Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
08 January 2006
Katamari Damacy: Seen It, Done for Good
Played Katamari Damacy and finished it. In a nutshell, you roll a ball around various landscapes, debris adheres to it, and eventually you turn the ball of junk into a star. Repeat while listening to an upbeat score by a Japanese Hooray for Everything (reference).

Apparently this was enough for most people to give it high scores. I think it's a one-and-a-half trick pony. That is, sticky ball is fun and the ball gets really big. Neat idea, but once I've done it a few times, I don't really find myself caring to go back and visit anymore. Look, I am all for some new game ideas, but I'm not going to mistake simplicity for profundity and babble on for 2,000 words just because a game's different.

Anyway, I checked the usual suspects to see what they said. Here are some review quotes that leave me shaking my head.
Katamari Damacy has a formidable amount of replay value, though, simply because the whole experience is so much fun, and each level is so crammed with tiny details that you don't feel like you've seen it all just by playing through it once. --GameSpot review
I'm sorry, "formidable replay value"? There is nothing like that here. New 3D models of junk? Faster goal completion? Larger finishing radius? This is interesting?
And the audio? The audio's more of a 10 and a 10. It's not the most technically brilliant collection of scores ever devised, but not since Mario created its everlasting tune have we heard tracks so catchy and so genuine. -- IGN review
Not even Parappa? Castlevania: Symphony of the Night? Metal Gear Solid? There are plenty of games I'll remember the music to before I remember Katamari Damacy. Maybe you guys just played this game a bit too much?
Still, you're left wanting more. -- GameSpy review
I think this reviewer meant "I want more of the same thing". That's crazy. That's like saying "After one game of Tic-Tac-Toe I was left wanting more [games of Tic-Tac-Toe]".

I'm left wanting more, that's for sure, but it's not more of this game. I'm done.
--Matt Matthews at 14:33
Comment [ 7 ]

Comments on this post:

Yes, I am unfortunately console-less and although Katamari warranted a sequel, it somehow doesn't warrant any damn ports.

So I haven't played, but of course I hear about it all. the. time. And it sounds original, but I just can't imagine how it could be such a great game by listening to the descriptions of it.

I had a similar experience with the Sims. It was really neat, but once I snapped out of the frantic busy-work cycle, I asked myself why I was playing this instead of getting real work done, and couldn't come up with an answer. It was like that episode of the Simpsons with the virtual reality gardening game.

By Blogger Casey, at 08 January, 2006 19:08  

I feel the same way. I played the original, and enjoyed it. But when it was done, it was done. I won't play it again, and I have no desire to try the sequel.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 08 January, 2006 23:53  

I think here lies the problem. Many gamers on message board scream for original content, something different. Here is a game that is fun and is definitely different, but then it gets ragged on because it might not drag you back to play it again and again.

Now, I'm biased, I really enjoy the game. But, I don't need to play the game all the time, the game gave me probably 20 hours of playing the levels through a few times each. After that, if I don't play it for a few years, it was still a lot of fun.

I also think this is a great non-gamers game. It's very easy to pick up. So, if you find someone saying that all gaming offers is violence and sex, I pop this in and let them play.

Plus the final level really puts the best the game has to offer. You start out relatively small with huge buildings in the level, by the end, you are rolling up the buildings like they are nothing.

I thought the game had nice progression. It would have been nice to have more levels and more game to it, but I thought this game definitely left you wanting more in all the right ways. So, though I don't see playing this game for 200 hours, I thought it was a very fun experience.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09 January, 2006 10:23  

Formidable definately sounds like hyperbole even to myself, and I'm admitted Katamari addict.

The sequel offers about the same level of replay as the original. It's real bonus is that they twist up some of the gameplay on some of the levels, so that it's more varied as before.

The replay level on either title was certainly well above norm, but that's largely because the design is bent towards beating high scores as opposed to just finishing the game.

You gotta realy find something in the core gameplay, obviously, to want to keep trying to beat your own score. Personally I find Katamari oddly relaxing, so I'm hooked.

By Blogger Josh, at 09 January, 2006 14:27  

I loved Katamari Damacy. It's short and I haven't replayed it. But I found the idea of it just so refreshing, not just the gameplay but the whackiness of the whole thing that I've become quite obsessed by the Katamari universe. As for the soundtrack, it's the only original game soundtrack I've actually listen to outside of playing the game.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09 January, 2006 16:56  

My Parappa replay experience, two weeks ago:

"Lord, these FMV are awful."
"Fuck, I forgot how shitty the controls are in this. And how awful the menu system is."
"Oh man, this frog song is the best."
"What? Four fucking levels then a rehash then one more level and that's it?"

I was drunk and/or high most of the first play-through back in college, so this isn't terribly surprising. My daughter loves the animals, though.


By Blogger Michael, at 09 January, 2006 18:46  

Whoa now, I think we're all forgetting something else here. IT RETAILED FOR $20 NEW.

How many other games of this quality retail at that price point? I think it is a good game, and definitely one that can help bring non-gamers into the fold. Instant classic? Not really, but damn fun while it lasted.

The music is great too, although I can understand why not everyone would love it.

I think the level of hype for the game must be measured against its clear deviation from the norm and its friendly price-point.

I could've spent $20 on a lot of other things I wouldn't have enjoyed as much.

Just got to keep it in perspective.

By Anonymous Boraxplunder, at 10 January, 2006 22:36  

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