A surprisingly well-done translation of a really fun console game.
Bowser05 wrote this review on .
Gameplay (7/10): Just like Katamari Damacy, this game, despite all of its flaws, is just pure and addictive fun. The concept is simple...you roll around a ball (called a katamari) to pick up objects and get the ball big enough (like a snowball effect) to make an acceptably sized island for some animal. In the core, this game keeps this concept and that is essentially what keeps this game so enjoyable. You are given a certain amount of time to obtain a certain diameter. To keep things interesting, you can only obtain max points by fulfilling the requests of the requestee (for example, a turtle will as you to try and make an island out of heaby objects specifically), which will give you a focus, though it won't change your playing style by much from level to level. Speaking of levels, there aren't many of them. There are around 16 main stages for you to complete but you go through the same three or so levels over and over again.
Another issue is that in between levels there are short (very short, usually 2-5 seconds) load times to transition between areas and sizes. This isn't too bad but oftentimes messes up the flow, and when the level scales up a little you have to really start rolling over again because most everything in the old area is usually so small you won't see it anymore or it is in a building that you will likely have rolled up in a few minutes anyway. That isn't the worst of the issues with this game though. The biggest one I found was that as you get bigger and bigger, the game seems to suffer from some slowdown and your katamari just runs WAY too slow. I don't remember my maximum sized katamari in Katamari Damacy rolling that slow. You will notice this the most in the later levels, when you actually start off from a really fast rolling tiny ball to a super large slow ball. This gets annoying and sort of takes away from part of the awe of the sheer scale of the game.
One last thing, which isn't a problem, are the controls. Due to the lack of analog sticks, the d-pad and face buttons (X, Circle, Triangle, Square) are used to move around in the same manner as the console versions do. This may seem strange for console fans but it is not too difficult to get used to and really isn't a problem. Actually the controls work almost as well as the consoles which is very impressive. With my complaints aside though, this game still retains the best part of the series...IT IS FUN. Oh yes, and the multiplayer is mildly amusing.
Graphics (8/10): Looks almost as great as the PS2 versions. You will notice a SLIGHT loss of quality here and there but really, since this game doesn't push graphics but rather pushes scale, the graphics look just fine (with the same simplicity as the console versions). The only problem is the slowdown in larger areas, but really starting off the size of an eraser and then becoming as big as a volcano really is awe-inspiring, no doubt about that. Even on a portable, this game manages to retain its scale. It could have done with more beautiful cutscenes like the intro, but I can live with it. A portable can only handle so much when having a game translated from a superior console.
Sound (10/10): Like always, the music is just so catchy that you don't get tired of it. The amusing sound effects are just as good as the console versions and there is nothing really to complain about here. Ear candy, if there is such a term.
Value (7/10): I won't lie. The game is short. I finished the game in about 6 hours or so, and that was with going back to play certain stages again before I actually beat the game. Its shortness is its main downfall, and lack of variety. If these problems could be overcome, then then this game would be great in value, since the extras are just fine. The extras consist of many 'cousins' (other characters) you can find to play as in a stage and multiple presents to find as well. To top it off you could shoot for getting 100% in each stage not only for completion, but also for the joy of being able to play that stage in Eternal Mode (meaning no time limit, which is really fun in the final stage). Add in a mildly amusing multiplayer and really this game isn't too bad. Is it worth buying though? Well if you are a Katamari fan, yes, no doubt about it. If you are not, but you are interested in quirky but fun games, this is still worth checking out. If you don't fulfill any of the above criteria, I would suggest you tread lightly, because this could very well get boring for you very fast. Either way, I suggest that this game not be an introduction to the series for you, and that you try to play through Katamari Damacy on the PS2 first. Then you will know whether you will want this or not. Either way, enjoy.