Katamari is fun, and has been successful on every platform that it visits, even those without the dual-analog setup that made it so intuitive back on the Playstation 2. Rolling with Katamari, the mobile version of the series, is no exception, as even when limited to four directional buttons on a phone you still get that Katamari experience you were craving, and in your pocket.
Nov. 1, 2008
The presentation is obviously different than on its console cousins-the Prince is now seen rolling his Katamari ball on a 2D background that looks somewhat isometric, rather than the full 3D worlds we are used to seeing. The gameplay is the same though: Prince needs to collect objects to make his Katamari larger, and must do so within the time limits imposed by the King of the Cosmos. Sometimes the levels are about collecting different versions of one kind of object (such as crabs to make the constellation Cancer, or lots of blue things to make a Blue Star). There are five game modes in all: Roll a Star, Roll a Color, Rock n Rolling Racing, Don’t Touch, and Roll an Object. This keeps things fresh, as even though you do the same thing in each level-namely, roll around to collect objects-you have different goals to strive for each time out.
The levels and requirements are designed in a way that an experienced Katamari roller will easily reach the King of the Cosmos’ demands with time to spare, in order to make a larger ball that will please him. For those who don’t have that experience though, or would just like some time to become accustomed to the new control scheme, Rolling with Katamari is there to help with a few instructional levels that tutor you on the controls and point of the game.
The game comes packaged with 30 levels, but there also downloadable theme-based ones, such as “My Valentine”, “Winter”, and “Halloween”. Within these levels, the objects are theme-based, and in some cases, such as in “My Valentine”, the messages that pop up each time you snag an item are going to say things specific to that level that relate to the theme. You can download these levels straight from the game’s menu rather than navigating whatever store your phone uses as well.
The controls work, and they work well. You press up on your phone to move Prince in a direction, and you use the other directional buttons to move Prince around the Katamari; pressing up makes him push the Katamari from whichever direction you chose with the other buttons. In order to dash, you press up twice quickly, and based on my time with the game, you will want to dash often. You can also reverse direction by jumping to the other side of the ball, just like you can in the console versions of the game. Once you become accustomed to the controls, you’ll be rolling around with the best of them in no time.
The best thing about Rolling with Katamari is its high replay value. Sure, you can blow through the 30 levels and the downloadable ones in no time if you’re dedicated (or have a long commute), but the fact that you are supposed to improve on your scores constantly is going to make you come back again and again, just like classic arcade games. In addition to that, you also have to find your cousins and the presents hidden in each level, just like in the console Katamari games. This gives you reason to dive back in, even if you have already rolled around in the kitchen countless times.
It’s just $6.99 to have unlimited Rolling with Katamari use on your phone, which is easily worth it given the number of levels, the downloadable content, the ease of play and the high replay value. Though not a 3D game like you are used to seeing from the series, this version of the game is faithful to the series, and worth it for any die-hard Katamari fan out there, or those without access to any of the other titles.