We Love Katamari - Does It Hold Up?
Touch My Katamari is easily one of the top games to watch out for if you plan on owning the PlayStation Vita. After delivering several successful entries in the Katamari series, Namco Bandai is now delivering a fresh new iteration on Sony's upcoming handheld. The game will feature new mechanics that allow you to shrink and stretch your katamari using touch controls. This certainly sounds like a lot of fun, and Touch My Katamari is definitely a game I would love to get my hands on right at launch.
In the meantime, however, I thought I'd check out an older entry in the series. I decided to give We Love Katamari a spin. Despite having it in my video game collection for years, I had never actually played We Love Katamari. So when I decided to tackle the game for my Does It Hold Up? series, I realized that not only was the game going to take on the test of time, but it was also going to be faced with my own expectations. How exactly did We Love Katamari fare?
The first thing I noticed about We Love Katamari was the over-the-top style. The music, the sound, the storytelling, and the characters--all over-the-top. But they're not over-the-top in a bad way. No, they're purposely over-the-top, which really adds to the game's overall personality. And believe me when I say that We Love Katamari has a lot of personality.
You play as the Prince of All Cosmos (or one of his many cousins), and it is up to you to appease your odd father, the King of All Cosmos. The people of Earth have requests, and it is up to you to respond to their requests and do as they say. Why? Because your dad is crazy and weird. Like, really, really weird. At times he seems drunk, but he may just be an eccentric fellow. Whatever the case may be, it is up to you to please the King of all Cosmos and his Earth-dwelling fans.
How do you please everyone? It's simple: You just roll up a sticky katamari and collect anything and everything that sticks to it. That's it. That's the entire premise of We Love Katamari. It's simple, it isn't complex, and it's not very challenging. But you know what? That's OK, because We Love Katamari is a totally cathartic experience that's loads of fun and addictive as heck. The game's mechanics aren't very deep, but they still manage to provide hours of sweet, blissful fun.
I couldn't stop playing We Love Katamari, and I got through the single-player mode in a day. The simple act of rolling up a katamari and watching as it got bigger and bigger with everything I collected was almost therapeutic. More than anything, though, it was just enjoyable and it kept me hungry for more. The game's lovely color usage and upbeat soundtrack, which consists of swing, J-Pop, and J-Rock tunes, really hit the spot and kept me going throughout the entire game. This combination of elements fit perfectly like puzzle pieces--loud, bright, and wonderful little puzzle pieces.
As simple as it may be, We Love Katamari is also very unique. With the exception of the other games in the series, there's nothing quite like We Love Katamari. It's insane just how fun it is trying to make your katamari grow so you can collect larger objects (and in some cases animals and people). And even though the game may not be very difficult at its core, there's a lot to do in the game that does provide an ample challenge. For example, the King will pretty much criticize and berate you if you don't clear a level in a certain amount of time, or he'll poke fun at your katamari, saying it could be bigger. The challenge is there for gamers who want it, but you can play this game as you see fit.
There are also cooperative and competitive modes which add to the fun and are pretty quirky in their own right. We Love Katamari's single-player mode will last you roughly five or six hours, but with the King's high expectations and the addition of two-player modes, there's a lot here to really keep you entertained for a while. If you've never played a Katamari game before, you really can't go wrong with We Love Katamari. Alternatively, if you're waiting for something to prep you for Touch My Katamari, this PlayStation 2 gem is a magnificently worthy candidate. Heck, if you've never had any intention of playing a Katamari game in your life, get off your high horse and enjoy this game. It's so freakin' fun!
The verdict: We Love Katamari is a game that people who love having fun should play. It's as simple as that. Play it and join the legions of gamers who love Katamari!