Me and My Katamari (PSP) Review

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I got Me and My Katamari for PSP. I’ve since played through it, and “finished” the game, though there’s a ton of replay value, because I want to go back and do each island/level and get a better result. Plus, it’s just plain fun. 🙂

The basic premise, for those who have never heard of the Katamari games, is that the wacky King of All Cosmos and family (including the Prince – that’s you) are on vacation on earth, and while body surfing, the King accidentally wipes out all of the islands that were home to various animals. The animals ask to have new islands created for them, and you, the Prince, have to roll a Katamari (a sticky clump, for lack of a better explanation) around, collecting progressively larger items within a certain time limit. Make the katamari big enough, and the King will turn it into an island for the animal.

The gameplay is pretty much the same all the way through, but it never gets old. You usually start with a very small katamari, that can only pick up things like paperclips and candies. It will bounce off anyting larger. As you collect more stuff, your katamari gets bigger, and can pick up progressively larger items – houseplants, cats, bikes, cars,
houses, buildings, and eventually whole islands, weather systems, and other major objects.

Most levels have a time limit, but complete some of the levels with a good enough score, and you can unlock “eternal” mode for that level. There’s no time limit in eternal mode, so you can just roll forever, picking up as much stuff as you want, until you quit. The trade off is that katamaris rolled in eternal mode won’t be turned into islands. I’m really glad there’s a free roaming mode like this, but it’s loads of fun to just roll around, seeing how big you can make your katamari, without worrying about the time limit.

The game just exudes coolness, from the characters, to the music (excellent! I catch myself humming or singing the songs all the time!), and the writing. Oh, the writing. The King is the only character with any real dialogue, and he is hilarious. Self absorbed, witty, and almost always has something unexpected to say. This game is very Japanese in character, for better or worse (better, IMO).

I haven’t played the previous two incarnations of this game (Katamari Damacy and We Love Katamari on the PS2), so I can’t say how the PSP version compares, but from what I’ve read and seen, it’s a pretty faithful rendition, graphically. Some of the music and levels seem to be recycled from the PS2 versions, but again, not having played those, it was all new to me.

The cracked out humor and simple gameplay made me look forward to playing this game for a long time, and I’m glad it’s finally out. I highly recommend it for PSP owners, especially since there haven’t been many worthwhile games for that system in a long time. Hopefully this will tide us over until some more good games come out for the PSP. I love quirky, fun, original games (and I’m tired of the abundant racing and FPS genres), so if you have similar inclinations, don’t miss Me and My Katamari.