Editors note: Being a PC enthusiast website, PS2 is not a platform that we usually cover on bit-tech. However, we appreciate that many of our readers are gaming enthusiasts, and are happy to play stand-out titles whatever platform they might appear on. Katamari is very much a gaming enthusiast game, being something of a closet / hardcore hit, and we thought you might care for our opinion on it. If you would like to see more 'general' gaming stuff on bit-tech, or alternatively if you want to slap us around for looking at a PS2 game, please drop by this forum thread and let us know your thoughts.
We Love Katamari
Very occasionally something happens which restores your faith in humanity, which makes you feel that life isn’t so bad after all. We must look for these nice little moments in life sometimes. Seek them out and treasure them. Fun isn’t something that just happens, it’s something you make. Even the world of gaming, which by its very definition should be jam packed with oodles of fun, has in many ways become a bit po-faced, serious and a little joyless.
These days, games must be hyper real. Graphics must make you weep with their increasingly perfect rendering of our real world. The bodies must react just so
when being sprayed with bullets. When I take a man’s life I want to see the light of his soul leave his eyes, don’t you?
Of course, knitted-brow serious gaming has its place, but the little pockets of bouncy brightly coloured joy that got you into gaming in the first place are getting smaller and smaller - and when they do spring up all smiling, fresh and different they are tutted at and ignored by us as childish nonsense that probably won’t play very well.
When Katamari Damacy
came out in Japan two years ago on the PS2 - and later in 2004 in the US - the reaction was, to put it in an authentic Katamari style, ‘Wha!!?’, ‘Huh!!?’ and then ‘Ahhh!!’ To rephrase it in a non-Katamari way, the game was totally mental, but addictive and fun. It flew off the shelves through word of mouth and 10 out of 10 scores appearing from nowhere. It was an unexpected hit.
However, Europe got the brush off (as usual) and we were left in the dark as to this wondrous if nonsensical experience. With the success of Katamari Damacy
worldwide, Namco has been quick to follow up with We Love Katamari
(again on PS2) and Europe can now enter the crazy world too. Guess what? We totally love it!
Roll your Katamari around the level, collecting various objects as you go.
The artist formerly known as Prince (of the Cosmos)
There is a plot to Katamari
, but it’s far too bizarre to possibly make sense to anyone not actually playing the game. You’re the Prince of the Cosmos, ok? In the last game the King of All Cosmos, a beardy mental case who is the centre of the game, had smashed up all the stars and you, as the Prince, had to roll up loads of stuff to replace them, yes?
Well this time round the King has heard how much we love Katamari Damacy and takes requests from ‘fans’ who want to see the sky filled with more stars created from Katamaris. Lost already? Luckily once you’re playing and subjected to the madness it all makes perfect sense.
'Katamari' is Japanese for 'clump' and that’s just what it is. You push this misshapen clump around picking up stuff as you roll it along. You might start off picking up tacks or flowers or a beetle, but as your Katamari grows bigger so does the size of the things you’ll be able to pick up. For example, you could pick up a cake with a new small Katamari, but eventually you’ll be able to pick up the oven, the cake counter and the baker himself.
The levels are wide ranging, from a child’s bedroom to a racetrack. The items you pick up that are strewn around might seem random but they are all recorded as you pick them up and viewable in your collections folder. Each has a detailed and often hilarious description. Levels have certain goals set, usually to create a Katamari of a certain size within a certain time frame. The goals aren’t usually very difficult to achieve but a certain amount of strategising can be used to beat the clock.