Beautiful Katamari Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
Xbox 360
Release date:
October 15, 2007
Publisher:
Namco Bandai
Developer:
Namco Bandai
Players:
1 - 2
Genre:
Puzzle
ESRB:
E

Beautiful Katamari

It's katamari in name only, but far from beautiful.

Review by Valerie Hilgenfeldt (Email)
December 6th 2007

Critics and gamers alike endlessly go back and forth about how a title's length determines its value. There's a crowd who wants their dollar to stretch as far as possible, and alongside them stand the folks who want an engrossing experience, no matter how short it may be.

At first glance, you would think that Beautiful Katamari appeals strictly to the latter. Clocking in at under ten hours, it doesn't provide a lengthy experience if you aren't into polishing up your scores. Since the series is known the world 'round for its pick-up-and-play controls, off-the-wall charm and brief, entertaining jaunts of katamari rolling, this short experience should be forgivable. Style over substance, after all. Alas, such assumptions may be misleading.

When Katamari Damacy was released, it was widely praised for two things: its simple and captivating gameplay, and its unusual, magnificent music. Then cameWe Love Katamari, wherein the King of All Cosmos' colorful adventure through life was accompanied by a full orchestra, while the gameplay in-between these epic, hilarious scenes was complemented by yet another soundtrack of wacky Japanese goodness.

Lightning has struck twice, but can it strike again? Me & My Katamari was a decent portable entry, and perhaps a sign of the air growing stale amidst a series that was once a breath of freshness. Beautiful Katamari is the third entry to be released on consoles, but it's a step down from Me & My. In fact, it's everything that the skeptics of such quirky titles would accuse it of being: a lot of rolling, mostly forgettable music, and nothing truly captivating.

For starters, let's talk about the beloved King of All Cosmos. In a way, We Love Katamari was a gigantic fan letter, starring the fantastic and slightly demented King himself. His lovers and haters know him for his skin-hugging, package-highlighting outfit, a signature part of his glorious wardrobe that makes him instantly recognizable (aside from his gigantic, cylindrical, flashing head, gray face and goatee, that is).

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