We Love Katamari PS2 Review

Defeating any and all odds in the US market, Katamari Damacy raised itself above the usual expectations for such a quirky title. It gained far more fanfare than most games of its type with little or nothing from the marketing department. It did so based on an absurd concept that had to sound even worse in a design meeting.

What's strange is that Katamari Damacy should NOT be fun. It's ridiculous to think that rolling a ball around to pick up strewn objects to create one huge ball would be captivating. Yet, it is, and numerous gaming sites recognized the achievement of creating a totally original concept.

Wisely changing nothing, this sequel doesn't try to expand the concept, upgrade, or change it. It didn't need to be tweaked, at least not a lot. If there was a problem with the first game, it's still here in We Love Katamari. The camera is an issue, the controls needlessly complex, and the music repetitive if you're struggling with a level (or brilliant if you make it through). That's it.

Many people will not realize just how well designed the levels are here either. Generally, it's too involving to realize why these stages are laid out. It's not random objects thrown on a floor. There's reasoning behind it, every little piece acting as a guide to push you through the level, and hopefully to your goal (and without feeling constricted at all).

The only enemy is time. Sure, you can bump into things and lose pieces, but eventually, you'll be big enough to stick them on the ball too. Knowing your limits is crucial, and after a few rounds, you'll have a general idea of what you can nab at what size.

That becomes especially true in the new multi-player, the addition that will either make or break this sequel for most people. This is the feature that makes the most of the otherwise frustrating control scheme, letting two players control a single Katamari (one player steers, one moves backwards or forwards). It's still frustrating, but not in a way that stops you from playing. It leads to practice and teamwork, and all the arguments about which objects to aim for are worth it.

Keeping even a team of frustrated friends together is the style, really the part of the game that makes Katamari a joy. To be blatant, it's bizarre, and that's the only fitting word. It's a pastel dreamland, where humans are made from blocks and the king of the universe couldn't wear anything else more disturbing than his purple tights. Graphics are no better or worse than they were, and they didn't have to be.

With so few changes and an increased price tag, it may not be enough of a change for some people. Those who lauded the original should have no problem. We Love Katamari is perfect for the die-hard demographic, frustrated by the lack of originality in today's gaming market. Everyone else should be sucked in too if they have any concept of simplistic (yet pure) gameplay.

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