CGRundertow BEAUTIFUL KATAMARI for Xbox 360 Video Game Review
Alright, we all know that this is one of the
weirdest game franchises around, but the Katamari games brought more to the industry than just
weird characters and innuendo like “Touch my Katamari”. The gameplay mechanics were
some of the most unique anyone had ever seen, and the music is still one of the best soundtracks
in the past 10 years, but there’s been a ton of these games released. What once was
surprising is now expected, but Namco delivered again with this title. It’s Beautiful Katamari
for the Xbox 360. Beautiful Katamari’s story revolves around
the King playing a game of tennis and accidentally ripping a hole that sucks every planet, with
the exception of Earth, into it. It’s your job to create brand new planets like Mercury,
Venus, ok…I’m not giving an astronomy lesson, but you get the idea. There’s a
real sense of progression as you create new planets for the galaxy. Like other Katamari
games, it can also get really uncomfortable. The writers had a pretty weird sense of humor.
Having the words “We Love Uranus” during the loading screen is pretty creepy.
As far as gameplay goes, you’ll know what to expect if you’ve played a previous Katamari
game. You start off with your plain Katamari and roll up small objects until it grows in
size and allows you to pick up larger objects, and it keeps growing in size until you can
pick up even larger objects. Your goal for each level is to have it grow to a certain
size and pick up specific types of items in a limited amount of time. The game is controlled
almost entirely with the two control sticks, and unfortunately, it can get a little bit
sloppy. Now, I do kind of suck at this game, but it can be needlessly frustrating trying
to turn in a direction you want to. The dash move is particularly tough to execute because
of this. Still, gameplay is a blast, and the physics of the game are brilliant.
The great thing about Beautiful Katamari is that each level feels so different from the
last. Items are placed in really interesting ways, so you’ll be thinking a little bit
more about the best way to handle each situation. Running into a bunch of bars of metal, for
instance, causes them all to tumble to the ground for you to roll up, and slamming into
a stack of casino chips lets you pick them all up. The game also does a pretty good job
of letting you know when you can’t pick something up, as the camera will keep zooming
out to put everything in perspective. It’s a lot of fun to go back to previous areas
after your Katamari has grown in size to get stuff you couldn’t before. Picking up live
animals is especially fun. I hope they don’t die when the planet gets created.
Beautiful Katamari does look almost identical to previous games in the series, with its
classic cartoony look that can’t be mistaken for anything else. Now, that also means that
it doesn’t really show off the power of the 360 all that much, but this isn’t really
the type of game to do that. The music is as good as ever, with a superb collection
of songs. It just puts you in a much better mood by the time you’re done playing it.
Beautiful Katamari may not innovate all that much, and it does feature a few gameplay flaws,
but it shows why the series has been so well received over the years. A few little gripes
shouldn’t keep you from giving this one a try.