Review by jeffx
The top Action/Puzzle pick of 2004!
Are you ready for the PS2's quirkiest, zaniest offering of 2004? Then RRRRRRoll up your sleeves and buckle up, cause it's gonna be a bumpy ride! Katamari Damacy is nothing less than a gift from above. It's rare for developers to come up with such crazy games, it's even more rare to see Sony Of America allow them to release in America-land.
Let me try to explain the basis of the game, if you haven't heard already. You are the very short prince of the cosmos. You have to clean up after the king of the cosmos who made a big booboo by destroying all the stars in the universe, by rolling up a bunch of stuff together! Insanity, I know. You roll around a big ball called a Katamari, that sorta acts like a magnet to all things smaller than you. You start collecting Caramels, Thumbtacks and eventually move on to Buckets, Dogs, People and Buildings! Yessiree, you can cause some major chaos. The bigger your Katamari, the better. Usually the challenge is determined by a timer, or a secondary objective (collect the biggest of X).
The story/gameplay is enough to pique anyone's curiosity, what about the graphics? They are done in a cel/flat-shaded kinda way, which works to the game's advantage. It looks childish in a way, but it's what they were trying to accomplish. Colorful, vibrant tones were used throughout. The intro and cutscenes are among the funniest I've ever seen! This game has a HUGE sense of humor, and its graphics do a fine job of conveying that. There are some camera issues where your prince sometimes gets stuck behind a wall and it's hard to get him out, but nothing outrageous, it could have been much worse.
Audio-wise, this game surprises just as much as it does in the other categories. Jumpy, poppy tunes bring even more joy and color to the gameplay experience. We're talking J-Pop, Blues, Jazz, maybe even a rockier tune, I can't remember. In a way, they all ROCK, anyway. I particularly like the fact that they kept the tunes intact of all the things they could have "Americanized", because you have people singing in Japanese and that makes for a unique experience, one that I don't think we got to experience so far on these shores. These tunes will be infectious and I can guarantee you'll be humming them everywhere you go for the couple of weeks after you get this game. The only criticism I have is that the "alarm" sound the game makes to warn you of something is extremely irritant.
Another strong selling point for Katamari Damacy is that it's wholesome fun for the WHOLE family. This isn't a game that will appeal to a single generation, but to all of them and regardless of gender. Plus, it's being marketed at a relatively low price, so you really have no excuse not to get this game. Replayability is extremely high, but the actual game itself can be beat in a matter of 4 to 5 hours. Trust me however, you'll want to come back again and again.
A sequel is already in the works and judging from the screenshots, we're in for another wild ride. I'm confident the next one will feature more of everything! The first one got rave reviews and decent sales (or so I suppose) so I'm sure Namco will want to bring Katamari Damacy 2 over to the USA when the time comes!
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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