Sunday, February 07, 2010

Video game number thirty eight: Katamari Forever

Game review number thirty eight in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Katamari Forever".

Ah, my first PS3 game this year. As you can tell by my reviews so far, the Xbox 360 is my primary gaming console of choice, but I certainly don't plan for it to be the only platform I play games on this year. I have access to all of the 360 games thanks to my job, so that means if a game is available there, I'm going to play it there. I never play a port on the PS3 or the Wii. I like to keep the bulk of my gamerscore in one place. Still, I buy all the best exclusive ones for the PS3 and Wii, and I play them whenever there's a lull in good titles for the 360. The trouble is, for the last several months...there have been so many great games on the 360 that I haven't had time to dive into some must-plays on the other systems. As a result, I've got quite a few games stacked up I've been waiting to play for quite some time now. Granted, more of them are on the Wii than the PS3, but this is essentially true for both systems. It was nice to use the PS3 for something more than a Blu-Ray I don't think I've played a game on it since Little Big Planet.

Katamari Forever was a Christmas present from my friend John, and I knew I'd want to save it for this project. I love Katamari games, and had very high hopes for this one. It did not disappoint.

My Katamari Damacy fascination started on the Playstation 2. I enjoyed the first one I played and went back and bought all of the other games. I've bought it for the PSP, the 360 and just can't get enough of the gameplay. The Katamari games, Grand Theft Auto and Dance Dance Revolution were my number one games for Playstation 2 back in the that order.

This game has a lot of similar levels to Beautiful Katamari on the 360, but they're all cell shaded now, so they look a bit different. It's sort of like when one of my favorite classic games gets a facelift for Xbox Live Arcade. This game instantly felt familiar to me, but new at the same time. That's my favorite kind of sequel.

The music is fantastic, a lot of it is remixed from previous soundtracks. Katamari Damacy may be my favorite video game music of all time next to Mario Kart, and I've always meant to head down to the local Japanese Import shop Pink Godzilla (which has apparently changed its name to Pink Gorilla) to buy the soundtracks. Only thing that has stopped me is the price.

The game is simple enough. You are a little guy pushing a sticky ball, and your objective is to bump into things smaller than you are, collect them and get bigger. Some levels start you with a ball the size of an egg, and you'll roll up coins, sugar cubes and other tiny things until your size grows to the point that you can collect bigger stuff. Other levels start you with a ball the size of a human...and eventually, your ball becomes so big it can roll up houses, cities, continents and eventually planets. It's quite addicting.

The challenges from previous games are all there. Most the objectives are either size challenges or time challenges, where your only objective is to become as big as possible in the time allotted. There are also specific size challenges, where you have to roll a Katamari of a certain size, strictly by guessing. You are scored based on the size at the end of the round.

New for this game, there is a "watering" challenge, where you get your Katamari ball wet and then drive it over dirt to grow plants. It's different and it was actually the demo level I played at PAX last year. I enjoyed it, but scored a measly 54/100 on my first try.

The menu layout has also changed. There are two worlds you can play in now (King's world and Robo-King's world). They both feature similar gameplay, but it looks like this will mean many more playable stages than before. There is a Vs. Mode and several mini-games to play after you've died. New to this game are the cut-scene movies...which you can collect and re-watch. They are very non-sensical and I don't understand them, so I've been skipping by them.

I checked out the "trophies", which are the equivalent to achievements, and it looks like the goals are on par with the 360 game from a couple of years ago. I managed to unlock 100% of those, and I can see myself going for some of those goals here as well. I added a PS3 Trophy icon to my blog to the right of these posts, and I found that allows you to copy and paste trophies here...which is nice.

Overall, this game is a 9/10 for me. Katamari Forever is more of the stuff I love from the previous games, with enough new stuff added in that it feels fresh. I'm really enjoying this sequel so far, and re-playability is clearly going to be scored very high on this one.

Trophies: I played for 2 or 3 hours, and here's what I was able to unlock. I'll definitely be coming back to this one to play more, so hopefully this list will grow.


At 10:54 PM, Blogger Rach said...

This one sounds so fun! Is there a Katamari for XBox? The original one maybe?

At 11:52 PM, Blogger JoshEEE said...

There's a Katamari for the 360, but nothing for the original. The other versions are on PS2 and PSP.


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