The first time I tried out the Katamari games was when I was over a friend’s house who owned a Playstation 2. This strange, but addicting game is incredibly hard to dislike. It’s a very Japanese game where they know how to combine the strange with a level of charm. Rhythm Heaven is another example of mixing strange and charm together to come up with a delightful game. The characters or the world may look weird, but you shrug it off and keep playing because you just enjoy the game too much.
I don’t own a Playstation 2, so when a friend gave me a PSP as a gift, I was delighted to find out that the developer Namco has made a PSP version of their Katamari series known simply as Me & My Katamari.
There is no real plot in Katamari other than the King of All Cosmos along with his wife and son, the Prince, go to Earth for a vacation. The King of All Cosmos being prone to creating accidental disasters in his excitement, creates a tsunami which wipes out the islands they are visiting. Like all Katamari games, it’s up to the Prince to start rolling a katamari (think of it as a kind of velcro ball) to collect animals, humans, plants, and various random objects for the purpose of creating new islands to replace the one the King destroyed.
Each level, the King will tell you what is the minimum katamari size you need to roll up. You didn’t meet the size requirements within the allotted time? Then, the King will chastise your Prince for being lazy or weak, and you won’t be able to advance to the next level. If you manage to surpass the size requirements before the time runs out, the bigger katamari not only gets commended by the King, but the katamari you role leads to a better looking, newly built island upon return to the stage selection menu. For example, there were times when I rolled the minimum size to advance to the next level. This led to the creation of a modest island mass for the animals who lived in each one. When I went back to replay the level again, I managed to surpass the size requirements with enough time to spare. The bigger size would then replace the modest island I had built previously into something much bigger. A bigger island meant the animals had something fancier to call home.
The game unlocks Eternal mode upon the game’s completion. In this mode, you can revisit any of the levels you already played, and go back to rolling a new katamari without the time limit. If you missed the chance to collect the various gifts, or unlock the many “cousins” of the Prince scattered in all the levels, then you can go back and search for them. The gifts you collect in the game are accessories your Katamari characters can wear. The cousins you roll up and unlock allow you to switch characters if you want to play as someone other than the Prince.
This is the kind of game you can go back to at your leisure. This is more of a casual game that doesn’t require any real effort, and it’s pure fun. Uncovering the types of islands you create is a treat, and the worlds you get to visit are equally exciting to get into. There are times when levels get recycled, and the only noticeable difference in a recycled level is the change in season. This isn’t much of a distraction if all you care about is rolling what you like and getting your katamari as big as it can be. Once you maxed out everything there is to do in this game, then the replay value of Me & My Katamari is not particularly high. At least you will get the feeling of, “Been there, done that.” The only real pet peeve I have with this game is when controlling the Prince and his katamari gets difficult after you accidentally roll into a corner that makes it hard to maneuver out of. There have been a few times I absolutely got stuck in some corner in the room and I could not roll my way out no matter how many times I’ve used the controls on my PSP.
Me & My Katamari is a fun, colorful world which is beautiful to look at and an easy game to get into for the more casual gamers. If you want something more than rolling random stuff up into a big ball, then boredom may set in if you try to play this game. Considering I enjoy casual games along with games that require more time and investment, this one is my absolute favorite game to play on the PSP.
Reviewer Rating: 9/10