As silly as it sounds, I could always really relate to the Prince of All Cosmos
- Classic gameplay; wonderful music; interesting new visual style
- Same old, same old; controls (still) take some getting used to
Hey, I love Katamari as much as the next guy, but only a few new levels? Laaaaaaaame. I'll save my money for the next one.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
The poor guy works so incredibly hard, has restored the galaxy numerous times, and does he get any a thank you? A pat on the back? No. Just "it's not good enough" from the narcissistic King. It's just not fair. You hear me, Dad?! I DON'T NEED YOUR APPROVAL ANYMORE!!!
Insert "Keep Rolling" Pun Here
When I first watched the debut trailer for Katamari Forever in the GamePro office, I didn't really know what to make of it. It was certainly the same Katamari I've known and loved for years, but was it really doing anything different, new or unique? Before I could complain, a co-worker watched from over my shoulder, remarking, "It's good to see that they're treating this one like a tribute instead of a re-imagining." I couldn't have put it better.
One of the working titles for Namco's zany roll-a-thon actually was, rather simply, Katamari Damacy Tribute. If this doesn't tell you what to expect from this game, you might want to stop reading now. Katamari Forever doesn't re-invent the wheel - or, in this case, the Katamari (yeah, I went there) - but it's still an incredibly unique and fun-filled experience for fans new and old to the Prince's plight.
Katamari Forever more or less dumps you in the role of an intergalactic dung beetle. Your father, the King of All Cosmos has, once again, gotten himself into another crazy accident (this time voiding the man's/deity's memory) leaving nobody to reign over the stars. Enter the Prince and his colorful cast of cousins, who take it upon themselves to create Robo King, a Voltron-esque mechanical re-working of their beloved patriarch. As soon as the metallic menace's flip is switched, he takes to the skies and (surprise!) destroys the stars. Now, as the Prince, you take up your Katamari once more in order to re-build the solar system one star at a time.
Insert "How We Roll" Pun Here
Series veterans will have no problem controlling the Prince. While the basics haven't changed, a new move has been added to the Prince's arsenal - jump. I know, I know - Mario pretty much pioneered jumping, and that was back on the NES, so why should anyone get excited over it now? Well, while it isn't revolutionary by any means, it certainly helps the Prince get to hard-to-reach places and makes the tiring process of star creation a tiny bit simpler. I did have a slight bit of trouble piloting the Prince once he was airborne, but if you get a good roll going before you take flight, it's really not too difficult to master.
Now, one of the most debatable points about Katamari Forever is that it really doesn't offer too much else exclusively outside of the ability to hop. The new graphical style is certainly interesting, looking pretty good (or about as good as Katamari's going to look) in HD. Several new filters, including a cartoon-style cel-shading engine as well as a wood block styled artsy look are certainly worth checking out, but it really doesn't add (or detract) too much from the game. One of the biggest splitting points in Forever rests on the shoulders of the game's level selection. While there are plenty of levels to choose from, almost all of them are recycled from past Katamari games, leaving only a small handful of new ones. Seeing the game as a tribute certainly puts this into perspective, but be warned that if you buy Forever without doing any research, there's a good chance that you've been there/rolled that. Katamari Forever doesn't feature any online multiplayer, but the offline co-op is certainly a step up from the somewhat stale offering in Beautiful Katamari .
While I still had a blast with Katamari Forever, there was no shrugging off that lingering sensation of deja vu. While Forever is still a fine offering that die-hard fans will certainly enjoy, the lack of new content really put a dent in the game's overall enjoyment value for me. While the game's memorable tunes (re-mixed for Forever) are just as catchy as they've ever been, and the bizarre visual style just as zany as you remember it, I can only suggest Katamari Forever to beginners who are trying to figure out what all the fuss is about, or long-time fans that are long overdue for a trip down memory lane. No matter which camp you belong to, Katamari Forever remains a charming and addictive experience through and through.
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