Katamari Forever First Look

Namco is bringing the Katamari series to the PS3 with some clever twists to the familiar formula.

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The Katamari phenomenon continues to--ahem--roll with the upcoming Katamari Forever for the PlayStation 3. The game, which blends remixed versions of levels from the previous Katamari games with new content, still features the mixture of trippy visual style (in full 1080p glory this time around), absurd storyline, and addictive, junk-collecting gameplay that Katamari fans have come to expect from the series. Based on the levels shown during yesterday's Namco press event, the remixed levels look set to bring some new twists to the familiar gameplay.

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If you want to know more about the storyline in Katamari Forever, know that it involves the King of All Cosmos, the Prince, and a Robot King of all Cosmos. The King has lost his memories after falling and hitting his head on a planet, a narrative twist that will drive one of the game modes. Given that the King has amnesia, his memory of the worlds that make up the remixed levels is incomplete, resulting in levels that are completely devoid of color. As the Prince, your job will be to restore color to the world (and, consequently, the King's memory). To do so, you simply roll the Katamari ball around the bleak world; doing so will add splashes of color to the world in addition to picking up objects as you go. Periodically, you'll come across columns of light that appear in the world. Rolling over one of these columns will cause a huge suction effect, drawing in lots of objects toward your Katamari ball. These columns of light look set to be which is a handy tool to have at your disposal, especially as you get close to the end of a level. Once you've restored enough color to the world within the level's time limit, you'll move on to the next challenge.

If the previous levels play like a Katamari-themed version of de Blob for the Wii, then the other level that we saw during the Katamari Forever demo had some definite Gardening Mama influences. In this level, the entirety of the gameworld was dried over and parched. The goal here was to bring life back to the world by using your Katamari ball as a sprinkler of sorts. Your first step will be to find a water source into which you can roll your Katamari ball. Once loaded with water, you simply roll around the dry parts of the level, instantly restoring greenery to the world; flowers, trees, grass, and other assorted shrubbery will pop up.

You'll periodically need to go back and refill your water supply to keep spreading the green, and you'll make use of the new hop ability, which you can use to access hard-to-reach areas. To jump, you can either move the Sixaxis controller up or press the R2 button. Moving to new heights in a level will give you access to new water stores, as well as more territory to bring back to life.

By the looks of things, Katamari Forever's new gameplay ideas are still true to the original's addictive philosophy of simply rolling the Katamari ball around and seeing what happens. Judging from what we saw of a movie shown of the game during the Namco presentation, the game will also have a huge scale; the Prince will eventually be rolling up skyscrapers, continents, and seemingly entire planets in his quest to appease the King of All Cosmos. Katamari Forever will feature more than 30 levels to play, along with a remixed music score (featuring familiar tunes from previous games in the series) and high-definition visuals that really pop thanks to the game's vivid color palette. Look for more on Katamari Forever in the coming months.

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