‘Beautiful Katamari’ Xbox 360 Review

November 9, 2009 § Leave a comment

Seen Akira? Seen that bit where Tetsuo starts devouring the planet? Okay, well, this is kind of like that, but a lot less terrifying and a lot more humorous.
Essentially, you are placed in around a dozen or more bizarre, earthbound stages where you have to roll this ball around that picks up stuff. As the ball grows in size, the player opens up new sections of the level and is able to roll over and absorb larger items – from normal household furniture to people to entire continents! There is usually some sort of time limit, some optional goals and a target you have to achieve to pass the level. The controls are mostly constrained to the twin joysticks on the pad, and this does take some getting used to, but you’ll be a pro by the time you get to those last few levels.

And that’s part of the problem: just when you’re getting the hang of it, it’s all over. There are challenges, items to collect, etc., but a lot of the levels are recycled. Worse still, there are several levels that are suspected to be on the disk but can only be unlocked through paying for them via Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Several achievements also require that you pay for the pleasure to unlock them and, sadly, this puts a taint on the overall experience.
Despite the bad taste left in my mouth by Bandai’s obvious greed, everybody should at least try one of the Katamari games. The gameplay is fun, challenging and addictive; the music is a fantastic collection of bouncy J-pop songs; and the art style, combined with excellent localization for the dialogue and text, sets the game apart from everything else currently out there.

Rent Beautiful Katamari – it’s just too bloody weird to ignore.

(299 words.)

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