What in the hell are you reading this for? Go buy Katamari Damacy right now. Not in over three years have I played something so fun, and I’ve played so many games, I’m out of skin pigmentation to lose. If you haven’t heard, Damacy is a game that almost didn’t make it to American shores, but thanks the people at Namco, we have another quirky Japanese game to call our own.
The game is drenched in Japanese influence, so expect shiny happy music, dancing pandas, and dialog that reads about the same front wards and backwards. Not that this is a bad thing, but for the xenophobes out there, I just thought I’d mention it. For those of you who are allergic to cute, you might also want to stay away. The rest of us can pick this $20 dollar game up and enjoy some good, clean, fun of which the likes we have never seen in America, since the days of Hula-Hoop pushing.
In Katamari Damacy you play as the miniscule Prince of the Universe who has been given the task of repopulating the night sky with stars. It seems your father drank a bit too much sake and destroyed them all. How does one accomplish such a feat, you might ask? Why, by rolling up everyday object and tossing them into the night sky. This is where the unique gameplay comes in, as it is your job to collect as many objects as possible to populate the heavens once more.
The simplicity of the gameplay is a welcome breath of fresh air. Those of us who fondly remember the days of old, when maybe one button was necessary to play a game, you’re going to love Katamari Damacy. You collect things with a super sticky ball, called a damacy, by rolling over them. As you collect more objects your ball grows larger, which in turn allows you to pick up even larger objects. In the beginning of the game you are only capable of picking up small object like thumbtacks, but when your damacy becomes large enough, not even buildings are immune from your righteous rolling wrath. It never becomes any more complex than that, and this simple concept carries the game throughout the entirety. Here is a simple, fun to play game that never gets boring.
The control system is just as easy to use, with absolute no buttons used throughout the entire game. Instead, players use the analog sticks to control the damacy. It’s just as simple as the game, and equally fun to use. You push up to go up, and down to go down…you get the picture. My wife, who mostly plays Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing has taken the controller out of my hand for not rolling fast enough, which should tell you something about the addictiveness of this game. Or it could just say something about my wife. I’m really not sure.
The graphics are the only downside to this game, and to honest I only mention them because some people are way too concerned about how many shades of gray their favorite game can produce. They are definitely N64 quality, which might mean something if the game involved something terribly in depth, which it doesn’t. In fact, the uniqueness of the gameplay also infects the artistic direction, which makes every object in the environment look like LEGO creations. It’s quirky, it’s charming…in short; it’s Katamari Damacy.
If I use the words “quirky” or “unique” again, then the Thesaurus Police are going to bust through my door and make me write 500 lines, so I’ll need to use some other words to describe the sound. Eccentric. The music and sound effects are very eccentric. When you boot up the game you are treated to a little dance routine featuring pandas, flowers and rainbows, with music that will make you smile for the rest of the day. Unless you have some horrible disease, then you might not smile much longer than a couple of hours before the crushing reality of your impending death saps your will to live. The sound effects are nothing major, some minor squeaks and crashing sounds, which go along with the theme. It’s Spartan, enjoyable and utterly amusing.
If you don’t like this game, then I weep for your jaded soul. There is so much fun to be had in pushing around a giant ball of garbage, that I wonder why this concept wasn’t thought of before. Everybody from stoners, to children, to hardcore gamers will find something to enjoy in Katamari Damacy. For $20 you cannot afford to miss out on this game, which is sure to become a huge seller on eBay in just a few short years.
M. Shawn Darnell
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