- Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 (PS2 Classic)
- Suggested Platform: PlayStation 2
- Developer: Namco
- Genre: Puzzle, sort of.
- Release Date: 09/21/04 (NA)
- Why Play It?: It’s unique, has great music, and there’s nothing quite like it.
- Why Skip It?: It’s awfully silly and ridiculous. The controls take a bit of getting used to.
“Nana nananananananana Katamari Damacy…” Katamari Damacy is one of those silly, fast paced, fun, ridiculous arcade style games that you just can’t put down. I only first played Katamari a few years back, after hearing that it was good game and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Since then, I’ve played through most of the Katamari series.
Katamari Damacy‘s story is ridiculous. The giant King of All Cosmos was drinking, got drunk, and accidentally destroyed all the stars and the moon in the sky. So you, the Prince (who is a mere 5 cm tall) must go to Earth and help the king create new stars and eventually the moon by rolling up stuff. There is also a side story about a weird family who’s dad is an astronaut and can’t go to the moon now, since it’s been destroyed. It’s all very strange and silly, but very fun-loving.
So how do you make new stars? Easy, by rolling up random things into a ball using a Katamari. A Katamari is a little ball (that kind of looks like that dog’s toy, the Bumble Ball) that has a super sticky surface. As the Prince, you control the Katamari by rolling it using both analog sticks in a seemingly strange manner (but you get used to it; you’ll be a Katamari-rolling pro in no time).
You can roll up anything that’s smaller or about equal size to your Katamari. As you roll up more things, your Katamari will increase in size and be able to pick up more things. It’s a lot of fun trying to see how much you can roll up! Each stage has a set size that you must make your Katamari before the time limit is up. If you fail to do so, you’ll have to play the stage again. Hidden throughout the stages are also presents that you can find to accessorize the Prince with as well as other characters to play as in the multiplayer mode. After you’ve cleared the stage, the King of All Cosmos will take the things you’ve collected and turn it into a star.
In the beginning of the game, you’ll play with smaller sized things; the level will probably only be inside a room. You’ll pick up thumbtacks, dice, sugar cubes, cookies and other small objects while you increase the size of your Katamari with only a few minutes to do so. In the later stages, you’ll be picking up things as large as people, cars, and even entire buildings, sometimes with a timer of over 10 minutes! After the first couple stages, the following stages introduce barricades that you can’t get past until you reach a certain size. That way, the levels kind of progress as you roll.
Once you’ve seen all of the areas past the barricades, you can always go back to pick up some other things that were too big for you and your Katamari at the time. This allows each stage to feel larger than it really is.
Katamari Damacy has a great presentation. It’s got cartoony graphics and a very catchy, cool soundtrack ranging from jazzy to pop-py sounding tracks. If the gameplay itself doesn’t get you hooked, the presentation might! It is a PS2 game though, and some of the objects do have a tendency to look pretty blocky.
Katamari Damacy created many sequels, however, Keita Takahashi, the man who created Katamari Damacy, only worked on the following game title, We Love Katamari. Any Katamari fan worth his/her salt should at least play the first two. Since then though, most of the Katamari games after that ended up being copies of the same thing, so don’t go on a Katamari-a-thon (like I do when I play series’) or you may burn yourself out on it. That being said, if you get your hands on a PlayStation Vita, Touch My Katamari is quite good and breathes some fresh life into the series without diminishing what Katamari is all about despite being pretty short.
I personally think everyone should give Katamari Damacy a try. It’s a lot of fun, and you don’t have to understand many mechanics to enjoy it. Even non-gamers may enjoy the cute charms and catchy tunes of Katamari Damacy.