Rollin', rollin', rollin'
It all feels very visceral and this is for the main part due to the very basic controls. You only use the analogue sticks to control your movement, pushing forward on them to move, one up/one down to turn and pressing in to get the prince to jump over the Katamari and change direction. It’s that simple.
Graphically, this is a masterpiece. Not in terms of detail or realism, but artistically and thematically. Like a select few other games such as Ico
, We Love Katamari’s
aesthetic is a part of the gameplay and relevant to the whole experience. There are the most extraordinarily outlandish cutscenes depicting the King of All Cosmos’s terrible childhood that led to the star smashing spree that kicked off the first game. They are literally a visual assault of surrealist madness.
The sound effects have to be heard to be believed. Never has such an array of cute and freaky noises been used to such effect in a game, not to mention the soundtrack which is mind bogglingly catchy and whacked out creepy in turns. You think this has to be an exaggeration, don’t you? The King’s voice is represented by record scratching and one of the songs that plays while you are rolling is a Japanese guy doing an impersonation of Tom Jones singing Ka-ta-ma-ri Da-ma-shi-I over and over. Are you with me now?
In terms of the difference between the original game and this, it’s best to think of We Love Katamari
as an encore. The clue is in the title - it’s more of the same dished out for the fans. With just a little more variation in the levels and another stab at the totally uninteresting two player co-op, where you and a friend control the different directions you can roll in, this would not be the kind of sequel recommendation we would normally go for. However, it’s lucky for Europe that Namco has served up such a perfect second slice of the very same cake, because it really is a little piece of heaven.
The game's Director, Keita Takahashi, says that “Basically, this is a silly game that doesn't involve a whole lot of thinking, but if you will just laugh and sing along as you roll, roll and roll, I'm sure you will find it to be a lot of fun.”
We have been, and it is. Sometimes you need to be reminded why you started playing games in the first place and Katamari does just that.
We Love Katamari
is, in its truest sense, what we'd think of as a game
. Such titles are making a comeback, it seems: this, Geometry Wars
all take a distinctly design-centric viewpoint of the video game experience. Sure, it might not be on the PC, and the PS2 might sport graphics processing power to cry at, but this is one game you owe it to yourself to play.