The Katamari series is certainly not for everyone – the game is oriented towards the more casual crowd, players who’re looking for games that don’t focus so much on creating a deep gameplay, while instead offering a more simplified experience that can still provide challenge and competition against other players. The newest one, Katamari Forever, builds on the familiar formula set by the previous games in the series, by adding several improvements that make the gameplay more varied and give more room for skill improvement.
The game’s levels make a reference to the previous titles in the series, by recreating some of the familiar levels, while also introducing some brand new ones. All of the levels are done in a stylistic color scheme that focuses on the minimal use of colors, and the gameplay remains largely the same – you need to roll some objects around the levels in order to give as much color to the current environment as possible. Your character has received some new abilities which improve its mobility and generally make the game more accessible.
The new levels have been set in present time, where the story of the previous game has been expanded upon and you have to face a new arch nemesis that’s bound on destroying all of the stars in the sky. Fans of the previous game will probably be displeased to find out that online play is no longer available, and you can’t compete against your friends head-to-head anymore – instead, you’ll have to satisfy yourself with an online leaderboard which stores your achievements and progress for others to view, and allows you to compare your results to others after you’re done playing.
Katamari has always focused on its artistic aspect very heavily, and you can expect the same thing from Katamari Forever – there’s a neat play on colors at all time, the levels are initially dull and black/white, but as you get closer and closer to completing them, they grow more vivid and colorful and the entire game just starts sparkling with a lively look.
There’s also a bonus in the form of HD video support, which will allow you to truly experience the game’s art if your TV/monitor supports it. And in addition, if you don’t enjoy the style the characters and levels are drawn in, you can switch it for several others from the options menu, like going for a cell-shaded style instead.
The lack of direct multiplayer has caused some problems with this game’s popularity – players weren’t that interested in the title upon finding out that the online play has been removed. Still, the leaderboards see a satisfying number of players and as a whole, if competing against others is what interests you most in this title, you should still come out pleased.
Katamari Forever may not be everything the previous games were – but it also offers new value compared to them, and it’s a game you should definitely not just ignore, simply because you’re not getting what you expected from it as a fan of the series.