This tribute may of came too soon, but it doesnt stop it from being just as fun as previous entries in the series
The plot in Katamari Forever is...well as quirky and hilarious as ever, if not more entertaining. The King of all Cosmos has been hit by a an asteroid and is in a coma of some sort. In his absence, the prince and all his cousins have built a Robo King to do the kings work. Unfortunately, the Robo King is awful at his new do his job and it is up you to do it for him... again. The plot while not an epic narrative surly has its kicks and is probably the most entertaining plot in the series to date. The King and Robo King are hilarious and are at their best in this game. The Kings quirky and strange humor has always been present but it is just amplified by so much here. Throw in the robo king, and you have one of the funniest games this generation. After a couple levels you are interrupted by either a cinematic offering The Queen or the giant robots (that have been featured in every title). While these cinematics arent very funny they are fairly entertaining and never feel like a waste of time.
The gameplay of any katamari game is difficult to describe. Using the two analogs on the Sixaxis of Dualshock 3, you control your Katamari or "giant sticky ball". By rolling your Katamari into objects that are roughly the size of your Katamari or objects that are smaller, you pick them up, making your Katamari bigger. The objective is to make your Katamari a certain size in a certain given time. Sometimes your goal may change, sometimes you wanna roll up hot things, sometimes you wanna roll over dirt to water plants, sometimes you wanna roll up expensive things but either way, the games base objective is to roll up stuff and do it under the time limit. The gameplay is extremely fun, joyous, addicting and takes some getting used to, but once you master it, you are pretty much set. The gameplay, while unchanged since the first, still holds up and still remains to be some of the most fun out there. Katamari Forever, has two tricks up its sleeve though, and that is the ablility to jump and the "heart" items. Jumping allows you to maneuver easier through the courses and collect more items, and the hearts cause items of proper size to be magnitized towards your katamari for a brief amount of time. While both are nice additions, they make an already easy game easier.
One problem with Katamari games is the difficulty, once you master them, there isnt much of challenge. Completing each stage becomes extremely easy. However, one thing that takes several other tries is getting a good score. Your score is based on how far you go over the minimum (i think), and mastering this may take some more time. It is still disappointing to see a lack of hard gameplay in the game.
Probably the biggest downside in Katamari Forever is the selection of levels. While there is a whopping 30+ levels, nearly all of them are from old Katamaris, which is not good for Katamari veterans. There are only three new levels and that is simply unacceptable. While they are still fun, and are some of the best levels in the series, It would be expected that the game would have more new levels than old but threes all you get. New items, music, graphics and gameplay additions may ease the sense of deja vu, but it is still very present and still a big problem.
The game has a mediocre multiplayer mode where you can compete in rolling up a bigger Katamari against another player or work cooperatively to roll up one Katamari. Both modes are ok, nothing spectacular but lack online. Seeing as the 360 itteration of Katamari got online, it really makes you wonder why Sonys Katamari couldnt of had some kind of online.
Graphically Katamari Forever looks great. It is the first game in the series to actually look different, even the 360s Beautiful Katamari had the same graphics as the originals. However, Katamari Forever manages to retain the games quirky art style by making the graphics look more cel shaded and pencil sketchy. This is surly a nice move and makes the game look beautiful. The graphics and the art both compliment each other beautifully and make the best looking Katamari to date.
Environments look just as good. They follow the same style that the series is known for and are wild and full of great objects to roll up. However the bigger you get, the less detailed each object gets and the less objects appear on your Katamari.
One pretty big flaw, however, are the Kings levels, they are all played through in Black and White. Objects to retain color, but only after you roll them up, making identifying objects and other things in the world very difficult. it is an interesting way to represent the past and the kings memory but an alternative method to doing so would of been better.
Strangely, however, Katamari Forever suffers from a somewhat severe case of slowdown. While it only appears on certain levels, it can get pretty bad and usually happens when you have to roll up many objects at one time. Seeing as this is the PS3, this is a little ridiculous, especially since most of these levels are old and never experienced slowdown on their original consoles.
Another problem that still hasnt been fixed is the frequency in which you can get your Katamari stuck. often times you will jam your Katamari into hard to reach places or smaller places and get stuck. Fortunately, jumping allows you to wiggle free easier, but it is still unacceptable to see no help for this problem.
The Music in Katamari forever is stellar. The series has been known for its incredible music and Katamari Forever may have the best soundtrack in the series. While non of the tracks are that new, they are remixes of old classics, and let me say they sound fantastic. Most of the songs are made into more upbeat and electronic versions of their former ones and others are just spectacular remakes. Many of the tracks are remixes of already incredible songs but are made even better in Katamari Forever. While there are some bad ones here and there that are hard to over look, the rest of the soundtrack is phenomenal. Some new tracks would be a nice addition but this is adequate.
The Sound effects in the game are just as good. From the quirky DJ scratching voice of the king, to the silly screams of people running in fear from your Katamari, the game sounds just as good as ever.
Katamari Forever is an incredible deal...if you havent played a Katamari before. For $50, you get the best of the best when it comes to Katamari levels, the longest Katamari to date and one of the most fun you will have gaming ever. Add several unlockable items and cousins (playable characters) and you have yourself a game that will add up the hours. It will only take you around 6-8 hours to complete the game, but the game is so addiciting and fun, you will come back again and again wanting more of Katamari's sweet ecstasy. Since most of the material is recycled, Katamari vets may wanna step away from this one. I may be a huge Katamari fun, but pretty graphics and the ability to jump is not enough to warrant a purchase of what you already own.
Katamari Forever is great game, even if most of the material is recycled. The fact that the gameplay has been untouched for five years and still remains to be top notch fun really says something. Katamari fans will be disappointed in the lack of new content but newcomers will be able to experience one of the best series ever in one of its best iterations