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When a game so insane and original comes along, how can anybody not buy it?
This crazy game involves you, the prince of the cosmos, helping the king of the cosmos please his devoted fans. To do this, you walk around the 2D/3D area and walk to a person, they will tell you what they want. Such as they want you to clean up their kids room.
You can choose to accept their mission and off you go to a loading screen. The game then starts with you, with a ball, or a katamari, in front of you. you then have to push this ball around the game world, to do this you push both analog sticks. Like each one is your hand. So to go forward you push both, but if you want to turn left, you push forward on the right analog stick but not the left. It sounds complicated but you will pick it up quick.
You then roll the ball around, and anything smaller than it will stick to you, so the ball gradually gets bigger and bigger. Eventually on some levels, you can get so big you are picking up entire countries! It gets pretty crazy!
The graphics are simple and blocky, but it seems to fit well with the game. The multiplayer aspect is also very good and it great fun when you get so much bigger than your friend you can pick them up youself!
We Love Katamari - Brought from eBay (£15ish)
We Love Katamari is the sequel to the much loved Katamari Damacy. And what a sequel it is.
The game begins with the prince in the meadows and you are immediately pounced on by fans who want you to help them out. I think the first one is helping someone tidy their bedroom but they build up to a greater scale.
What is a Katamari i hear you ask? Well a Katamari is essentially a sticky ball. You start your quest with a ball and you use the PS2 joystick to roll around your area picking up objects that are smaller than your ball (they stick to your ball) Once you collect enough you get bigger and bigger and eventually end up picking up all sorts of things.
The levels normally work on a time or size constraint. You normally have to get your katamari to a certain size (i.e 1000m diameter) or get it as big as you can within 5minutes or so.
It sounds insane, and yes it is! But its brilliant it requires very little logic and the graphics and music are so incredibly catchy. I quite often go around singing the Katamari Damacy theme tune. You can also choose what music you listen to from the wide range of tracks.
Apart from building massive Katamaris you are also trying to please the King and the Cosmos. As the game progresses you get to roll up people and buildings and trains and cars etc. Great Fun!
The best level is when you get to roll up the world, you start quite small in a city, rolling up skyscrapers etc and before you know it you are rolling up Europe and the clouds and the sky.Infact i have almost, almost rolled up the King! Alas not yet!
You can replay each level an infinite number of times. It never gets boring as although the landscape is the same you never roll in quite the same way It is always entertaining.
Such a simple idea yet such a fantastic and addictive game!
In the present-day age of gaming in which corporate conglomerates such as Electronic Arts have all but guaranteed that the only way today's games can truly fly off the shelves is by developers sticking to what they know will sell, last year's Katamari Damacy came out and proved that innovation and uniqueness can still exist despite seemingly becoming a lost art at a rapid rate. The ball-rolling puzzle sim took the gaming world by storm with its hilarious nature, funny characters, and unique design.
And now, we're treated to Katamari Damacy's wonderful sequel. In the last Katamari Damacy, the King of All Cosmos became an icon for his work in returning the stars to the sky. But something still seemed missing...
When We <3 Katamari first begins, Prince is in the middle of a pristine meadow on Earth. Everyone notices who Prince is, and they immediately begin hounding Prince to do favors for them. Be it lighting campfires, cleaning up kid's rooms or rounding up origami paper cranes, Prince happily agrees to help them all out. The people on Earth all want to meet the King of All Cosmos, and despite the King turning down nearly every favor when Prince first approaches him, it takes but one good mention from a fan to change the King's mind.
Naturally, Prince does all of these favors by rolling katamaris. Katamaris are little balls that Prince rolls around in each level, and if he rolls over something smaller than the katamari, the item will get stuck to the katamari. As the katamari grows bigger, so will the items that Prince is able to pick up.
It's a simple formula, but it happens to work. The gaming community appreciates random insanity more than virtually everyone else, and when you have a game with levels that begin with you only being able to pick up banana peels and end with you being able to pick up virtually everything in the world, you're left with a hilarious gaming experience that every gamer out there needs to feel at least once.
We <3 Katamari goes a bit deeper than its elder brother in terms of level design and variety -- a lot deeper. In the first Katamari Damacy, you simply rolled katamaris as large as you could, as fast as you could, in every single level. We <3 Katamari does far more than this. You will get to roll a fireball, a snowball, and even a sumo wrestler. You will roll up fireflies, paper cranes, and even countries. And in what is easily the best level of the game, you will get to roll a katamari that can easily clear 3000m in diameter. To put this in perspective, the biggest possible katamari in the original title could not clear 1000m. Those fans waiting in the meadow to hound you will add a lot of replay value to the game, because even after you clear a level the fans will bug you to go over and replay it. And you're not one to turn down a fan, are you?
After you beat the game, which should take no more than a few fast hours, you'll unlock the Katamari Memorial in which you can listen to every song or watch any scene in the game, including all of the scenes from the original Katamari Damacy lumped together in one movie. This is one feature that the original sorely needed, and it being in We <3 Katamari shows that the game's designers listen to the desires of their fans -- Much like what Prince does in the game, incidentally enough.
Best of all may be that even after the game ends, nothing is truly over. There is item hunting to be done, secret levels to unlock, and perfect scores to tally in virtually every level of the game. The physics of the game are also much better than they were the first time around. In the first game if you were stuck between two places, things would fly off your katamari like mad. In We <3 Katamari, this was fixed. It's also much more difficult to crash or to be thrown around while small, and it's easier to climb up to higher places without fear of losing the things you've rolled up. We <3 Katamari does what few sequels are able to do: leave the original formula in tact but fix the flaws. Most sequels these days try to be entirely different games, but Namco realizes that they have a true gem on their hands and didn't want to screw it up.
Graphically, We <3 Katamari comes a long way from what was in the original. The polygons are more detailed, are animated a little better, and the scenery and atmosphere are superb. This game also has more levels than the original, which I loved the idea of recycling level designs all through the game. And the music, while not quite up to the precedent set by Katamari Damacy, is still absolutely wonderful and gets the job done. Katamari Damacy itself simply had a soundtrack that set the bar too high.
We <3 Katamari is a game that retains everything that was good about the original title in the series, and nearly perfects everything that was missing. Add in infinite replay value and great level design, and you arguably have the gold standard for how every sequel should look.
Video games have now been going for a few decades and are starting to acquire a sort of uneasy credibility as a storytelling medium, a bit like comics (sorry, GRAPHIC NOVELS). And there's always been a lot of concern over their violence and the possibility that they'll put kids off reading, a bit like comics (sorry, GRAPHIC NOVELS).
While the level of violence in games doesn't concern me in the slightest, We Love Katamari is a breath of fresh air in a couple of respects. Instead of carjacking, prostitute-burning or alien slaying, the object of the game is to roll up the whole world into some kind of New Age lovebundle.
More importantly, it's such a simple concept. As computers have become more and more advanced, game designers all seem to have raced down the blind alley of 'realism'. I play computer games with breathtakingly realistic graphics and massively detailed animations - but with so many controls you really need at least three hands to play.
We Love Katamari is a sequel to Katamari Damacy - a game I understand is very hard to come by in the UK. The King wants to please all the 'fans' of the first game by letting them set missions for his son, Prince. These all consist of rolling round a dinky little ball, rolling up small objects like paper clips and pencils before moving up to people, cars and eventually even planets.
The graphics are unashamedly cute and cartoonish, from the sweet form of Prince, a little green chap who looks continually flustered, to the chubby little people and sea monsters and squirrels and things.
The controls are a joy. Using the standard Playstation 2 controller, you push both sticks forward and back to roll the ball, and push one of them to turn in that direction. The 'turbo charge' is a little fiddly but other than that, it really is that simple. My Mum can play it! And so can younger children.
The only thing that could possible let the game down is the music. Bright breezy Japanese pop swirls through as a soundtrack to every level. Snatches of the lyrics are in English, and it's all just utterly nutty. It's perfect for the game, but likely to drive anyone else in the room completely insane within minutes.
But beyond the simple controls and the idiosyncratic music, the final stroke of genius is the 'quirky' comedy that seems to infuse the whole thing. Right from the intro, where the King is described as being a great and perfect ruler - "Apart from the time he blew up all the stars in the universe. No big deal." - there's a very relaxed attitude to reality.
Every level will begin when Prince talks to one of the fans who has a task: roll up animals at a zoo to keep a little cat company, roll up origami cranes as a get well present for a sick child, roll a really big Katamari to show a little bird how to grow, it's all very cute. Once he's accepted the task, Prince flies up to talk to the King, a magnificent bearded chap in leggings and shoulderpads. The King can never be bothered with the tasks until the fan sweettalks him, hence the line about red pandas turning chocolate in my title. Then he whisks you away to a little world where you can roll the Katamari ball.
The quirkiness continues during levels - the King will pop up when you roll up certain objects with a little joke. Those are actually really annoying as he takes up quite a large chunk of the middle of the screen in order to do so. You'll also see odd things like deer in the toilets at school, Godzilla wandering around harbours and ninjas strolling sideways along walls. Even after a few months of playing, these things raise a warm smile.
The best thing is the replay value though. Most of the missions are very easy to complete. But if you just scrape through and hit the minimum target, the debriefing from the King and the fan is often quite sarcastic. You're encouraged to beat your own records for every level, and the fans become more pleasant the better you do ("How do I feel? Kind of ripped off" is one of the more vicious comments you can get).
Non-violent, easy to master and ferociously addictive, We Love Katamari manages to be totally chilled out relaxing fun while still rolling up your soul into its soft-centred ball.