Review by chocobo_hero

"All Hail The Damacy: Gold wrapping, silver gift inside!"

Katamari Damacy is a game for the Playstation 2, a simplistic, whimsical adventure-puzzle game that has probably become just as famous in America as it is in Japan. From the thousands of anime I've watched, I've always thought that the Japanese sense of humor was quite odd; Katamari Damacy gives more emphasis to the term “crazy Asian”. What appears to be a cut and paste game is actually one with an enticing, addictive quality and non-stop action. If it were gum, it'd be the fruity kind that leaves a delightful aftertaste for you to enjoy hours later. If you haven't seen my first review, I created a system of analyzing video games---the ‘wrapping' and the ‘present'. Wrapping refers to what makes it look pretty while the present is the meat of the game itself. Let's take a look, shall we?

ROYAL RAINBOW!! (You'll get the joke when you play the game)

The Wrapping
-Looks-
The game is pretty easy on the eyes. There aren't cutting edge 3D-looks-like-you-could-slice-a-character-with-a-knife-on-the-TV-screen-and-make-it-bleed real but the blocky, multicolored characters and creatures fit the outlandish mood of the game itself. You don't have to make realistic images to make a good game---it has to match the setting and tone of the game. Katamari Damacy is a crazy game so the characters and settings look crazy. Strange but appropriate. My only beef is that despite having the ability to travel all over the world in the video game, all of the human inhabitants looked and sounded Japanese. I don't have anything against them--it's just that the likelihood of Japanese of Finland and Belgium being populated by thousands of Asian children and elderly people is next to none. The games full of color but not the ethnic kind! Shame, shame, Katamari Damacy!

As you go on your journeys as the main character, you can get gifts that you can equip onto him to wear. Unfortunately, the game designers got lazy and made it to where you can only put one thing on him at a time. I'm pretty sure

Sounds
The music is probably one of the most memorable elements about it. I'm willing to be my kidneys that every person who plays this game will find at least one song that's hum-worthy. “I want to roll you up into my life!” or the patented “Laaa la-la-la-lala-lalaaaaaa, Katamari Damacy!” is definitely a toe-tapper. And there's different varieties---we got a lil' rock, some pop, some jazz music---there's virtually something for everyone. You won't be disappointed by the sounds.

On the topic of voices, the main characters don't actually speak but his victims do. As you roll around your katamari (See The Gift: Feel), you will hear the screams of children, giraffes, bears, substitute teachers (“Detention! Detention for you!”), boats, and much more. Each sound sounds like what it's supposed to sound like and keeps the game even more interesting. I found myself charging after certain animals or people because of their patented noises.

The Gift

Feel

The plot! The King of All Cosmos, the big dude in control of the…cosmos, accidentally destroys all of the stars in the sky, including the moon. Like all kings in their days, he sits on his duff and orders the Prince of All Cosmos, a lil' green guy w/ purple pants and a tiny crown, to create stars. How does he do that? He goes to Earth with a bumpy ball called a katamari, and rolls up random things on Earth to be used to make new stars. Paper clips, cats, socks, elephants, salami, grass, pots---you name it. You start from the confinements of a kitchen and expand your horizons with each task, eventually being capable of rolling up buildings and blimps. You go about creating constellations as well. Each level is in a different part of the world and you have to roll up a certain size katamari within a certain amount of time. It's a bit harder than it sounds---once you get enough experience, you learn what to roll and what not to roll up. Some items may make rolling hard while others help add significant bulk to your pre-star creation. I won't go into detail so as not to completely spoil it but I would like to think the concept of bowling over puppies, cars, and schoolgirls would be more than enough to make you want to get up and play the game.

The characters are fun! In the multiplayer mode, you get to pick different versions of the Prince---his cousins. There's no heavy RPG story w/ back stories of each character but in this type of game, I feel that is OK. I found the Prince enjoyable and humorous but the King is the one who really stole the show. This game is outright bizarre and the King's random comments on God-knows-what and his typical monarchal approach to getting things done (i.e. making the Prince do his dirty work for him) is pretty amusing. When you complete several levels, there's a little side story about a mother, and her two kids visiting her husband, an astronaut. On their journey, the two children take note of the weird happenings in the town (I won't go too much into it, lest I spoil everything). For games like these, I feel character development wasn't really necessary---as long as they're fun to be around, it's all good. And trust me, it's all good.

The controls are pretty easy. You move around by moving both of the joysticks on the PS2 control---two buttons that are rarely used. You move left to right by moving both joysticks (aka the L3 and R3 buttons) in the same direction; you turn around to look around by pushing the joysticks in opposite directions. You can move them back and forth to perform a spin dash, which gets you moving in a straight line pretty quick and you can make the little Prince hop over the katamari and shift directions by pressing down on both joysticks. Simple controls=fun game play; even amateur gamers will play with ease once you use the tutorial or play some games a few times---I'll admit, it took me a while to get into the groove but pretty soon you'll get the hang of it.

This game has massive replayability (did I just make up a word?) It's simplistic, endearing, and strangely addictive game play can be repeated for whatever level you wish? Didn't so hot in your first roll in Buenos Aires? Feel free to try again, and again, and again until you get it! If you get enough, or complete a level in record time (actually, I forget exactly what you have to do) you can get a special feature where you can listen to all of the background music for the game! There's a lot to play for!

Overall, I highly suggest that you buy this game. For $20, it's something to play when you aren't in the mood for an orgy of violence and fowl language and if you want to laugh at something light-hearted and silly. You really can't beat it! Add Katamari Damacy to your video game collections and members of the opposite sex will flock at your doorsteps and the skies will rain waffles! Quirky, unique game play with a silver lining wrapped in solid gold paper! I give it a straight up 9/10!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/13/06


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