Review by dotsdfe

Reviewed: 04/04/05

A game that just about every PS2 owner should own.

Introduction - This is an excellent title from Namco, the company who has made games from Pac-Man to more recent releases such as Baten Kaitos and Tales of Symphonia. Their games have most always been quite good, and this is definitely no exception.

This is quite possibly the best PS2 game yet. It’s unique use of the analogue sticks and the interesting premise for this game make it a clear winner.

Gameplay - The point of the game is to roll up as many items as possible on a special gravity ball called a Katamari in order to make stars(more on that in the Story section).

However, this is not as simple as it sounds. There are several objects that are bigger than your little Katamari. You cannot pick these large objects until you get bigger. You get bigger by picking up smaller objects. You can start a level picking up such things as fruits and other tiny things. Before long, you’ll be picking up very large objects.

In some levels, you’ll even get to pick up the very places that you started out on. Unfortunately, these instances don’t happen very often.

The controls are good, though they take a while to get used to. You move both analogue sticks in the same direction in order to move your Katamari. You can also spin them both to do a charge-roll, and press them both in to reverse the direction that your Katamari is facing. After the first few levels, you should get a good feel of the controls, so they won’t really hold you back much.

This game isn’t really too hard, unless you have some issues with controls. I didn’t really have trouble, but, several people have. Whether you have trouble with the controls or not, this game isn’t extremely challenging.

Story - The story of this game isn’t really all that in-depth, though it’s good considering the lack of real depth.

One day, the King of All Cosmos is flying around(for some unexplained reason), and accidentally knocks all of the stars out of the sky. The King decides that Earth would be the best place to collect enough things to make new stars and constellations. He chooses to send his son, the prince, to Earth with a gravity ball (which, as mentioned before, is called a Katamari), to pick up enough items on Earth to make the new stars.

There is also a side story, animated in between levels. It involves the story of two kids who hear that the stars have vanished from the sky. Their mother does not believe their story at all, as the kids try to convince her throughout the story.

After every normal level, there is a story-related cutscene about the family and their continuing adventure. After the constellation levels, you see the little girl(from the family), who talks a bit about the constellation coming back.

Overall, the game has a decent story, that does well, even though there really isn’t much depth. However, this isn’t an RPG, so you can’t really expect that anyway…

Graphics - This game’s graphics are, like the game, very unique, and very, very neat.

In the cutscenes, graphics have a strange, almost lego-like look. Now, I’m not saying that they have the actual look of real legos or anything, but, they look like blocks, with a similar style as legos.

The graphics while playing also look kind of like legos, only more detailed and a bit smoother. There are several types of humans and animals to pick up, all of which have very nice looks to them.

Just to name a few of the human-type characters, there are Sumo Wrestlers, Swimmers, Shopping Women, School Girls, and many more. The variety of animals is also quite good, ranging from Birds, to Whales, to Penguins.

If you are thinking of buying this game, expect a large amount of items to pick up, and good, unique graphics to do with them.

Sound - This game features a large amount of great songs on the soundtrack, all of which are Japanese. Personally, I love the songs in the game. They are quite catchy and fit the fun mood of the game. However, there are quite a few people who do not like them, but, if cheerful Japanese songs are your thing, you’ll really enjoy the soundtrack in this game.

Play Time - Ok, this game does have one downfall - it is very short. With only about 9 normal levels, and only a few constellations, you could probably beat this game in a few hours.

However, though I mentioned earlier that the game wasn’t too hard, there are a few challenges. And, since the levels are fairly long, failing them and having to redo them can add quite a bit of extra play time. Failing some of the later levels that take twenty to thirty minutes to play can mean doing them over, making them last a whopping total of forty minutes to an hour for ONE LEVEL. The only thing about that is, if you never fail, the game is still pretty short.

Replayability - Where the game falls short in play time, it is made up in replayability. It is very easy to find yourself playing a level several times over and over. There are things to unlock, such as Royal Presents, Comets, and ‘Eternal’ Stages(Lets you play certain stages with no time limit).

Also, just playing stages over and over to get good scores is a ton of fun. Try to find some friends who have this game as well to compare score with, and you’ve found yourself a game that you’ll be playing for several months.

There is also a multiplayer mode in this game. It really isn’t anything too great, since there is only one fairly small map to play on. Even though competing head-to-head can be a lot of fun, more maps would have been greatly appreciated.

Final Verdict - This game is pretty hard to fund, but, if you find it, I highly recommend that you buy it. And since it is very cheap, there is really no reason to pass this game up if you are looking for a great game at a reasonable price.

Scores:
Gameplay - 9/10
Story - 8/10
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 10/10
Play Time - 5/10
Replayability - 10/10

Final Score - 10/10

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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