wrong way). Pushing both sticks in one direction simultaneously makes you roll the Katamari in that direction. Pushing one up and one down lets you make a sharp turn, while pushing one forward and one diagonal-forward makes to do a slight turn. Pressing both sticks in makes you jump over the Katamari and go in the other direction, and rapidly alternating between up and down on both lets you do a power dash. L1 and R1 give you different views of the area. Sometimes you'll find yourself slipping up and making a sharp left turn instead of right, but altogether, the controls aren't bad to work with once you get used to them.

GAMEPLAY: It's so unbelievably fun! On the surface, you're just rolling around a stage and picking stuff up. In the actual execution, it's exciting to see what you can pick up and to make your Katamari get bigger and bigger so it can pick more stuff up. It gets even better as you progress in levels and your Katamari goes from being a little ball picking up thumbtacks and game tiles to a tremendous mass of stickyness that tears buildings off their foundations as it rampages through a city. The multiplayer mode delivers the goods as well. In addition to grabbing as much stuff as you can, you can also get your opponent stuck to your Katamari if you're substantially bigger than them. The game is absolutely addictive as well. There have been plenty of times where I've neglected my game in Fable so I could play more KD. That's how addictive the game is.

OVERALL: Don't let the weird concept of this game coerce you into passing it up. This game, quite simply, is a masterpiece. A diamond disguised as a lump of coal. This game's already becoming rather hard to find, so if you want to get in on the action, you'd better start searching. Trust me, it's worth the search.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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