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Katamari Forever Review


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On 09/29/2009 at 03:27 PM by Chessa DiMola

Rolling a katamari has never been so much fun, even if there are still a few speed bumps in the road.
RECOMMENDATION:

Every Katamari fan should own this game without question. For those who have been teetering on the edge of springing for just the right katamari game, you’ll find everything and more in Katamari Forever.

It seems like, no matter which Katamari game I play, nothing I do is ever good enough for We. I roll a Katamari big enough to roll him up, and he still insults me…or shoots lasers at me. I thought things might be different this time around with Katamari Forever, since I have had over five years to craft my skill, but all I found in the end were ruder, and even more cleverly worded insulting comments coming from not one, but TWO King of All Cosmos.

We, Us, or whatever the very endowed King of All Cosmos wants to call himself has always been an interesting character ever since players were first introduced to him on the PS2 with Katamari Damacy. This time around he finds himself in the unfortunate position of being knocked out cold and the whole universe scrambles about to build a robot replacement to take his place while he spends his time in dream land. However, through a slight miscalculation, the robot king instead of managing the cosmos, winds up destroying up them.

Perhaps that last scenario sounds familiar? Well that would be because that is exactly how the very first Katamari Damacy began, with the king getting drunk and accidentally destroying the entire cosmos. This similarity in plot line establishes the premise for Katamari Forever, as all of the levels have been split into two sections: The Real King and The Robot King.

The first set of levels lie within the unconscious king himself, and are solely comprised of levels seen in previous Katamari titles. Just to name a few examples there is the “Hansel and Gretel” level, where players roll up the gingerbread house. There’s also the sumo wrestler level, firefly level, original “Roll up the Moon” level, and one of my most loathed levels ever, rolling Ursa Minor and Ursa Major. While it was nice getting to roll around older levels, especially to the fantastic remixes of classic Katamari tunes, it was the new levels I was really interested in.

The robot king’s levels are a bit different as they also contain some older levels but mostly new ones. In my opinion the greatest Katamari levels were always those that allowed players to build their Katamaris to ridiculous proportions, and the robot king levels are full of them. There are also some unique levels that don’t just involve rolling up objects. My absolute favorite was a level that consisted of reviving a dry, barren land to life by watering it with the katamari. Not only was this level simply gorgeous, but watching all the flora spring to life around me made me as giddy as a child.

New levels aren’t the only things that Katamari Forever has to offer, in fact there’s a whole list of brand new features. The first, and my absolute favorite, is Drive Mode.

This is fan service at its best right here, as players can now navigate their katamaris at blazing speeds throughout a level. I can’t even describe the feeling of rolling around the world at giant size ripping up land, and clouds from the sky when your katamari is moving like a racecar. It really is just that amazing.

Another new feature is the Broken Hearts. Now there are two different kinds of these hidden within levels, each of which has a different effect. The first type of broken heart sends everything within the general area which is small enough to be picked up flying onto the katamari as if there were some intense magnetic effect. The second broken heart turns the katamari into a timed-vacuum that sucks up all objects small enough to be picked up within a certain range. The broken hearts are a wonderful addition to the Katamari series, and definitely come in handy when faced with a particularly challenging level.

In addition to both of these brand new features, there is also a great new soundtrack with classic remixed tracks added in, beautiful graphical filters that you simply have to see to understand the allure of, and a wonderful new jump ability that’s supposed to be performed using Sixaxis controls. Now I’m only going to say this once so listen up. Ready? DO NOT USE THE SIXAXIS CONTROL! No one wants you to break your nice fifty dollar remote out of frustration. There’s an alternative - pushing the R2 Button. So it’ll be alright, I promise. On a more serious note, there are good and bad aspects to having the jump. The bad, is that the katamari can no longer be rolled up non-smooth inclines like a ladder, and the jump is not accurate enough to pull off precision aiming. On the other hand, the jump works wonders towards giving the katamari a little speed boost.

While Katamari Forever is a wonderfully fun time, it saddens me to report that it still suffers from many of the same vices as its predecessors: namely sluggish and sometimes unresponsive turning, the Katamari getting stuck and unable to be unstuck, and by far the most frustrating to see, slowdown. While the first two issues have become staples of the series that veterans have simply learned to work around, the severe slowdown can make the gameplay incredibly frustrating, especially when trying to move with absolute precision.

Despite its few flaws, Katamari Forever is an amazing addition to the series. It brings so many wonderful new aspects to the table while still retaining all the charm and magic that made Katamari Damacy so original and unique right from the get-go. Katamari Forever is without a doubt, the ultimate Katamari experience.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Jason Ross Senior Editor

09/29/2009 at 04:08 PM

I <3 Katamari.

Once my roommate gets a PS3, this will be the game I pick up.

Also, I love the way the Katamari controls, even the "getting stuck" and issues turning. It's probably exactly what you say, as a Katamari fan, I've learned to deal with it.

Our Take

Lauren Lewandoski Staff Alumnus

10/01/2009 at 11:29 AM

want want want want want want want want.

Has Katamari ever failed to please (on console, at least)?

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