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    globaladdict's Katamari Damacy (PS2)

    [January 25, 2008 02:49:35 PM]
    Katamari Damacy Gamelog 2

    Gameplay
    For the second round of gameplay, things started picking up as I got a better handle on the controls. After the first few levels, I realized that many of the levels had these long lines of items that you could follow with some careful maneuvering. They allow you to grow much faster than if you aimlessly wander the level and opened a new level of strategizing to the game as I tried to find the most efficient route that grew the katamari the fastest.

    Although the game has a rather short set of ten story levels, there are a number of consellations like Ursa Major that the player can recreate by fulfilling certain conditions, like roll up only one bear or roll up as many crabs as you can. These variations on the story levels add more content to the game and prolong the inevitable game exhaustion one will run into after rolling up everything on a level. Despite the variety, they don’t add too much more to the game; a longer set of story levels and more varied locales to roll about are the only suggestions I could make to improve the Katamari series.

    Design
    When playing Katamari Damacy for the second hour, the simplicity of the game leading to complex, emergent gameplay came to mind. While the game control of the katamari and object of the game are very straightforward, a lot of strategy develops out of the fact that you have to race against the clock to reach a specific size during the story levels, which force one to determine the order to go to different areas of the world as well as finding ways to roll around the level to maximize growth within that time limit. Thus, this simple rule brings a level of strategy to the game that is not explicitly created by the game rules but an emergence from the game’s rules.

    Another emergent feature of the katamari experience lies in the challenge factor that ai controlled objects add to each level. Until large enough, the cars, people, and large animals on each level slow down one’s growth when hit by them because they knock you in the direction they’re headed and knock some of your rolled up objects off the katamari. This forces players to maneuver more carefully around levels, especially when trying to reach the required size faster than before or roll up everything on the level before time’s up. Without this aspect of the game, only time would be a challenge for the game; the annoying ai controlled objects give the game a random factor that keeps the game challenging even if you know the best route to take on a level.

    After completing the final level to make the moon, the eternal mode is unlocked, which allows you to replay 3 levels with unlimited time. This mode was probably created to allow players to leisurely roll up the entire world and figure out the best routes through the game for the timed levels, which adds more replay value to the game. While the time levels can eventually become too tedious to play for the 50th time, the eternal mode allows players to just enjoy the game at a less frantic pace and allow completists to get every object on the level.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 25th, 2008 at 14:51:36.


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    [January 25, 2008 02:48:09 PM]
    Katamari Damacy Gamelog 1

    Summary
    In a category of its own, Katamari Damacy is a cross between a puzzle and platform game where the player controls a “katamari,” a small colored ball that picks up anything smaller than it runs into as the player rolls it around the world. The story progresses from a person’s bedroom rolling up erasers and pencils to rolling up skyscrapers and superheroes.

    Gameplay
    Another nostalgic game, Katamari’s simple to learn yet easy to master design drew me in again as one could spend hours finding the best way to roll through levels to maximize size and score. My friend described the game as “zen like,” and this seems rather fitting because the player is constantly starts small, rolls up a masterpiece from his environment, and lets it go, which goes against the typical gameplay structure which has a player constantly building up his character or score throughout the game.

    The reward structure of the game lies in the satisfaction of rolling up continually bigger objects, and becomes quite sadistic yet entertaining as you begin to roll up people and entire buildings. There’s also gifts and different princes you get access to as rewards for playing, but the real attraction lies in the satisfaction of eventually being able to roll everything in the katamari world.

    The story really adds to the quirkiness of Katamari Damacy with its numerous drug references and silly dialogue. Essentially, the player plays the little prince rolling around a katamari because his father, the king of all cosmos, decided to destroy all the stars in the universe. Along with the amount of mushrooms and rainbows present in the title screen, I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators of this game were on a lot of drugs when they developed this game. Nevertheless, the eccentric story line evokes much laughter and at least can be quickly skipped through if you wish to replay previous levels, which helps encourage replay.

    In addition to the single player story, I also played the versus mode with a friend to see if Katamari Damacy could be enjoyably played with multiple people. As it turned out, the game is a blast between friends, even if they’re just watching. The oddness of watching a player roll up gradually larger objects and the sweet satisfaction of rolling up your friend’s katamari should you grow bigger than him make for much enjoyment and trash talking. The down side to Katamari Damacy’s multiplayer is the fact that you can only battle in this one circular room and not roll around the rest of the world to get as large as possible, which would have more replay value; the three minute battles in the same area get tedious after 4 or 5 games.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 25th, 2008 at 14:50:54.


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    Status

    globaladdict's Katamari Damacy (PS2)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 25 January, 2008

    Opinion
    globaladdict's opinion and rating for this game

    Very fun, very addictive, although a bit on the short side and could use a little more level variety

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See globaladdict's page

    See info on Katamari Damacy

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