May 12, 2010

[Games] Katamari Forever (PS3)

Katamari Forever (PS3)Every now and then, a game comes along that totally changes the market for players. Maybe it's because of a breakthrough in terms of the graphical rendering engine. Or perhaps it's because of a wonder character that everyone just falls in love with. In the end it's more than likely that it's all about the gameplay and that's what makes a game just work.

I'm not a very demanding gamer. With how busy my real life is especially with work, I tend to gravitate towards games that are more casual in nature. You know what I mean - the kind of games that you can pick up for 30 minutes to an hour and then leave again. I love a good involving RPG here and there, but most of the time I need something simple that challenge my brain but doesn't demand too much from it.

One of the games that has always accomplished this particular goal for me has always been the Katamari Damacy franchise. And so when I found out there was a chapter that had been released for the PS3, I knew I had to get it.

Katamari Forever (or Katamari Damacy Tribute in Japan) is the first Katamari game to hit the PS3 and it looks pretty stunning. As much as the game is known of its blocky, almost cartoonish graphics quality, this is the first game to be rendered in HD as well and the results are pretty stunning.

As far as the story goes, the game's premise starts with the King of All Cosmos being knocked unconscious because a passing meteor. Bereft of his memory, he is unable to do whatever it is such kings do. In order to solve this problem, the Prince and his cousins decide to construct the RoboKing to perform the king's duties while he recovers his memories. However the RoboKing ends up destroying all the stars in the heavens just like how the King did in the first game. So now the Prince has to restore the cosmos and find a way to restore the King to his rightful place in the stars.

The game has two story modes to follow - one for RoboKing and one for the King of All Cosmos.

In the RoboKing stages, you're faced with the usual challenge of rolling up items to create the largest katamari possible while following the theme of the stage. This may include gathering the highest calorie foods or the most expensive items. The levels are pretty much new compared to previous Katamari Damacy games and the gameplay is a lot of fun.

The "Make A Star" mode in Katamari D...Image via Wikipedia

In the King of All Cosmos stages, you need to find a way to restore the memories of the King. You do this by rolling around in his memories of stages from previous Katamari games, which are depicted in black and white. As you roll up objects, they start to regain color and thus eventually you finish the stage with the King's memories of these events restored.

Beyond the creative stories, the game has also added a new move - the Prince Hop, which allows you and your katamari to jump up in the air to reach higher stages. Each level also has at least one of the King or Queen's hearts, which act like magnets, drawing objects to you and your katamari, thus allowing you to rapidly increase in size for a limited period of time.

Across the 34 stages of the game, there are still the usual benefits of trying to locate all the royal cousins and presents. Plus the game now has a scoring system which gives you a rating out of 100 points every time you play a stage, thus giving you something else to aim for. Then there's the final benefit of trying to unlock new modes of play per stage such as the Wood mode, which depicts the entire stage as if everything was made of wood or the Classic Katamari stage, which no longer has the Prince Hop and the hearts and is depicted in simpler tones like in the previous games.

The game has the same level of insane, crazy and happily repetitive fun along with new challenges like trying to roll up objects based on their temperature or trying to locate the most dangerous objects in the stage. The versus arenas are also suitably challenging and the cooperative mode is just as difficult as before, or perhaps even more so.

I'm obviously a major Katamari Damacy fan and this is an edition of the game that is bound to fulfill any fan's needs. Plus the consistency of the gameplay makes it as accessible to new players as before.

Katamari Forever gets a full 5 crazy royal katamari cousins out of a possible 5.

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