The Katamari series has long been a cult favourite but has never quite hit the mainstream or even been readily available to us in the UK. So those of us with an X-Box 360 and a penchant for the absurd should count ourselves lucky that we can easily get our hands on Beautiful Katamari at the bargain-ous price of £7.95.
The next cheapest price I could find for Katamari was almost £2 more expensive, but the next best offer from a retailer who actually has it in stock is over £4 more expensive.
The King of All Cosmos is enjoying a relaxing game of tennis during his holidays with his wife and the prince when disaster strikes; he produces a serve so gosh-damn powerful that it rips clean through the very fabric of the universe, leaving a black hole in its wake. All that is left of the universe is the planet Earth and a pretty fed up royal family. The prince is set to putting things right by heading to Earth to roll up “katamaris” with which to recreate the celestial bodies of the universe and do something about that pesky black hole.
Beautiful Katamari continues the established Katamari tradition of rolling around a sticky ball so that everything in its path is consumed into the ever-growing sphere. The pleasure derived from this simple concept has a surprising longevity and the challenge comes from the fact that you can only add items of a similar size to your katamari, so that as it swells you can move onto bigger and bigger items. Beautiful Katamari does not deviate from this very familiar format, although there are a few special stages such as the level which requires you to pick up only hot items so that the katamari can reach a super-heated temperature. The game is awfully short and may only keep you entertained for an afternoon, but at least multi player modes add to the fun. Also, the inclusion of online leader boards may tempt you to keep returning to better your score.
It's nice to see a rare family-friendly game for the 360, especially one that can genuinely be enjoyed by everyone – not just grandpa and the little 'uns. Katamari is as addictive and fun to play as ever but for long time fans of the series this new instalment may feel just a bit too familiar. I still found plenty to enjoy with this game but couldn't help but feel a touch let down by a series that had always given so much. The scenes feel a little drab and lifeless and as a whole and the graphics are fairly lacklurstre. It somehow does not feel like the same level of loving care has gone into this game as its predecessors received. However newcomers to the series are in for a treat and if you are able to get your hands on earlier Katamari titles then it will just get better!
Thanks to QenTox from Hotukdeals!