mikeinsc's Katamari Damacy Tribute (PlayStation 3) review

Still Fun After All This Time

 Katamari are a series of games that pretty well defy criticism. They are all insanely goofy, all look pretty terrible, all are brutally redundant...yet are, consistently, absurdly playable. And this is no exception.

The creator of the series didn't work on the previous Beautiful Katamari (which was awesome nonetheless), opting to work on Noby Noby Boy instead, but is now back with Katamari Forever, which signals Katamari's return to the realm of being a PS-exclusive title.

As with all other games, the King of the Cosmos has destroyed all the stars, which makes him up there with Princess Peach in the annals of people who never learn lessons, and you must fix them. Except, this time, the King is hurt and the Prince, who we learn is a masochist, decides to build a Robo-King to insult him and demand him to make stars as he wants.

The game is fan service in every sense of the word. The levels all come from earlier titles, many from the prior Beautiful Katamari game. Layout is pretty much the same, item location is basically unchanged, and this game has few appreciable differences from other titles, outside of the number of things on screen at once.

They actually have improved the visuals. It is still blocky --- the game wouldn't work at all if it was realistic-looking --- but the art style does seem to have taken a small step forward. You also unlock the "Katamari Drive" mode after beating a challenge, giving you the chance to re-do a level with your character moving extremely quickly, which usually serves to ease up the difficulty, but in some levels, it makes the chore actually a bit tougher. The other new addition is a jump move which is too difficult to pull off with the Sixxaxis to make attempting it worth your time and effort. You'll spend more time trying to do it than you'd have spent simply finding a way up to where you wanted to jump to.

Of course, the gameplay of the series is back. They have some of the same difficult challenges, such as the maddening "Keep your Katamari at a certain temperature" chores which are enough to make one rip one's own hair out.

If you have hated all the games earlier --- well, first, HOW could you hate them? I mean, seriously, they are goofy fun ---- then pass on this. It won't change your mind. But if you have any fondness for this trippy series, this game is a must-buy, though it seems harder to find than I'd have expected.

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