First Look at Me and My Katamari
Now see why I cringe at the thought of doing such a thing.
"I know you love me? I wanna wad you up into my life? Let's roll up to be a star in the sky? I hear you calling me? I wanna wad you up into my life?"
? ? ? ? (Me and My Katamari)
Uh… right. What should have been the rallying cry of Katamari fans to assemble on the PSP to begin rolling anew becomes a sad cry for help that should never have been.
Here we go, the sadness of what should have been excellence has come, and it is ready to roll up all your expectations into a large ball and burn it up to form the stars in the sky.
True. How could you not love the Katamari? I mean sure, some people are not the biggest fans of the franchise and to them I totally understand. Katamari Damancy and it’s sequel We Love Katamari is not for everybody, and some people are just not the kind to take on The King of All Cosmos, the Dashing Prince, his many cousins, the Queen of the Cosmos and the task of rolling up the world in gigantic balls of stuff (that must then sometimes be burned to create the stars in the sky… ahh… burning things, burning screaming people…)
However, if Katamari Damancy and We Love Katamari might not be the right stuff for some, Me and My Katamari is most certainly not the right stuff for most, including many die hard fans of the franchise (which is a crying shame).
Behold how far the series has fallen! Once the runaway smash hit of the PS2, with two great games that has given players a new addictive twist on the puzzler by providing the players with a simple ball called a “Katamari” upon which they had to roll all things great and small onto the ball to make the mass to create planetary bodies and the stars, has fallen short of expectations as it is made shrinky dink for your Image 1 of 10. Click to enlarge
When intelligent gaming has been washed away in a flood of also ran marketing, the franchise flipping over like that Poseidon ship in that remake of the classic disaster movie, then you can be certain that you want to avoid this at all cost (or wait until it comes out on the PS2 for a bargain basement $20).
Image 1 of 10. Click to enlarge
There are some games that I never could see coming out on the PSP, this (yes) is one of them. I know, despite the fact some titles have made the translation to the PSP as well as they could (with kind of OK if you practice enough like Siphon Filter : Dark Mirror and pretty good translation from what I heard like SOCOM : Fire Team Bravo) there are games that work horribly on the whole one nubbie “analog stick” set-up. Ape Escape is one of these games that just won‘t work on this format, Me and My Katamari is another.
If you were me (hope that never happens) you might have asked yourself "Self? How did they port Katamari to the PSP with only one analog stick nubby thing?"
If somebody answers you may want to lower your intake of Mountain Dew and consider therapy, but if you did hear an answer the answer might be “Badly.“
If you own a DS, and played Metroid Prime : Hunter you probably remember the only functional way to make the controls work without using the pointy stylus to control the game is to change the setting of the controls. The best setting, by the way, means mainly setting the controls so that you can use the d-pad and X/Y/A/B buttons to control movement and gun aiming, that works far better than using the stylus… kinda.
As you can guess this is the same setup used in Me and My Katamari, because in order to replace the missing second analog stick you end up having to rely on the square, o, x and triangle buttons as a second controller (as what you would have to do in Metroid Prime : Hunter), which is a total pain in the butt (much more so if your PSP is one of those with the glitchy square button that doesn’t always work when you press down on it). Image 2 of 10. Click to enlarge
Yeah, in theory it sounds easy to work this set-up, right? And if you read old first looks at this game people swear on their Editorial staff that this can be mastered, but theory is thrown right out of the window
Yeah, this kind of works for Metroid Prime : Hunters, but then again you are NOT expected to make so many quick moves as in Me and My Katamari so go figure.
Also, unlike the original reviewer who first previewed the game that I‘m referencing, none of us have Namco representatives included with our purchase to walk us through the game and make it easier for us to work said game with their “gimmicks“ to “trick“ your thumbs into thinking they‘re working the PS2 analog sticks while playing.
Image 2 of 10. Click to enlarge
Is there a story here? Does the game make sense?
In this version the King Of All Cosmos and his beloved Queen have decided that, well, after all the hoopla around the King’s “goodwill” mission to make fans of Katamari Damancy happy it was time for a vacation. So, well, since they’ve been sending the Prince and his relatives downside to the Earth to roll up the planet the duo decide to go visiting the Earth themselves for their time off. However it seems somebody (I’m guessing the parrot/elephant duo from We Love Katamari) have spread word about the King of All Cosmos to the animal kingdom, and NOW they’ve come to the King to ask for favors (just as those fans did in We Love Katamari). However this time their favors have more to do with the creation of island habitats for the animals (as opposed to just filling the need for Katamari Damancy in the fanbase of the series). To this end the King of All Cosmos has decided to take this situation in hand and is ready to create new islands for his newest fans… and by him I mean you.
This means the return of the hub area, as seen in We Love Katamari, where you’ll meet the animals who are giving out your marching orders (and what kind of missions you’ll be going on). From there, if this is anything like We Love Katamari, you’ll next head on to talk to the King of All Cosmos and get the specifics of your marching orders before he deploys you onto the field of battle to start rolling. Then you roll, and roll, and roll until you complete the task, wherein you should be sent to Image 3 of 10. Click to enlarge
Word is that you should be able to view the islands you create, ala the planetary viewing area where you can view your handiwork in We Love Katamari, but whether or not there’ll be an icon for viewing extras you opened (and multiplayer) is something I didn’t hear about… probably not though.
Image 3 of 10. Click to enlarge
Things can only get worse when you realize you have been cheaped out on a few levels to play on in this version. Despite the ambitious story of rolling up lands in order to create new islands for your animal friends, there are only four type of worlds to roll up in this game (which really blows considering that I would have thought better of the game).
In this game you‘ll roll up a room, a yard, a park and a town… and that’s it (with only the background and a few things being changed between levels to create a false sense of “variety“ in the game). This is a major downer from the vast amount of levels and worlds you were able to roll up in We Love Katamari, and yet another reason not to buy this.
One possible savior is multiplayer via Ad-Hoc (whatever Ad-Hoc is), though that isn’t all that much of a savior if you didn’t like the original multiplayer from Katamari Damancy where players were thrust into an arena to gather rings, chests and valuables (or the competition once you outsize them).
Otherwise the game lacks content, works rough with a missing analog stick, and overall doesn’t seem to be as much fun as the PS2 versions which is a shame since I expected far better from my Katamari.
If you need a Katamari fix maybe you should wait for the PS2 version, which should sell for $20-$30 (ala Grand Theft Auto : Liberty City Stories which is now making the transition to the PS2). But if you are a PSP fan, and can forgive the flaws, errors, and shortcomings of this game then… well.. It’s your money. I won’t be completely hurt if you decide to belt out the money to get this, but if I were you I’d rent before buying if nothing more than to work out your need for Katamari on the PSP and see if you’ll really love this game or not. Buy or not is up to you… but remember that I warned you. Take care.
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