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Katamari Series Review

Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:16 pm
Katamari Series Review
A review of the PS2 releases and a comparison.
Similar versions on other consoles and portables.

Click the pic for a bigger pic.

First off, thanks Satoshi for your Great Review linked from here.

Encouraged me to rediscover Katamari Damacy. I got so addicted, that I went out and bought the sequel We Love Katamari. A great five year old game discovered.


Hey, Conker pushed a Katamari in the Poo level!


My other game reviews:

Team ICO ICO and Shadow of the Colossus information.

Wild Metal (Country) a Dreamcast and PC exclusive.

Toy Commander a Dreamcast only release.

A simple concept. Push a sticky ball to pick up objects that are smaller. Ball gets bigger allowing to pick up larger objects. You start off picking up a thumbtack inside a house, then a notepad, a cat, a table and eventually the entire house. Anything including screaming people gets picked up. On later levels this is carried further by picking up office buildings, ocean oil tankers and even entire islands. Retracing an area that you started out as the size of a mouse really gives a different perspective. Almost the same feeling looking out an airplane window and spotting your house from way up.


The Wonder of Things
Of note in Damacy is the collecting of objects. All those silly cute things, any Pokemon or Sims gamer can relate to. Its not just the objects but the descriptions included, an observation point of view.

A sampling:
Arcade machine - People play games on it. Please don't hit it.
Barbells - Makes people yell when they lift it.
Bonsai Shelf - A place to display plants. Its always under attack from balls and cats.
Handrail Partitions - You can fit your head thru, but might get stuck.
Shoji Door - People love poking holes in these before re-papering.
Under Construction Sign - The sign apologizes for inconvenience, but no one believes it.

With all this weird trivia, an obsession to collect them all! WLK has even more stuff, though the descriptions are not as entertaining.


A twinstick game! Same as driving a tank like the tank controls of Battle Zone in moving that ball. Both sticks need to be manipulated to move and turn. To get a Charge Roll, move each stick up and down in alternating order, rapidly a few times. Great for getting unstuck. Quick change 180 degree direction with L3 and R3. The trigger buttons operate various views.

This stick begs to be PS2 Katamari modded.

I love Twinstick Games.

Battlezone, Black Widow, Crazy Climber and Virtua On all kept both hands busy. But it was Robotron that got me hooked to the Twinstick style! Katamari is another great in its own quirky way.

Two Players
Split screen or new in We Love Katamari, a cooperative mode. Both players work together to push that ball around. If you hate the back seat driver in the car, may want to avoid this.


The biggest thing I didn't like were the speeches from the King between levels. We Love Katamari has a lot of text. A constant tapping of the X button to get back to the game. Sometimes the King's dialog will appear during gameplay, blocking the view. To replay a level while avoiding all the dialog, press Start before the timer runs out.

The Collections and Level select screen seems more organized in Damacy. Easier to find stuff through the various search options. You can see which level a particular object in your collection came from. However in We Love Katamari, there is no apparent way to tell which level has the missing objects from the collection screen. At least the objects are neatly arranged by type, for instance all the food is in one category. The intermission flash animation clips are not as great either. I miss the Hoshino family from Damacy! But on the plus, We Love Katamari has a more to offer, the best being the variety of levels.


So much to explore to create planets with. We Love Katamari has some unique ones. Underwater collecting all the sea life. Visiting a Zoo and taking all the animals. A fire level where you consume objects to keep the flame burning in your Katamari ball. Your destructive side allows burning up anyone who gets in the way.


There is level where your Katamari ball is a Sumo Wrestler. You roll him around eating getting big enough to beat an opponent waiting in the ring.

No Colossus level to roll up, but an interesting pic.

The goal is to collect enough stuff to create large planets. You need enough large planets to collect the sun. A Katamari Damacy save file can be imported with additional stars. To view the comos, walk up the sky in the character select screen.


Racing with a Sticky Ball
A high speed level. You can scream around the track or just make your own path gobbling up everything. Get stopped by a bigger object, not a problem. A quick re-acceleration gets you going again. The Charge and Roll move is turned on permanent! The music fits the fast pace of this level, an inspired Go Gos or Bangles track in Japanese. Damacy has better songs, but this one is good. My favorite level.

ImageClip of this great track.

Save the Earth
Eventually an Astronaut appears as one of the characters in the level select screen. A timed level where you must roll up the continents of Earth before an asteroid hits. Countries can be rolled up in size sequence as your Katamari ball grows. A geography knowledge of looking for the smaller nations first. After beating the level, each country's flag is represented under your objects collection screen.


Collecting All The Cousins
A tricky routine, some are well hidden. You can verify how many you have left by looking in your collections screen, last from the right. Blank Cousin Icons have an outline shape, hinting what to look for. To verify where cousins are missing, choose any character at the level select screen. Press the X button just one time to get a status. Upper left corner shows highlighted presents and cousins you already picked up. Non-highlighted presents and cousin antennas are the ones you have yet to find.


While searching in a level, a good way to spot cousins is using the L1 View Trigger. Zoom in with the R2 Trigger. Be careful though the clock is running. Cousins can only be collected in the regular levels, not in the Time Attack levels. There is also a sequential order of when cousins appear. Second cousins appear after you change your player to another cousin you picked up. After all the cousins are collected, a new hidden level is unlocked. Now you can hunt and roll up all the cousins located in the Flower Level and try to score the best time. a few are very quick the Spin dash move needed by rapidly moving both sticks up and down. Simulate a running start with the sticks.

The cousins tend to be in solid bright colors.


Time Attack and the View Button
When playing Time Attack, the object is to collect enough to reach a designated size. Basically you can stay in the level as long as your Katamari doesn't reach that size. A very good time to go sight seeing, using the L1 and R1 View Triggers. While viewing you can zoom in a and out with the L2 and R2 Triggers. There is a lot of interesting animation, objects balanced on people and animals, ducks blowing trumpets, and you might even spot that hidden present unlock. Take a guess what is outside the Tuto windows. Go to view mode and zoom out for a surprise. Look around as you travel, there are all kinds of things to discover.


We Love Katamari Level List
Stage 1 - Girl in light blue dress with yellow/gold hat.
Stage 2 - Boy laying down in grass, wearing green shirt and blue pants.
Stage 3 - Old Man wearing a suit and a top hat.
Stage 4 - Old Lady.
Stage 5 - Bird and Elephant.
50 Item Challenge - Baby.
Candy Stage - Hansel and Gretel.
Cloud Stage - Girl in yellow rain jacket.
CowBear Stage - Farmer in overalls.
Fire Stage - Boy in orange shirt and brown shorts.
Firefly Stage - Boy sitting at cardboard box.
Flower Stage - Woman wearing purple Kimono.
Paper Cranes - Kid with hat on, pink shirt and blue overall shorts.
Race Track Stage - Guy in race car.
Roll Up The Cousins - Mutsuo kid.
Roll Up The Staff Credits - Michiru kid.
Roll Up The Sun - Black Dog.
Saturn - Hula Hoop Girl.
Save the Earth - Mr. Hoshino.
Save the Panda's - Guy in pink pants with a sack hanging from his neck.
School Stage - Woman in blue suit/dress.
Snowman Stage - Boy in red snowsuit.
Sumo Stage - Boy in sumo attire.
Tidy Up Attack - Mom with White Apron and Blue Shirt.
Underwater Stage - Guy with tube standing in the middle of the lake.
Zoo Stage - Tan Cat/Dog.
1,000,000 Roses - Rose.
*Katamari Memorial - After beating the game, a crown will appear. It holds the movies and the music as well as two bonus movies.

1,000,000 Roses
Not enough rolling? At the end you can play this bonus level. You have to collect all the cousins first. Katamari fanatical collectors have put rubber bands on their game controllers over night. Even an oscillating fan to vary the movement of the stick! The Rose endless collection is in the Cow and Racetrack level.

Playing the Katamari games is totally, utterly hypnotic, like playing Tetris was when it first emerged. And like Tetris, Katamari games make you start viewing the world in terms of what you can likely roll up.


The purpose of this setup is to collect one million roses in We Love Katamari. Yes, I said one million. Doing this without assistance would be so ridiculously time consuming. It's not even vital to winning the game, but you get fun little things in the game for doing it.

Image Image ... lion-roses


A hardcore Katamari addict came up with a clever little way to collect a million roses in We Love Katamari. He attached his PS2 controller to a wooden chair and then hooked the left thumstick up to an old oscillating fan with string. By doing this the thumbstick is moved all over the place randomly. He apparently left his game on and let the fan go at it until he had collected a million roses and the King of All Cosmos stepped in to congratulate him personally. OK, not personally. It's not like the big crown-wearing blue guy stepping into his house or anything. But he did stop the game to thank him and mark the date down. Kinda freaky.


Greatest Hits or Original Release
After beating a level in Katamari Damacy a flash animation clip of the Hoshino family would run. Unfortunately the clips cannot be watched later, I thought it would be an unlock when beating the game. PAL and Japanese We Love Katamari releases has the unlock of all the clips strung together as a mini movie. Appeared as an unlock on PAL since Damacy wasn't available in that market. To my surprise, The U.S. Greatest Hits release has a Japanese spoken and a second unlock Korean spoken English subtitled version of the Hoshino family episodes. Too bad no English spoken version though. Unsure if the U.S. non-Greatest Hits has the same features.

I added the U.S. Greatest Hits information to the Wiki Entry. ... Version.29

Both Katamari Damacy and We Love Katamari can be installed with HDAdvance.

The Katamari Series
PS2 - Katamari Damacy
PS2 - We Love Katamari
PSP - Me & My Katamari
PS3 - Katamari Forever.
XBox 360 - Beautiful Katamari
Cell Phone - I Love Katamari
PS3 - Noby Noby Boy



Some pics

A very good Katamari site

Wiki References

Re: Katamari Series Review

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:57 pm
by Satoshi_Matrix
hey thanks for the mention. My review style is very different from this. This is a rather good retrospective of the entire series.

I used to own one of those PS1 sticks, but I'm not sure a mod would be possible for PS2. I suppose an elaborate padhack is theoretically possible, but I have my doubts that Katamari would really work well with arcade sticks.

Re: Katamari Series Review

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:02 pm
by jfe2
Really good read! This really has me interested in the series.

Re: Katamari Series Review

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:25 pm
by IcKy99
good write up! Katamari is definetely one of my favorite game series!

Re: Katamari Series Review

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:52 pm
by hashiriya1
That was very good. I have never played any of these games but this might make me pick up the PSP or PS3 version, at least.

Re: Katamari Series Review

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:39 pm
Satoshi_Matrix wrote:hey thanks for the mention. My review style is very different from this. This is a rather good retrospective of the entire series.

I used to own one of those PS1 sticks, but I'm not sure a mod would be possible for PS2. I suppose an elaborate padhack is theoretically possible, but I have my doubts that Katamari would really work well with arcade sticks.
Thanks! Your fault I'm OCDing to collect all the items. :lol:

Agree a slower response in moving those big sticks. But another aspect of gameplay, sucks you in more, working the large controls. Check my Dreamcast game review links in the OP concerning the Panther Stick for a similar comparison.

The PSX Analog Dual Flight stick is not compatible even with PS1 Dual Shock games. The mod can be done, though time consuming affair. A matter of soldering the pots and buttons to a gutted PCB of a regular Dual Shock. I'm pretty sure the pots have similar resistance as the ones inside a Dual Shock.

You might get a kick out of this, an eye opener. happened to my Katamari Disc.

PS2 case cracking the game disc

Re: Katamari Series Review

Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:08 pm
by final fight cd
the first i heard about this series was the day i just randomly bought the 360 version at a gamestop because it looked interesting. best purchase EVER. well, maybe not THE best purchase ever, but it definitely is an awesome game!

Re: Katamari Series Review

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:15 pm
Finally collected all the cousins and unlocked the Rose level!
I have a paltry 6000 or so collected so far, a million needed! :lol:

Updated the OP with more info and pics. :mrgreen:
Listed all the levels and hints on locating the cousins.
Also some handy features of the view triggers.