Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Katamari Damacy | PlayStation 2 Tuesdays #10

About 7 or so years ago now, I bought a second NTSC PlayStation 2 so that I could play imported games without having to go through the hassle of having my console chipped or using any other tricks to run US games.  I don't regret doing this as it allowed me to enjoy many RPG's that either never made it over here in Europe or took their sweet time getting a release.  The initial impetus behind this decision was not made to play an RPG however, it was so that I could play Katamari Damacy.

The King of All Cosmos has gone on a bit of a bender and in his drunken state has accidentally knocked all of the stars out of the night sky, so it's up to you as the pint sized Prince to roll up all sorts of junk into a ball until it's large enough to become a star and return things to their previous state.  During the early levels you will find yourself rolling up tiny items like paper clips, mice and the like, as as the game grows on the contents of your ball of crap slowly increase until your picking up cars, people, and entire buildings!

The controls take a bit of getting used to at first, as manipulating your ball is like driving a tank.  You push both analogue sticks up to go forwards, both back to go in reverse, and one forward / one backwards to turn.  After a little while this will become second nature though, and you will have a huge grin on your face as you careen around the place hoovering up kitties and all manner of other stuff.  Trying to roll over items that are too big will knock parts off your Katamari, so you have to build up gradually.

The gameplay is fun, and the graphics while a bit basic are nice and colourful and stylised - however probably the absolute best thing about the game is the soundtrack.  The music is absolutely amazing and comprises of some extremely catchy J-pop. I bet you won't be able to get the music playing in the background of this video out of your head after it's finished! In a addition to the standard single player "make a star" mode there is also a multiplayer mode which is quite good fun.  The idea here is simply to pick up more stuff than the other player within a three minute time limit.

That's an impressive ball o' shite you've got there!
There were quite a few sequels to the original Katamari that were released over the years following it's release, some of which came out on other systems like the PSP and Xbox 360.  I haven't enjoyed any of them as much as the first though - partly because the basic gameplay can start to get a bit repetitive after a while, and also because they have never quite matched the brilliance of the music found in that very first game.

Picking up a copy of the game today will likely set you back around £10. If you've never experienced a game in the series before, then maybe the original and arguably the best is a good place to start. Now, let's enjoy some more of that soundtrack!

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