Giant Bomb Review

27 Comments

Katamari Forever Review

4
  • PS3

Katamari Forever doesn't change much about this quirky, long-running series, and you know what? That's totally OK.


Things might start small, but they get wild fast. 
Katamari Forever hit me like a breath of fresh air. It's not some kind of amazing reinvention of the Katamari Damacy franchise or anything like that. Heck, it even reuses plenty of levels from the past games in the series. But in these trying times of science-fiction space marines and the world's greatest and most realistic simulation of <insert real-world activity here>, light and goofy moments are few and getting further and further between. Katamari Forever provides plenty of moments like these. It's not tough, but it's smile-inducing fun. It's the feel-good hit of the Fall.

Katamari Forever is probably best-suited to players who are unfamiliar with the franchise, or, at least, players like myself, who loved the original game but didn't stick with the series. If you're a die-hard Katamari buff, you'll probably recognize more of the reused levels, which will make the game a little less exciting. But the concept remains the same. You use the two analog sticks via a tank-like control scheme to roll a ball around an environment. Items smaller than the ball stick to it, causing the ball to increase in size, which in turn makes it able to pick up larger objects. In its basic form, you're just trying to roll a katamari of a specific size or larger before the time limit expires. But several of the levels play around with the format a bit, such as giving you a burning katamari and forcing you to roll up fuel to keep the fire going as you try to get big enough to torch a specific target. Or another level that uses the katamari as a sponge. You'll soak up water in pools, then use that water to bring life back to a desert. The diversions from the main task of rolling up as much as possible are kind of clever, but the main charm in Katamari Damacy's gameplay comes from seeing some huge thing, and working yourself up until you're big enough to take it with you.

Backing up all of these rolling activities is another silly story involving the King of All Cosmos. This time, the King has fallen into some sort of coma. To ensure that the kingly duties are carried out, the Prince (that's you) builds RoboKing, a moping robot that instantly goes haywire and destroys all of the stars in the sky, then demands that you help him put them together by rolling up objects into katamaris. You'll switch masters between levels as you'll also be assisting the still-slumbering King to regain his memory. You'll also get some non-sequitur cutscenes, just for kicks. The (all-text) dialogue is also charming and goofy, and there's also plenty of really great songs--most of which are various remixes of the game's theme--to listen to as you play.

This shot's taken a bit closer to the ground, but the goal is still the same. 
Visually, this is the best that the Katamari Damacy series has ever looked, because the resolution is high enough to really convey the game's art style. The human beings are deliberately boxy and weirdly animated. Everything has a deliberately low-poly look to it that just adds to the weird sense of style that permeates the entire product. Many of the King's flashback levels start out in black and white, coloring in as you roll up different items. It's a pretty cool feature.

Katamari Forever also has online leaderboards and a local two-player option, but the game's at its best when you're just sort of rolling around, semi-aimlessly, grabbing anything and everything in your path. The levels are saddled with time limits that prevent you from grabbing it all, but you can eventually unlock a limit-free mode, as well as another mode that makes your katamari roll super quickly. It's not a huge departure for the series or anything like that, but if you're open to the idea of a new game in the Katamari franchise, you'll find that Katamari Forever fills the void quite well. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
27 Comments
Posted by JJOR64

I should get out the demo and see if it's worth buying.  Nice review.

Posted by GunstarRed

It's definately a 4/5 for people that missed BK but  but I don't know if theres as much value in it for the devoted, I feel completely underwhelmed by the game and feel I have played these levels two times already now and the new levels are small arena based levels (one of which you can play in it's entirety in the demo) and that doesnt really do much to warrant a purchase (although I did). it's such a shame It could have been so much more.. 
 
and only two new cousins is taking the piss
Posted by gingertastic_10

This game looks so good.

Posted by LeoMinor

The only one I've played is the first one.  I might just pick up the first one up on Amazon.  It's only $10.

Posted by ZeroCast

And I totally thought Brad was going to review this because of his love towards the music!
 
Great review Jeff, spot on and right to the point.
Posted by Broitman

Ma na na na na na... 
 
Good times, good times.

Posted by X360_boner

Can't believe this game has slowdown, those textures must be pushing cell to its limits

Posted by Media_Master

Good deal, considering I haven't played any of the Katamari games before.

Posted by FrEeZe

mini-review

Posted by Babylonian
Posted by MetalGearSunny

 It's the feel-good hit of the Fall.    

That should be on the back of the box.
Posted by jakob187

Makes me wish I had a PS3.  Love me some Katamari...

Posted by taco484

I love these games... and always end up buying them all, no matter how much I think Im done with the series.... I will most likely eventually own this one.

Posted by Mgsfreak

Played the demo, don't get itttt. 
It's like noby noby boy....pointless.

Edited by Meltbrain

Cheers, Jeff. I haven't really played a Katamari game since Me & My Katamari so this seems like a good a time as any to roll me some more stuff up.
 
@Mgsfreak said:

" Played the demo, don't get itttt.  It's like noby noby boy....pointless. "

No way, dude. This series has been around far longer than Noby Noby Boy and there is a point... ROLL STUFF THE HELL UP! It's awesome.
Posted by PLWolf

There's one thing that makes this game worth owning, Robo-King. 
Great review, Jeff!!

Posted by Afroman269

I never played a katamari game before so I think now is a good time to jump into this.

Posted by RHCPfan24

I wouldn't mind playing Katamari again. I have great memories of the first two games.

Posted by SJSchmidt93

Never played a Katamari game before, so I may rent this one.

Posted by spankingaddict

i played 3 of these games before, so ill pass this one up...but im sure its still good

Posted by Kazona

I still haven't played a Katamri game.

Posted by X360_boner

So this game is a fair bit better than Blazblue?

Posted by Branthog

Problem with this will be the same problem with the last game. There are so many other games to take up my time right now, just like the last time Katamari came out. By the time I bought it and popped it in and dedicated some time to it, there wasn't a single person on the planet playing it online. That's the one real downfall of a lot of titles these days. Unless they're COD, their player-base is essentially wiped out after the first six months (which makes paying some of the ridiculous full game prices a little silly).

Posted by agentboolen

Yea I really like the katamari games too bad its a exclusive too the PS3 and I have the Xbox 360, this whole exclusive thing is dumb.

Posted by dream431ca

Nice review Jeff. It's too bad that a lot of reviewers are putting down the game, just because it's not "innovative" or "doesn't advance the series".  Sometimes, it's good to stick to the same formula because it works.

Edited by TwoOneFive

love the shit out of this game and the music is great!!

Posted by boredasfook

gonna give it a rent btw this site is awesome =D