I was in Fry's last weekend, and was just browsing the cheap video game aisle's with my wife, when I noticed that the quirky Japanese title Katamari Damacy was only $19.99. I think it was Tom who first told me about this rather odd little game, and when I explained what it was to my wife, she shocked me by tossing it into the basket along with all the other crap we were buying.
There is no mistaking this game is a Japanese import. It has a very quirky style, with very odd English titles which undoubtably are a bad translation from some equally quirky Japanese. The backdrop: the King of the Cosmos has destroyed all the stars, and they need replacing. You are the Prince, a strange little green guy who gets to push around a magnetic ball called the Katamari. When the Katamari rolls up against a small object, it will stick to it, and the ball gets bigger. The bigger the ball gets, the more stuff will stick to it. At first, you can only pick up tacks and dice. As the game progresses you can pick up dogs, humans, boulders, giant octopuses and supertankers. Upon completing each level, the Katamari is converted into stars.
It is very quirky.
And fun. The graphics are fairly simple, but incredibly varied. There are all sorts of things going on in the house, town and city in which you work. The sheer variety is very compelling. It reminds me vaguely of the experience I had when I played Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the first time: the town was the first town in a game that felt like people lived there. Similarly, there are all sorts of things going on in this town: dogs barking, elephants, schools, bears, sumo wrestlers, cranes, and a billion other objects. It's really pretty staggering. And fun.
Did I mention it was fun?
If you are looking for a cute game, with unusually innovative game play, simple, non-violent, try checking out Katamari Damacy.