Review by Neo987

Reviewed: 01/21/05

Bad acid trip? Good mushroom trip? Good game!

First time I heard about this game was on a random Toonami game review. Considering there reviews are hardly trustworthy, I didn't believe their 8/10 and simply forgot about the game. Then, a week later, I walk in on my friend and current roommate, on my PS2, playing Katamari Damacy... and I'm hooked. I never expected rolling an ever-expanding a ball of junk could be so fun.

Controls: 6/10
Very cumbersome, requiring a bit of patience to get used to, and even after that, very difficult to rely on. Both sticks are used to move, and I don't mean one for movement and one for turning. Both sticks up make you go forward, while one up and one down makes you turn quickly, etc. Buttons are rarely used, and the commands assigned to them aren't even necessary to actually play the game.

Gameplay: 9/10
How can you go wrong when all you have to do is roll stuff in to an ever-enlarging ball? That's the whole point of the game: making a large katamari. As your katamari grows, larger objects can be added to its mass until you're rolling up people, cars, houses, superheroes, and eventually entire islands. At the same time, as you get larger smaller objects become too small for you to grab and eventually disappear all together (saving frame rate). One problem, though, is that if you get completely stuck in some of the game geometry and you stay there too long, the game will shave you down until you can roll free. This isn't too big of a problem as these objects will be lying nearby in most cases and can easily be added to your mass once again. If objects fall out of the game world, they respawn in their original spot within seconds. There’s no real “game over” to this game. If you fail to meet an objective you get reprimanded by the King (it almost feels like being reprimanded by Mr. Resetti in Animal Crossing) and you go back to the stage selection. No reload, no loss of unsaved work. Only loss is the failed katamari and any royal present rolled in to it (which can be retrieved with another successful katamari).

Story: 10/10
Being a puzzler, this game doesn't really need a story, but to give you actions a point, a simple story was set. Your father, the King of All Cosmos, being drunk one night and flying through the heavens, accidentally destroyed all of the stars in the sky (and liked it, but that's another story). Your job, as the Dashing Prince, is to go to earth and roll up stuff into katamari, which are used to recreate the stars, constellations, and the moon. How much simpler can you get?

Graphics: 9/10
The graphics in this game are wonderful. Many say the game looks dated, considering that many objects are angular, particularly creatures and people. But if you look at the small cutscenes, it makes sense that they look thusly. Namco was following a theme, and the dated graphics fit that theme perfectly. The only reason I didn't give graphics a 10 is because, at certain points, the world and object geometry can completely obscure the camera, then clip away, leaving rough edges until you, or the offending object, move.

Music: 10/10
The eclectic soundtrack has many factors going for it. It's easy on the ears, it's highly addictive, and it somehow fits the already wacky game world. Many of the themes sound similar, though in reality there are only 2-3 songs on the soundtrack that are indeed the same (albeit extended).

Multiplayer: 10/10
Compete against your friend to make the biggest katamari. Even better, add your friend to your katamari! Simple multiplayer system that's a good distraction with a low learning curve, meaning you'll be coming back with new friends and family, and they'll have an easy time playing.

Replay Value: 10/10
Infinite time modes, minor character "outfits" like scarves and hats, additional "cousins" which you play as in multiplayer, are waiting to be collected or unlocked. Rare objects are waiting to be added to your collection of rolled-up things. And there's always the draw you get each of your stars that much larger, or to meet the goals that much quicker. You'll return to this game many times.

Overall: 9/10

Buy or Rent: Buy
Good fun for the entire family, all ages, and worth the cost.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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