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 REVIEW: Beautiful Katamari

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Forsaken Lament 44
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PostSubject: REVIEW: Beautiful Katamari   Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:39 pm

Beautiful Katamari: A refreshing and original game on the 360
By: Forsaken Lament

Published by Namco
Rated E for Everyone



In order to fully understand the Katamari series, you must first understand its funkiness factor. Hopefully that video helped. For those of you who don't know, the Katamari series consists of 3 games, the first of which, Katamari Damacy, was released on PS2. Upon its release, the game created a massive fan following in both the US and Japan. Fans praised it's subtle humor, charming originality, and addictively simple gameplay.

Beautiful Katamari for the 360 is not much different. While it is on a different system than its predecessors, its gameplay is nearly identical, and the bizarre cel-shaded art is every bit as entertaining as it was before.

The story of the game isn't entirely different than the others. Once again, everyone's favorite monarch, the King of All Cosmos, has accidentally torn a black hole in the universe in a little too competitive match of tennis. The hole then begins to swallow all of the planets and stars, meaning it's time for the prince to get back in action! The King has charged the Prince(you) to roll up as many items as you can to remake the stars, comets, and planets which were sucked up by the black hole. And eventually, you'll even need to plug up the hole itself!

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For those of you who haven't played the other games in the series, the idea is simple: You use a sticky ball, or a "katamari"(Japanese for clump) to roll things up. Sometimes you roll tiny things up, like paper clips or frogs. Other times you roll up massive things like people, buildings, or boats. Either way, this game uses the idea of the "snowball effect," which means that the more you roll up, the bigger you get. The bigger you are, the bigger things you can pick up. So while you may start off at the tiny size of say, 5cm, you quickly grow by picking things up, and in time, you're 12m, and picking up skyscrapers.

The game is set up into a series of challenges which can be accessed through the hub world. Each challenge has a certain theme, so, for example, if you were to make the planet Neptune, you would specifically be asked to roll up items that relate to the sea, such as fish, boats, swimmers, seaweed, etc. When you are asked to make Venus, you have to roll up hot things, like spicy food, campfires, hot coffee, etc and avoid cold things like slushies, ice cream, snowmen, and others. And of course, you have a strict time limit when you take a challenge, so you must always be aware of how much time you have to get big, especially because the King will be very displeased with you should you fail...

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The control scheme of the game is perhaps just as simple as your typical fare on the Wii, with the main two buttons being the analog sticks, which you use to roll in all different directions. This makes Katamari a surprisingly easy game to pick up and play, however, that doesn't mean this game is without its challenges. You have other moves which you can preform, such as the Katamari dash, which is done by charging the analog sticks up and down to "wind" the Katamari up, then release to send the Katamari on a high speed dash across the terrain, picking up tons of items as you go. Beautiful Katamari also gives you ability to do a full turn around by simply clicking down on both of the sticks, making it easier to move should you get stuck in a corner. Other subtle options the controls give you include the ability to hold down RT to stop and look around at all of your funky surroundings, and a fast click of a button even allows you to take pictures on the go!

As with all Katamari games, Beautiful Katamari features a funky array of techno and jazz tracks done by Japanese artists. While the music may seem slightly strange, you'll find that it suits the game perfectly, and even gets you in a funky mood as you go around rolling things up. The sound effects are interesting as well. While the main characters don't speak with voices, the creatures and people you roll up will moan and scream in some very odd and often funny ways, adding to the overall humor of the game.

Another nice thing about the game is that it features a plethora of challenges and hidden prizes for those who are skilled enough to pursue them. In terms of challenges-there are plenty-each are tailored to certain stages or certain play schemes. For example, the King of All Cosmos will give you points for how big your Katamari is. Get 100 points, and you'll get an unlimited time limit for that stage. Also, you'll find that if you reach certain sizes, you'll find various hidden "presents" throughout the stage, which turn out to be various costume pieces for the Prince. You'll also find other "cousins", which are related to the prince, which can also be played. Both the presents and cousins are very interesting, and with nearly a hundred of them hidden, it gives the game tons of replay value.

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Lastly, the game also features both local and internet multiplayer modes, in which you can go head to head against others to see who can pick up the most of a certain item. While these modes aren't terribly huge, they can be fun, especially when ramming into your opponent to steal their hard-earned items. The internet also features global leaderboards which display the best sizes for each stage. While the multiplayer and online options aren't terrible huge, and can get slightly dull after a while, they are definitely a welcome addition to the game.

The only problem I have with this game lies with the fact that I've played both of the games that preceeded it. Beautiful Katamari is almost exactly the same as the games before it, with almost no new aspects except for different challenges and the prizes. Now if you love the old games, this is just more of what we already loved-but you can't help but think that they could shake up the challenges a bit...maybe compete against other rollers? Or maybe have other objectives besides just getting as big as possible. These things would be nice, and would be great in a sequel. Of course, this qualm is a small one, as I love the game. And to those of you who have never played a Katamari game, you won't even notice.

Conclusion
For those of you who are bored with shooters, RPGs, Survival Horror, or any of the other traditional game styles, you will find Beautiful Katamari to be anything but traditional. The game play is original, the art is fun, and the story and characters are hilarious. All of these things come together to make a gaming experience which is both refreshing and exciting. To those of you who want a game that breaks the mold, gives you a challenge, and offers a ton of replay value, look no further than Beautiful Katamari.

SCORE
Presentation: 8.0
The game is funky, cute, and just plain fun to look at. It has a uniquely Japanese vibe to it, which is always interesting. The menus are simple, clean, and relatively easy to use.

Graphics: 8.5
Cel-Shaded graphics give this game a highly stylized look which is similar to its predecessors. While the look does get a boost from the 360's graphic technology, it is still very similar to the PS2 version. But then again, in a game like this, do you want amazing graphics?

Sound: 8.5
Japanese techno and jazz mix well with all out crazy sounds as you roll up both people and animals. The King of All Cosmos keeps his "record scratching" voice which adds to the games funkiness.

Gameplay: 8.0
Simple, simple, simple. Use the analog sticks to move around, and to perform other techniques. Anyone can pick this up, but it requires more skill than you might think. Some more moves might have been good though, hm?

Lasting Appeal: 8.5
With literally a ton of prizes and cousins to discover in a massive world, you'll be looking forever if you want to. There are about 10 challenges, which can be completed in a few hours if you rush. Online modes and Downloadable challenges will add to the overall playability.

OVERALL: 8.4

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PostSubject: Re: REVIEW: Beautiful Katamari   Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:57 pm

*eyes glimmer*

I <3 Katamari.

What a beautiful Review! Wow, it's almost as if you stole it from IGN or something. Beautiful Katamari is the epitome of Japanese sub culture. The music is great, the color scheme (aka overall art design) is so funky it's almost like it's from another planet. It's so much fun to roll up cute little japanese trinkets, half the fun of the game is just looking at the scenery of the beautifully crafted 'levels'. If you haven't played this game I think you should at least give it a try.

I <3 Katamari.

*off topic:
Can someone explain to me how I can add an avatar and signature?
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PostSubject: Re: REVIEW: Beautiful Katamari   Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:11 am

Finally! Someone else who shares my Katamari passion! Yes, I agree...i LOVE the funky style and color schemes...half the fun of the game is discovering which items you'll roll up next, and enjoying the scenery! Which ones have you played if you don't mind me asking?

btw, I'll send you a PM with instructions. Cool

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PostSubject: Re: REVIEW: Beautiful Katamari   Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:18 am

dang your review has blown all my reviews out of the water big time

however i just dont think that this game will keep my interested long enough to finish it and i still have a lot that i need to finish also

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PostSubject: Re: REVIEW: Beautiful Katamari   Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:36 pm

o one more thing i think its funny how you would go on and on about hardcore games this and that and then you review this and now im confused on what games you REALLY like Razz

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PostSubject: Re: REVIEW: Beautiful Katamari   Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:41 pm

psssh I see how it is! Well, I said I liked some "casual" games...but I swear, this game gets a little tougher than you think! geek

I'm telling you, the King is very strict...he doesn't give you a 100 point score unless you give him one hell of a performance...and that's tough to do! tongue

I'll have to write a review on a hard-core game next. santa

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PostSubject: Re: REVIEW: Beautiful Katamari   Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:48 pm

ForsakenLament 04 wrote:

I'll have to write a review on a hard-core game next. santa


or finish the 2 that you started but did not finish Evil or Very Mad

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