Me & My Katamari Reader Review
First of all, I never played any of the previous Katamari games, so this user review should be read as a probable reaction from someone who made his/her first contact with Katamari gameplay through Me & My Katamari. I am trying to judge this game on basis of its own merits, not making a comparison to other games of this franchise from another platform, and especially not trying to turn what should be a game review into a rant.
The Wonderful Royal Family
The intro of the game consists of a whacky clip featuring the royal family. Judging from it, one would expect a surreal, amusing game. Then the prologue begins.
One hears, in a very snobbish voice "The all-seeing King of All Cosmos and the wonderful royal family have come on down to Earth for a well-deserved, wet and wild tropical summer vacation". Unfortunately, as the King swims, he causes a tidal wave, leaving many animals homeless... Meaning it is up to the 5 cm tall Prince to roll up things and provide the King with enough material to recreate the islands, in order to give the poor helpless animals a new home.
Right then, off to the tutorial level. The first impression one gets from the controls is one of extreme complexity, since things have presumably been mapped from dual analog sticks in the original games to the d-pad and the face buttons in the PSP version, giving rise to strange combinations of up+cross or down+triangle (quick turning) for example. It might actually be a good idea to practice in the tutorial a few times, until the controls feel right. And rest assured, they do make sense, and will feel intuitive soon enough.
The graphics are in between cutesy/blocky, but decently animated, featuring realistic physics on the Katamari movement, and the music is really funny. There's also plenty of sounds effects, such as the panic cries of people and animals you also happen to roll onto the Katamari. There's lots of tongue-in-cheek humour, with the likes of the King ocasionally commenting on what we roll up. Priceless.
Loading times are pretty good, considering the horrible seek time of the UMD reader. about 20 seconds to boot the game, and load times around 5 seconds for the rest. A shame that sometimes the game is interrupted, though it's never significantly for long.
Mechanics and progression
The menu consists of an interface in which you move the little prince around an island (created by the King after the tutorial level) and interact with objects to access typical menu options as well as unlocked levels. There is some freedom in the order in which the missions are completed, as there are more than one level available at a time, not to mention that cleared levels can also be replayed at any time. Each mission consists of rolling up certain kinds of objects in the Katamari, or reaching certain diameters, within a time limit. And the gameplay can get quite challenging indeed. In fact, one is even encouraged to replay all the cleared levels, in order to hunt down the hidden presents and cousins. Should the Prince (or one of his playable cousins) fail to meet the level requirements, the King will show some tough love.
There is an ad-hoc multiplayer mode available for up to four people (good luck finding the remaining three players who own both a PSP and this game), as well as wireless presents exchange.
We need to talk, Prince
I finally understood what was all that hype surrounding Katamari about. The way you first creep around in between peoples' legs while your Katamari is still small, only to later on be able to roll them up as well, is amazingly fun. Port or no port, this game has proven to be quite addictive.
We like it, yes.
8 / 10