Monty and Morgion 111: Don Katamari

05Nov04 (Monthenor): A little noir this week, a stark contrast to the rainbow happiness of Katamari Damacy.

Katamari Damacy: This is one of the most surreal games I've ever played. Any jokes I make will pale in comparison to the actual story, which is as follows: you play the Prince of the Cosmos, and one night your dad comes home drunk and staggers into most of the stars in the sky, destroying them. The next morning he realizes his mistake and, responsible regal head that he is, orders you to collect stuff on Earth to replace the stars. He hands you a sticky ball -- the "Katamari" -- and sets you loose in a Japanese household.

From here you must roll the Katamari over things to reach a target size in a target time. The King of All Cosmos is a very busy man(?), and can't be arsed to leave you for longer than 3/8/20 minutes at a time. If you haven't made a large enough ball, the fruity skyman berates you in stilted English and makes you cry.

This game takes interactive environments to new heights, as literally everything in the game has a "roll-up" value associated with it. The first couple of levels take place in and around a house, as you slowly deal with larger and larger Katamari. The magic numbers are 50cm (to eat those annoying house cats) and 1.5m (to start eating schoolchildren). The game culminates in a level where your Katamari grows from a humble sphere, barely able to roll hedges, to a massive orb that plucks the very clouds from the sky and islands from their watery bed. And, if a certain bartender doesn't pay his protection to the Don, it'll roll up a certain tavern as well. That would be a shame.

Katamari Damacy may be short, but it never lets up for a second. From the cubist visuals, to the sound of cats being rolled, to the soundtrack (Japanese scat jazz?!?), you are immersed in the fevered crack dream of Namco and must roll your way free. Rent this damn game, NOW.