Monday, October 17, 2005

I'm not so sure I (heart) Katamari

I've been laboring through We (heart) Katamari, the highly anticipated sequel to Katamari Damacy, and I have to say, I'm not really loving it.

I really wanted to like it. Really. I did.

The first game was such a lovely surprise. And so simple, and compelling, and new, and fresh.

The sequel is certainly more of the same. It adds some new twists as well. However, for some reason it's just not doing it for me like the first did.

Despite all the talk of it being more polished than the first (could it have NOT been?!), many parts feel very rushed or contrived. For example the "template" for level completion sequence with the King: "We think it feels (noun)-ish", etc.

Some of the interesting new bits (e.g. Sumo level) are interesting, but not FUN. Sumo level just felt akward and frustrating due to rolling a non-round object. The underwater level was pretty but frustratingly dampened.

Feels a little bit like the follow-ons to The Matrix. I went into the first movie not knowing AT ALL what to expect and was thrilled. Perhaps sequels, while good, just never live up to the expecations we place upon them. I suppose they occasionally do (HL2, Quake 2 and 3, Police Acadamy six - ok maybe not that last one).

On the plus side, Katamari's generating some great merchandise and fan art:

(photo courtesy Tim "lego my lego" Cherna)


roBin said...

Honestly - I felt a bit underwhelmed when I first played the Japanese version. I wanted it to be a spectacular change and it just... couldn't be anything but (mostly) more of the same.

Give it a few days, and go back to it with some patience. Try to super-clear the various levels. Sumo in particular is more fun each time you roll it. The joy of this game is not in easy rolling - but the attention that each level brings to the objects within it.

Underwater in particular is one of the hardest maps I've ever played. Especially if you want to get the bikini!!!!

william said...

I own and played through the (US version) first Katamari. It was fun. When I heard there was a sequel, I was a bit skeptical whether it could provide anything new or innovative on top of the first one. The reason the first one was so much fun is b/c it was different and had a unique quality about it (stylistically/graphically/whatever you want to call it). Any sequel would have to follow the same format, style, and story, and frankly the first one didn't set the stage for sequels in any dept.

Also, I got the first one for USD 19. Everywhere I've looked for the 2nd one it is USD 29. Not worth it to me.

Lastly, the first Matrix was great, the second one goes down into the "worst movie evar!" bucket; the second one was so bad that I didn't bother to see the third one. Yet another example of how making something quickly and going over the top with extra "features" makes it suck so much ass that it completely ruins the entire IP.

Ferda said...

I enjoy this game like you said it's pretty simple and easy to get into. I didn't get to play the first one that much we just rented it for a bit and liked it so much that we decided to get the second one. We figured it would be improved. Will have to check out the first one again.

Ps. I went to the link you have for merchandise but didn't see anything for katamari on there.