I never thought cleaning up a house could be fun until Katamari Damacy proved me wrong.
I remember the day I purchased Katamari Damacy well. I was doing some post-birthday shopping and after tearing through Prudential Center's GameStop, I realized I had about thirty dollars left to blow. That money had to go, no doubt about it. And there was this weird looking, bargain-priced game sitting with all its drug-induced glory on a shelf near the register. Employing childhood logic (which is virtually foolproof), I thought "bright colors + happy characters = genius game", and tossed the PS2 box in with the others. And amazingly, for the first time since I was five years old, I was not disappointed with the end result in the decision I made because Katamari Damacy was fun, quirky, and the game was proudly displayed to all my friends at school. Some people saw the game for the gem that it was, and those that didn't were quickly dropped from my roster of persons in my "in-crowd", shunned to this very day. Because let's face it, anyone who didn't think rolling up cows and samurai with a sticky ball was an idea of a good day, they were not fit to be my buddy. Simple as that.
And now, I'm not saying I didn't have fun playing Beautiful Katamari, because I did, but personally I felt extremely let down by the whole experience, because it was... how do you say... less than good when compared to the other games. So yeah, let down. That was a feat in itself, because I love oddball humor, I love collecting things, and finding myself thirsting for a puzzle title this week, I thought this game would have to be one never-ending loading screen to annoy me. Which it was. Thank you, Namco-Bandai.
The ugly snarl of disappointment had fully set in by the end of the second day, when I was sitting on my bed watching the epilogue to the game. Progression of feelings goes something like this:
Friday, 6:00 pm - Oh, Beautiful Katamari is out. Hope it's better than Jericho. I loved the first game, so let's give this one a try.
Friday, 11:00 pm - Isn't this the same game I bought three years ago? Yeah, it's pretty much the same game. Oh well, it's still a blast to play, even if I did spend forty bucks on what is essentially a high-def expansion pack. The loading screens are a little annoying, too.
Saturday, 1:00 pm - Holy Hornbill, King, you don't have to take up the entire screen when I roll up a present. That's just... that's just... well, obnoxious and - okay, now I rolled up a cousin. Great. Stop your record-scratching jabbering. And NOW I ran out of time so it's time for another loading screen and that disembodied head. Fantastic. It's like I paid money for an After Dark screensaver.
Saturday, 5:00 pm - Finished all the requests, except for Schloss Kosmos, which is a little bit more difficult than expected. Another load screen - "Wow! We love Katamari!" Yeah, shove it, King, I already know.
Saturday, 10:00 pm - Done! Thank God. And hey, this mini-game is kind of fun! They should have put more of this in the game.
This is what I thought Beautiful Katamari was going to be all about: color and craziness...
... and this was what I saw for a good amount of the time instead.
As irritated as I got with Beautiful Katamari, I still did enjoy the overall feel of the game. There's addictive fun to be had, that much is true. And I'm sure plenty of people will still find value in this installment of the "roll-stuff-up-into-planets" action-puzzle, and I know that players are looking forward to the online battles and downloadable material that should be up on Xbox Live shortly. Still, I hope that Namco-Bandai is considering the addition of more new gameplay elements in the TBD releases of PS3 and Wii versions of Katamari.