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Beautiful Katamari
Review By: Eric Rehm
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Genre: Action
ESRB: Everyone
# Of Players: 1-2 (2-4 online)
Online Play: Yes
Accessories: Xbox Live (online play), HDTV 720p
Buy Now: Buy Beautiful Katamari at Amazon.com!

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Beautiful Katamari is the true spiritual successor to the Katamari Damacy game for PS2, because the second iteration, We Love Katamari, didn’t quite live up to expectations. BK is basically a copy of Katamari Damacy, just enhanced and released for the Xbox 360. So, how does it fare on the Xbox 360?

The general content of the game is exactly the same as previous installments. You take control of the Prince of all Cosmos, a quirky little guy who rolls around a Katamari, a ball that picks up everything it touches. As the player you roll up everything in your path, getting bigger and bigger to fulfill each quest.

The story starts with the King of all Cosmos putting a black hole in the universe with a stray tennis shot. The randomness continues, as most of the universe is then sucked through the black hole. The King then makes it your job to collect balls of various sizes and consistencies to remake the stars and planets. This is where this game differs from the original, and unfortunately it's one of the biggest problems with this game

Beautiful Katamari

In the original Katamari you were allowed to pick up whatever you wanted. You were left to your own devices to roam and have fun, one of the great things about the original. However, for some reason Namco Bandai decided to make Beautiful Katamari more rigid. Each star has you collecting certain kinds of items: candies, toys, beverages and whatnot. If you don’t collect enough of the item type though, you have to start over. It’s overly frustrating and pointless, detracting from the free-rolling fun from the original.

The next problem, and this is only a minor gripe, revolves (Ha-ha, a rolling joke, get it?) around the graphics. This game is on Xbox 360, yet the graphics look barely better than its PS2 brethren. While some may say that the graphics are quirky and the art style and direction are meant for it to be that way, that’s not an excuse. There are a large number of jaggies, and a number of clipping issues here and there. This does give it the feel of the original game though, which could be a compliment if you loved that. It would have been nice to update the graphics though, just by a little bit at least.

Beautiful Katamari

The only other problem I had with the game was the controls. This was also a minor gripe, but something that fans of the original will notice. The rolling is very jerky, and a lot harder to control than before. This could be in part because of the different controller, but I think it’s part of the game itself. However, this really didn’t hurt the game enough to make it unplayable or bad; it’s just a minor issue that people will notice.

Beautiful Katamari is definitely a niche game. Just like it's predecessors, the game doesn’t try to be something itrsquo;s not. It’s just the same quirky gameplay backed up with great music. While the game is basically a rehash of the original Katamari Damacy from the PS2, it’s still a great experience for those who haven’t played a game like this before. This is the kind of game that makes you love gaming, because it’s so unexpected and offbeat, it’s just a treat to play.

Bottom Line:

Besides all the minor flaws, this is a great offbeat game. The music is addictive and entertaining, much better than the music selection from We Love Katamari, and the rolling is almost as good as the classic Katamari Damacy. If you’ve never picked up a Katamari game before and have a next gen console (all signs seem to point to a PS3 version also coming soon), you owe it to yourself to get this game. If you loved the originals, you’ll like this also.

Pros:Cons:Final Score:
  • Same classic Katamari quirkiness
  • Great music
  • Addictive and fun gameplay
  • Minor graphics and control gripes
8.0

Posted: 2008-02-23 12:08:18 PST