Review by xxchadxx

Reviewed: 03/30/05

Takes some getting used to, but quite a fun game

Summary:
Katamari Damacy is a very quirky game featuring some very original game play. In it, you must roll around a ball and attach various items to it, such as paper clips, erasers, and (once you get large enough) people, cars, and even buildings. While this game certainly is not for everyone, it has a special charm to it that makes it incredibly enjoyable.

Graphics:
At first glance, it would appear that the graphics are quite simplistic. While they certainly aren’t as detailed and rich as some other games, the variety of objects that exist in the different stages is incredible. There are so many different things to pick up, and all of them look different. Also, as you get larger and larger, the sizes of the objects change quite appropriately, with smaller objects becoming harder to see. There is also never any fogging and never any slowdown. The people and animals are a bit blocky, but that goes along well with the overall graphical style.
Rating: B+

Music:
This is one of the areas where the game really shines. The main theme of the game is so catchy, that it is hard not to hum it for hours after playing. You’ll find that theme sprinkled throughout the game, in addition to many other songs. Some of the songs are a little strange, but they mesh well with the quirky style.
Rating: A

Sound:
I have mixed feelings about the sound. Every time you gather up a new item, it makes a distinct sound. Most of them are not too bad, but when you start to roll up humans and cars, the sounds of people screaming can start to get a little annoying. Also, the sound that the King of All Cosmos makes when he talks (which sounds like a record scratching) would’ve been better left out of the game.
Rating: B-

Story:
There are actually two stories in this game. The main story about the King of All Cosmos and his son (you) is rather hilarious and appropriately fits into the overall feel of the game. However there is a side story that also plays whenever you beat a stage about a family going to see the space shuttle take off. This story is odd, out of place, and very poorly scripted. These scenes probably should’ve been left out of the game, as they add little and are boring to watch.
Rating: B-

Controls:
The controls in this game are both a blessing and a curse. If you 100 people sit down and design the controls for this game, I’m not sure even one person would come up with the scheme they have used. You must use both control sticks to steer the ball around, and almost never use any of the buttons on the controller. This is certainly original, but takes a lot of getting used to. Once you are used to it, though, it works quite nicely and actually gives you greater control over the ball then just using one stick probably would.
Rating: B

Depth / Scope:
This game does so much with so little, it’s quite amazing. There are really only three “maps” in the game, but each map is used a number of different times. Each time, you start at a different size with a different size goal and time limit, and the items are always placed differently. In the end, it feels like the maps are a lot more varied then they really are. In addition, the game keeps a catalog of everything you’ve ever picked up, in case you want to pick up everything there is in the game. However the game play itself never really varies from the standard formula: roll around, pick up everything in sight, and try to get to a certain size goal. But it works surprisingly well.
Rating: A

Overall Game Play:
The game play is so unique and original that it becomes very hard to put this game down. There is just something about the overall package that is quite refreshing to see. In addition, the length and pacing is just about right. Once you are starting to get tired of a map, the game sends a new map your way. The difficulty level ramps up quite nicely, too. Things never get quite so hard that you get frustrated, but they’re also never easy enough where you can just breeze through a stage. The balance of the single player game is amazing. There is also a multi-player mode, however this mode is very small and not particularly fun. You only have one map to choose from and once one person gains a size advantage over the other it becomes very difficult to catch up. Since I wasn’t expecting a multi-player option, though, it is a nice touch and something to mess around with once or twice. Just don’t expect a very deep multi-player experience.
Rating: A

Replay:
There are lots of ways to replay the game. Once you have beaten the game, you can go back and try to meet even loftier goals that are set up on some of the stages. In addition, there are a lot of rare items to go back and try to find. However a few of the stages are more of a chore to play over again then anything else, and I didn’t find going back and replaying very fun. So while there are a lot of reasons to replay the game, you might not have a lot of motivation to do so. Also, as mentioned earlier, the multi-player game will not have you coming back to it over and over again. So even though the single player campaign is a blast the first time through, don’t expect to have this game parked in your PS2 for the next 6 months.
Rating: C+

Tilt:
Even though I’ve played games with better graphics and better controls (though not many with better music) there is something so strange and original about this game that makes it a delight to play. Some players will be turned off by the unique style, to be sure, but I think most people will find this game a great change of pace from most of today’s games.
Rating: 12 / 16

Score Calculation:
Each letter grade is translated into a point value. F gets a 0, D- gets a 1, up to A+, which gets a 12. These are totaled with the Tilt value to get a total score out of 100. The total is then divided by 10 and rounded to the nearest value (5 rounds up).

Total score: 9+11+7+7+8+11+11+6+12 = 82 / 100 = 8 / 10.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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