Beautiful Katamari

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Beautiful Katamari review
Chris Davis

Review

Puzzling with sticky balls... hmm...

Jumping


In this still new generation of gaming, in-game screenshots are quickly approaching levels of quality that we pay $9 for to see in a theater. For every game that achieves this level of quality there are ten others that have not. Beautiful Katamari, the latest in the series of quirky Japanese games has just made two large leaps forward; entering into the next generation while also making the jump to the Xbox 360.

But is Beautiful Katamari a ball of fun or is it the latest in a series that simply feels deflated?

They See Me Rollin


Katamari Damacy, a Playstation 2 game that was released in 2004, was probably the epitome of eccentric games that year. Three years later it still is, but this time on another system. The story of Beautiful Katamari follows yet another blunder done by the great King of the Cosmos. While in the middle of a tennis match with his wife, he does a power serve that goes out of court. Way out of court, as it flies into space and cracks a hole in the sky, creating a black hole that sucks up everything in the solar system except for the Earth. Once again passing the buck to his lowly son, the Prince is charged with the task of rebuilding each planet and eventually plugging the hole.

Katamari plays almost exactly like it did when the first title was released three years ago. The controls are, like its predecessors, incredibly simple to grasp and utilize and never once become a frustration. For the uninitiated, players are given the ultimate sticky ball, each one different in size depending on the level, and uses both thumb sticks to roll it around and pick up objects that litter the world around them.

Rolling bigger balls allows you to pick up larger objects and as such travel to different areas within the level. While the initial levels start you out at just a few centimeters high and has you rolling up paper clips, chess pieces and the like you eventually move on to larger balls and stages, rolling up everything from people to cars and even entire buildings. The scale of the levels can range from minute to beyond massive, from within houses to spanning continents and even into space itself. The only regrettable item about the game is that there is a lack of levels in comparison to the previous games, whose number would usually be near 20. As such there are only about a dozen levels which will leave you wanting more.

Not so lonely


The scoring system in Beautiful Katamari is one of the few features that is quite different from the previous iterations. Each level, while having you to reach a certain size or bigger also has you role up a certain type of object. While this is a good idea in theory in the initial few minutes of a level it becomes almost impossible to roll up just the specific type of object you need. At the end of the level your score is tallied by the size of your Katamari and its contents. Having a large number of the item you were assigned to pick up will yield a larger score obviously but flaws are abound in the scoring of the size of the Katamari. Even if you double or triple the requested size you can still get penalized for it not being bigger.

In addition to the single player, Namco has taken it upon themselves to include a robust online multiplayer for Beautiful Katamari. Players can engage in duels against one another or engage in online co-op. While the co-op is a good idea for when you are with your buddy in the same room it becomes a difficult task at times online, as each player handles a part of the same Katamari. Without a really strong sense of coordination between the two players, youll have a hard time trying to roll the way you want to.

8.0

fun score

No Pros and Cons at this time