Friday, April 11, 2008

Beautiful Katamari (Xbox 360)

If you've played one Katamari game, you've played them all. There have been some small variations on the core formula, but it hasn't strayed too far from "roll up stuff and get big." Which is good, because that simple thing is so entertaining. If you've spent a lot of hours on the PS2 Katamari games, there's not much new to play around with in Beautiful Katamari on the Xbox 360. But if you've never experienced the joy of rolling up huge balls of crap, Beautiful Katamari delivers. You'll grow from the size of a penny to be bigger than the sun, all while listening to crazy J-Pop.

Every time you roll into another size class it's an epic moment. It's like leveling up in an RPG and going back to squash all the baddies that gave you trouble before. It's extremely entertaining the first time, but after you've seen the whole progression it does lose a little of its bite. And unfortunately you can only get so big before there's no more content in the game for you to roll up. Actually, the more I think about it the more I realize that Katamari is an RPG.

I really enjoyed Beautiful Katamari, but I can't help but be a bit disappointed. I'm ready for something new. Later in Beautiful Katamari you find yourself rolling up all these famous monuments from different civilizations, like Egypt or China. It'd be really fun to start out in different locales like that. They can't really raise the size limit anymore (you're already sucking up black holes by the end), so they way to improve the game is to add variety in the existing spectrum. Although… it could be possible to take it smaller. I could totally see Katamari at the molecular level... or cellular like Innerspace or Osmosis Jones... or rolling on the surface of a dog picking up fleas and hairs. Really, the game writes itself. Picking up sumo wrestlers is fun and all, but I think this series is ready for a scenery change.

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