Although the first time I played a Katamari game was on a playstation, most of my time I’ve spent with these types of games has been in this one on the xbox 360. Let’s begin.Single Player:
This game has an interesting concept which must be explained before moving onto anything else. The premise of each level is for you, essentially a small person, to get on your ball and “roll up objects”. You do this by moving over objects smaller than yourself. For example, at the start of a level, you might be trying to collect thumb tacks, coins, or bouncy balls. As you collect items onto your sticky ball, you’ll grow, allowing you to pick up even larger items to grow at exponentially faster rates. The goal of each level is to get to a predetermined size within a certain time limit. Many of the levels also suggest that you go after a specific “group” of items (Rich items, Shiny items). At the end of your time limit you will get rated on how well you did rolling.
While this may sound absolutely ridiculous, it’s amazingly fun. There’s nothing better than picking up an elephant, a skyscraper, or even ice caps in the ocean as you increase your size. The game is absolutely absurd, which the creators know, as they put odd pickups into the game (Dinosaurs, sea monsters). As you grow in size you will be able to access different parts of each level, which keeps the gameplay interesting.
You can choose which character you want to be – a group of cousins – which helps individualize your gameplay experience. You can find more cousins scattered throughout the level, collected by rolling over them. You can choose any level to play based on a kind of free-roam environment which allows for easy level replay. Once you complete the game you unlock Time Attack mode which is more of a freeplay feel.
For more information on how the game “feels”, check out the intangibles section.Single Player Score: 9/10
There is an online multiplayer aspect to this game, which can be hit or miss for most people. For me it was a nice little addition, but something I didn’t really want to play more than five times. You compete against another person or persons as you attempt to get the biggest in the predetermined time limit. There are around five levels to choose from, some as simple as having a one minute time limit, to some taking upwards of ten minutes.
You can attack your opponents with a “quick zip” type move that will knock some of the items off your opponent, which you can then collect yourself. As almost all the items are collected by the time limit on the levels, in my experience, mastering the quick zip move basically makes or breaks your online experience. Doing well in the multiplayer games will net you cookies, which are essentially bragging rights (Think experience but with no leveling system). I got pretty bored of this gameplay pretty quickly, and the mild lag that I experienced quite a few times, including getting timed out a couple times (on multiple internet connections mind you) lowers this score down. But credit to them for making this obviously single player game multiplayer capable.Multiplayer Score: 5/10
It should be firstly noted that this game has a lovely DLC pack. It adds three achievements that are basically add-ons to the collectibles that will be mentioned in the achievements section of the review. It adds a couple more levels which will make anyone who loved this game ecstatic, and from what I’ve heard it’s done very well.
The graphics in this game are actually quite cute. No, they aren’t similar to Assassin’s Creed, MW2, or [insert top tier graphic game here], but they do well for what they need to do. You can tell what each item in the level is, while also reinforcing the absurdity of the game. Many of the people flail and panic when you, a giant ball, rolls at them, and watching them panic as your ball rolls is priceless. Any alive creature, like an elephant or sea serpent, will struggle to break free. The graphics are pretty much best described as a “Japanese cartoon”. Adorable, but in no way realistic, which I think is a good thing.
The sound might be one of my favorite things in this game. While there are some sounds you might expect from a giant ball rolling down the street – people screaming, the sound of your ball hitting something too large for it (Thump), the background music is what makes this game. The music stays with the absurdity of the music, playing a kind of elevator music combined with a children’s chorus. While this may not sound pleasant to you, I was humming it under my breath for days after last playing this game, it’s just that kind of tune. If you don’t like it you’re more than capable of muting your television without losing much.
Now, the important part. Firstly, if you haven’t figured by now, this game isn’t like many things you’ve seen before. It’s obviously aimed at an audience that is bored of the generic video game genres that have come to dominate rental store shelves. The game is cute and easy to pick up and play – any small child could understand how to play this game, and I bet many of them would find it enjoyable, which translates to a good family game if you’re in that category. The game is relatively mindless, but that isn’t to say that it can’t be challenging. I had to redo the last level numerous times, though I can’t say I minded. It’s an incredibly relaxing atmosphere with the music and graphics, and it really calmed me down after a night of first person shooters. Replay value is very high – possibly the one that I’ve replayed the most out of all 360 games I own.DLC/Graphics/Sound/Intangibles Score: (10+8+8+10)/4 = 9/10
The achievements in this game are logical and quite doable. You’ll collect some simply by playing through the “story of the game”:
While others require you to become competent with the controls of the game:
But possibly the most interesting achievements are the collectibles. Usually when I see collectibles I scoff and question whether I will want to bother. Quite a lot of the time collectibles ruin my gameplay experience, yet that isn’t the case in Beautiful Katamari. There are two types of collectibles; the cousins, which I already mentioned, and presents. Presents are boxes with a bow that hang out in levels – collected by rolling over them. The cousins are the same. If you get the DLC you will be looking for over 60 cousins and presents.
My favorite achievement by far is the one for collecting every single type of item in the game. That means everything: from the thumb tack to the ferris wheel. The game keeps an excellent running book of what items you have which makes it more than capable of being done. Right now I’m hanging out at around 98% of the items found, and intend to complete it as soon as I can.
Now there are a couple achievements that I can see people find potentially upsetting:
Which is simply excessive, and can become a grind, but can be paired with collecting all the items in the game.
Which will take upwards of three hours and require an online buddy.
Which is an excessive amount of time. Although you can just leave your xbox running with the game up, many people that are afraid of overheating will frown upon the idea. Therefore it has a ridiculous 3.38 ratio. Of course the hardest achievement is the one with the highest ratio, which requires that you roll up everything at least once in the game (not including DLC items). I'm at 98%, which means about another 75 items to get...
Overall, however, I found the achievements very enjoyable and logical for the game, even though at times they were excessive.Achievement Score: 7/10
Final Score: (7+9+5+9 )/ 4 = 7.5/10 = 3.75/5 (4)
I really enjoyed this game and I think you will too – if you’re fine with absurdity. I strongly suggest a purchase if the game sounds even remotely entertaining to you – I’ve never seen anyone play it with a frown. Thanks for reading my review!