A mesmerizing bout of good old arcade-style fun!
It’s took almost a year to be released here in Europe, but finally, the loveable Katamari have made their way on to the Xbox 360. At first glance, it may look as though the game was created for children however this presumption couldn’t be more wrong—it’s made so that anyone can pick it up, begin playing, and have a brilliant time doing so.
The game play mechanics of the series haven’t changed at all. Your still playing as the loveable Prince, taking orders from the King of all Cosmos rolling around your Katamari (which, in essence is just a giant sticky ball) collecting items as you fight against a time limit. There are the odd few levels which require you to complete a different objective. One which springs to mind is where you have to collect hot objects in order to raise your Katamari past a certain temperature. This infuriating difficult level requires the player to think ahead of collecting items which adds a certain level of skill to the game—something not seen in previous installments.
Once you pass the hilarious opening cinematic, the tone is instantly set for the game—collect anything. If you can’t collect it now, you soon will be able to. From the quite dangerous, like a small pin, to a full sized football stadium—it’s all for you to pick up. The only problem is that to collect the larger things, you’re going to need to replay a level multiple times in order to be big enough and have a long enough time limit. This repetition (thankfully) isn’t necessary in order to get the best experience out of the game and is mainly left for those achievement hunters out there who will be in for a very long, and expensive, ride if they want to collect all 1,000 gamerscore.
Which brings me on to the biggest problem of the game—if you want to see everything Beautiful Katamari has to offer, you’re going to need to fork out for quite a lot of downloadable content. To gain access to roughly 20% of the game you need to download the extra levels and collectible packages such as cousins of the Prince which you can roll up too. This adds an extra £10 on to the retail £40 which ends up making the game rather expensive.
Although the game play has only changed subtly, the environments and objects have had a huge overhaul. The most noticeable difference being that the Prince isn’t stuck on Earth—he can now explore the Cosmos (as you may have figured out from the King’s name). The locations look stunning compared to the previous console generation and everything is covered in beautifully designed high resolution textures. It contrasts with most modern games in the way that it features bright, primary colours as opposed to dark, grungy greens and browns.
The objects you collect are all items that I'm sure you have come across at one point of your life. Things like coins, pencils, and chocolate bars begin your collection which soon moves on to cars, buildings and eventually planets. One of the more unique objects you can collect are called cousins, and are (you might have guessed) cousins of the Prince. There are unique cousins for each level and as you unlock them, you can play as them. Some offer a satirical look at American life—such as the George Bush cousin—and some are simply for fun.
Online, Beautiful Katamari is extremely fun. Firstly, there are your usual leader board statistics such as Katamari size, collectibles gathered and it compares these against other players among your friends list and globally. The most enjoyable part though is battling with your friends in an attempt to become the largest Katamari. Even outside of playing the game, it can be fun online—when you join a game you are placed in a lobby full of fun mini-games and painting activities, all of which are fun when paired with people you know fighting over whose colour fills the most of the board. As you win these activities, you gain coins which allow you to unlock more levels and collectibles in the in-game store.
The sound design in Beautiful Katamari is basic to say the least—the Katamari makes little squeaks every time you collect something which quickly gets annoying. Thankfully, you can turn this off in the options. The music is very Japanese and the majority of the tracks were composed especially for the game which adds to the games whimsical image.
In conclusion—is this worth buying if you own the previous Katamari games? A resounding yes! It adds a ton of new stuff to an already fun game and finally allows the Prince to leave Earth. Not only is the game fun to play, the basic story line fills the dialogue with comedy and left me in fits of giggles. This game is a definite classic, and hopefully it will be able to overcome its child-like image and grow to larger things.
This was originally written for my A Level English Language coursework. Please note that all comments will be submitted with the original writing.