I say the weirdest things when I’m playing Katamari games. I’ll be running around with my teeny Katamari ball, trying to roll up every itty bitty thing I can find, when a great line of penguins comes waddling over, and I’m stuck yelling at the TV, “No, penguin! Move, you freakin’ waddling bastard!” Meanwhile, the lead penguin is bumping into me, and I go flying into who knows where, and I’m suddenly trapped in the land of the cactus plants, when I’m supposed to be rolling up things with a Rich feel. Next thing you know, I’m screaming, “Aah! Sumo! Whoa, crap, sea otter!” But that’s all par for the course for Katamari, isn’t it?
Lately, I’ve been playing Beautiful Katamari, which I got from Xbox Live’s Games on Demand for $29.99. Its 13 levels work out to about $2.30 per level, which is pretty good, but I definitely would have been unhappy to buy it new for $60. Most of the levels are recycled; there are only a handful of starting areas, and most of those starting areas all eventually move toward the same areas. Katamari Damacy and We <3 Katamari seemed to have tons of unique levels, like rolling up a huge snowman in a snowy area and rolling up all flowers in a garden setting, and that was on the Playstation 2.
Beautiful Katamari is just, for the most part, a roll-up-things-until-you-get-at-least-this-big-in-this-much-time kind of game. There are still presents and cousins to roll up, and the idea of rolling things up into a big ball is still entertaining, so it’s not a bust of a game, but it feels lacking — disappointing and maybe a little hollow. If they had added 5-10 more unique levels, the game would probably have felt complete. The current product just looks rushed, and the for-pay DLC levels just look like a greedy remedy to that symptom.
Finally, to really annoy me, Katamari Forever for the Playstation 3 has a whopping 34 levels, including both new and recycled levels from the previous titles with a new spin. I’m so jealous. Anyone want to buy me a PS3 for my birthday?