Oct 19, 2007
The first thing we noticed upon firing up Beautiful Katamari was that we were constantly steering our ever-expanding sticky ball straight sideways into the wall. Because the analog sticks on the Xbox 360 are offset, instead of being side-by-side as they are on a PS2 controller, you may need a few minutes to adapt before you can guide your adhesive sphere properly.
The second thing we realized was that, despite the move to fully HD graphics, it looks, feels, sounds, and plays exactly the same. Four games in, this series has hardly evolved at all.
An hour later, the final revelation dawned upon us: we didn't care. We're still as hooked as ever on this snowball-like, "make the ball bigger by running stuff over" quest.
The big appeal is, as always, the game's unique style: an intoxicating blend of innocently eager charm, quirky music, simple-to-grasp gameplay, and downright weirdness. This time, your father, the crazy-talking King of All Cosmos, hit a tennis ball so hard that it punched a hole in the sky. That hole quickly swelled into a black hole that swallowed up the planet upon which you were vacationing and also several nearby stars, planets and other interstellar objects. It's probably best not to analyze the astrophysics of this situation - after all, we are talking about a dude with a tootsie roll-shaped head. But this is obviously a problem.
So, as usual, it falls to you, the Prince, to head to Earth and drive your magically adhesive katamari around with your controller's two analog sticks. There, you'll roll up bulging globes of whatever items the King requests, from coins to clouds, to make new stars, moons, and planets.
Why? Because there's still only one series like this and it's wonderful. If you miss a certain racing game, you can turn the key on the one right behind it; if you miss a certain first-person shooter, there will be three more within a month. But if you miss Beautiful Katamari... you're just missing out.