Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Top 52: Katamari Damacy (#27)

Katamari Damacy is by far the best game on the Playstation 2. If you have this system, you absolutely MUST own this game. Read on to find out why.

Title: Katamari Damacy
Console: Playstation 2
Release Date: 09/22/04
Genre: Puzzle Action?
My Ranking: #27

With so many games that have come and gone it is rare to find a game that is as unique as Katamari Damacy. In Katamari Damacy, you control a little green prince who pushes a ball called a katamari. This ball is able to pick up anything that is smaller than itself and upon picking that object up it gets progressively bigger in size. Basically, you playing a a game that revovles around the snowball effect.

Why are you rolling up objects on planet Earth? Well, the American version of Katamari omits this knowledge but the Japanese version gives an awesome backstory. The King of all Cosmos apprently got REALLY drunk one night and destroyed all of the stars in the universe. In order to cover up his mistake, he sent his son, the Prince of all Cosmos, to Earth to roll up objects with his katamari. Upon recieveing those objects, the King of all Cosmos shoots the ball into space and turns it into a star. Yes, our stars are made of thumbtacks, cats, legos, and volcanos.

Aside from the water, EVERYTHING in Katamari Damacy can be picked up with your ball. A dog early on may be able to push you around but once you gain enough objects you'll be able to pick up him. A level may start out inside of a house but, if you are fast enough and pick up enough stuff, you'll be able to then roll up the entire house. The camera slowly pans out further and further as you pick up more objects and before you know it, you're picking up entire islands, clouds, and even rainbows.

As if the premise wasn't good enough, the cel-shaded graphics add even more to the gameplay. Katamari Damacy looks and feels like Japanese mangas on crack. The world is vibrant with bright colors and the sheer cuteness of the people as they wiggle when you pick them up in your ball will make you smile. I don't understand why people are necessary in a katamari to make a star, but the King of all Cosmos never seems to mind.

The music and sounds are also top notch. Sure, some of it is whacky J-Pop, but the Japanese jazz pieces will absolutely blow your mind. All of the songs fit perfectly with the cutesy birght environment and they are all insanely catchy. Upon hearing the main theme, there is no doubt that it will stick in your head for days. Also, nothing beats rolling over a cow and here it go moo. That's just awesome.

Katamari Damacy does have competitive multiplayer, but I never really enjoyed it. I wished they would have had some sort of cooperative mode where you each get a ball to control, but the game can be enjoyed with multiple people in single player mode. Your friends will scream out where they think you're supposed to go and there is so much stuff happening on the screen at once that you'll even enjoy sitting back and watching the madness ensue.

By no means is Katamari Damacy easy either. There is a timer for each level and if you do not get your ball big enough in the alloted time, the King will be very angry with you. You'll fail some levels if you haven't played it before, but by the end of the game you should be good enough to complete the final stage where you roll up just about everything in the world. In addition, in order to unlock all of the comets, you'll need to get your ball big enough in an even shorter time, and some of the comet times will keep you playing for hours.

Katamari was really a complete and unique game. Whenever we bring this to PLAY events, people always want to play it or watch someone else run through the levels. So if you are a PS2 owner, do yourself a favor and pick this game up as anyone can enjoy this game. It made be one of the best game purchases you have ever made.
My Top 52:
#52 --- Star Fox 64 (N64)
#51 --- Kirby's Adventure (NES)
#50 --- Roller Coaster Tycoon (PC)
#49 --- Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)
#48 --- Metroid Prime (GC)
#47 --- Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
#46 --- Bomberman 64 (N64)
#45 --- Guitar Hero II (PS2)
#44 --- Super Street Fighter II (GEN)
#43 --- Pokemon Puzzle League (N64)
#42 --- Soul Calibur II (GC)
#41 --- Gears of War (Xbox 360)*
#40 --- Elite Beat Agents (DS)
#39 --- Call of Duty 4 (PS3)
#38 --- Super Metroid (SNES)
#37 --- The Orange Box (PS3)*
#36 --- Metal Gear Solid (PS)
#35 --- Doom (PC)
#34 --- Super Mario Kart (SNES)
#33 --- Mischief Makers (N64)
#32 --- Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
#31 --- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)
#30 --- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All (DS)
#29 --- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (GC)
#28 --- F-Zero (SNES)
#27 --- Katamari Damacy (PS2)*

*- Denotes highest ranked game for that console


Shawn R. said...

I totally agree on this review. This game is amazing from beginning to end, from the music, to the visuals, to the gameplay, etc. Can't wait to play through it again.

I think the most overlooked aspect of awesomeness of this game is the basic premise. Who the hell could have thought this up . . . and how does one get to hang out with them?

Your review does a good job of explaining the premise sensibly, but honestly, outside of the written word, trying to explain this game to an outsider who knows nothing about it is extremely challenging. I remember when you first told me about it I just sort of cringed saying it sounded ridiculous, and then when I played it I was instantly engrossed.

Innovative, well-executed, great looking, infectious sounding, long and replayable. The hallmarks of a fantastic game.

ultima301 said...

Two problems with Katamari: one is it had camera issues like crazy, especially at the smaller levels. It's really easy to get it locked behind objects and you'll struggle to see where you are. The other is it's very short. You can beat it in two sittings, not even long ones, and the only replay value is improving your times / sizes. Of course, the absurd and hilarious premise, the perfect controls and epic music more than make up for the shortcomings. Not to mention its bargain big pricing, a release at $20 I believe.

The real problem is, Katamari is the highest PS2 game on your list? MGS2? MGS3? KH1? RE4? Burnout 1/3? Ico? SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS??? *shakes head furiosly*

ultima301 said...

Er, furiously* . Also, DMC1/3? I should stop doing this, I might never stop listing all the AAA PS2 titles >.<

Richard R. said...


MGS series- Good but overrated IMO.

Burnout series- I'm not a racing fan.

Resident Evil series- Never liked any of them. I don't like Zombie games or survival games.

Kingdom Hearts- You got a point here. However, I played KH once, loved it but never played it again. It's a snub on my list. Somewhere in the high 50's, I think.

Ico- Awesome game, not one of my favorites. Ico was really annoying at times.

Shadow of the Colossus- Another HUGE snub on my list. High 50's as well. I liked this game a lot, but I played it very very late (last year). So I wasn't awestruck by it's beauty as much as I should have been. Poor controls and a lack of replayability made it not reach my Top52. I appreciate this game a lot though, and I give it MAD props for what it was at its time.

And you didn't even mention God of War if want to throw out another awesome PS2 game. That is somewhere in the 60s on my list.

And yeah, you're right, PS2 had a crapload of AAA titles and I always thought it was an overrated system.

Also keep in mind that these are MY PERSONAL favorite games and I'm aware that my perceptions of these games and how I enjoy them are definitely influenced by my age at the time. And since I grew up playing SNES and N64, most games are from that group. That doesn't make a Nintendo fanboy persay, it's just what I played.

This is what is fun about lists though, you can bitch at them.

We got different tastes in games dude. That's what it comes down to really.

Shawn R. said...

Dude, I really have to put up a Shawn's Top Ten Snub List. The God of War omission is just criminal.

Lima said...




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