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Katamari Damacy


  10:50:03 am, by Nimble   , 742 words  
Categories: Reviews, Games

Katamari Damacy

Link: http://www.namco.com/games/katamari_damacy/

A lot of people I know have encountered this before (to which I have to say, why didn't you tell me about it?), but our good friends Ennien and Robin showed this to us during one of our visits.

They gave us a pre-wedding gift of a Playstation along with this quirky, quirky game. It was mighty fine for stress relief. In the history of unique games, I would place this one right up there with Dungeon Keeper (where you get to be the bad guy defending your treasure against heroes) or Nomads (battling out between flying islands).

This game is weird, weird, weird, and I love it!

The game mechanics are pretty simple, but utterly strange. You are the little tiny prince and have a giant... errrr, dog toy? It's sticky, and you can roll over items smaller than it and pick them up. So, to start with, you can roll over and pick up dice, push pins, caramels. The more you pick up, the larger your katamari ("clump" in Japanese) gets, and the larger items you can pick up. You can start picking up batteries and mah-jong tiles and erasers.

At certain sizes (it's all in metric, by the way), such as 10 cm, your little prince grows, and everything in the world looks a little smaller. You keep rolling things up until you get to the size required, and you have to do it under the time limit, which can be frustrating in some spots. You are given the remainder of the time to make your katamari even bigger.

The major challenge is steering. This game has a very strange but good physics engine where if you pick up oddly-shaped items, it can make your clump hobble along realistically... if anything is really realistic in this game. If you hit walls or something big hard or get run into by something bigger than you, things that you rolled up will bust out.

Another major challenge is just finding a sequence of items that you can roll up. You can't roll up sunflowers until your katamari is 1.2 meters tall, for example, so getting to a patch of sunflowers when you're only 1 meter tall is pointless.

It's dang funny the things you can roll up when you get big enough. Except for the fact that there is a time limit, it seems that literally nothing is sacrosanct. Things that wobble when you hit them means that you might be getting close to the size. Some things that are slightly larger than you can immediately roll up can be "bonked" off their feet, and you can roll them up while they struggle to right themselves (mostly people).

Your father, the King of All Cosmos, is an ass. He really, really is. Broke all the stars when he was driving around drunk. You're rolling up these katamaris to help replace some of the stars, and in some cases, constellations.

The English translations are utterly horrible, but absolutely perfect for the mood of this game. It would lose a good third of its charm with a proper English translation. If you play it, you will know why :)

Each successive Make a Star level has you starting from a slightly bigger point, but with a much bigger goal.

I loved the Make the Moon level (basically the last level). Near the end, I was able to roll up clouds, gods, tornados, entire islands. Sweeeet.

The soundtrack is addictive... as in you can't get it out of your head... and bizarre in and of itself.

It's strange, I managed to complete the game in a week and a bit... but I didn't complete it "well". You can go back and try to improve on the previous levels that you did. For example, in Make a Star 4, it's hard to reach the 1 meter goal, but apparently, if you make it to 1 meter 30 cm, you get to play an "eternal" level, where you can roll up things without time limit, which would be cool :)

I also sucked wind on the Make Ursa Major level. You have to roll up a bear, just one bear. The first bear you roll up ends the level. So you can be rolling around, and if you accidentally roll up a darned teddy bear, that's it. Urrrgh!

I hear there's a sequel out now. I think that might be worth a look.

Highly, highly worth it both for the fun and the quirk factor :)

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