When given the task of reviewing Katamari Forever I knew that I would be taken for a ride into the Japanese culture. Needless to say I was not disappointed when the introduction movie looked like something you would experience after a shroom induced therapy session. However that doesn’t take away from the fun of it at all, the opposite is true as the environments, tasks, and characters lend themselves to a very quirky and fun game.
The Katamari game stays true to its nature and roots as the King, Queen, and Prince of the Cosmos take center stage. This time, however, the King has lost his memory and in a hurried attempt to restore order to the galaxy the Prince and cousins build a Robo King which ultimately does more damage than aid. You are again tasked with rolling up things based on a specific theme given to you by either the King or Robo King to be turned into stars. Levels and environments are separated into two different sections, one area for Robo King and another for the real King. Delivered in a storybook fashion, the menu and overall feeling is childish, young, and playful. The art style of the game remains from the last game in its simple, sketch-esq style. Advertised on the box is the game’s ability to display at 1080p but the ability seems lost in the simplicity of the game’s style.
Playing the game was simple enough but ultimately hindered with its clunky controls and inability to change those controls. To move the Katamari forward both analog sticks needed to be pushed forward and pulling back on one stick at a time would change your person’s position. This set up seemed counter-productive as it would take some time to change position when time is not your biggest asset. A control setup of moving the Katamari with the left stick and camera with the right would seem like a better fit for this game. KF does make use of the Sixaxis controls and they are appropriately infused with the game. Jumping is limited to flicking the controller up but is not entirely responsive some of the time. Other than that the Sixaxis is not used for anything else. See? Appropriate.
As you progress throughout the Cosmos you will find little gifts which will turn out to be useful instruments and even cousins. Cousins allow you to change character for as long as you want. Whether or not these cousins have a 1+ on each other had yet to be determined but from what I experienced it seemed that they did not. Playing through each level was interesting and fun as they had a variable of things mixed into them. The places and locations you visit open up into new areas making it all the more worthwhile to travel about and not focus your attention in one room. The environment sounds are clear and well done as well as the music accompanying each level. Before you start each level you can choose which artist or song you wish to listen to while amassing a mess of things.
Between levels you can be greeted with either a clip from the Jumbomen or the activities of the Queen of all Cosmos. Both add to the quirky feel of the game but are funny in their own way. Robo King I put down to having emotional issues and insecurity since he had destroyed all the stars. This self loathing did seem to get in the way as I played the game because despite my best efforts he seemed impossible to please.
My overall feeling of the game was that of being amused and laughing at the random events that seemed to have no purpose. Katamari Forever is a game that is made to distract you from all the more serious games and let you enjoy the moment of random thoughts and that of a creative mind. However it is not a distraction worth $60. At the very best it seems to be worth $30 off the PSN. If you are a fan of Katamari or love the abstract and off beat games the Katamari team creates then you will enjoy this latest installment. But for all intensive purposes your money would best be kept in your wallet for other game that have a more complete or compelling feel to them.