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Katamari Damacy

Experience Points .21: Katamari Damacy

Aug 08 // Ben Davis
Royal Rainbow! The King of All Cosmos might actually be my favorite video game character of all time. It's weird though, because honestly, he's kind of an asshole. He "accidentally" destroys all the stars in the galaxy, and then has the nerve to make his son do all the work creating new ones. He's also incredibly snarky and super critical of the Prince's work. Really, dad? You're gonna force me to fix your mistakes and then tell me I'm not doing it well enough? I'm really feeling the love here... But even after all the abuse, I just can't help but admire the King of All Cosmos. I mean, just look at him! He's fit, handsome, has a quirky fashion sense, well-groomed facial hair, and a shockingly noticeable bulge (oh myyy). And did I mention he literally vomits rainbows? He is the very definition of fabulous. The King's dialogue is one of the most entertaining aspects of Katamari. Hearing him put down the Prince in such a nonchalant way is pretty funny. Plus he's got a witty sense of humor and a really strange way of viewing the world. It's fun to see what he thinks of humans and their way of life as he tries to understand why they do the things they do. He talks a lot (and I mean a lot!), but I never got tired of hearing his weird and wonderful thoughts or the strange record-scratching sound he makes. The King of All Cosmos may be a horrible father and a huge asshole, but he's just such a lovable asshole. I mean, it's hard to be mad at a man that has rainbows bursting out of every orifice! [embed]297398:59858:0[/embed] Na naaa na na na na naa naa naa na naa naa na na na~ It's almost impossible to talk about Katamari and not mention the soundtrack. It's one of the most unique video game soundtracks I've ever heard, filled with relentlessly happy songs and catchy melodies. If I ever want to smile, I simply have to put on some Katamari music. It cheers me up instantly. The vocal tracks are the best. Some of my favorites from the first game include "Lonely Rolling Star," "Katamaritaino," "A Crimson Rose and a Gin Tonic," and "Katamari Mambo" (I especially enjoy the male singer in that last one; he sounds so crazy!). Then there's "Cherry Blossom Color Season" with some adorable child vocals, "Que Sera Sera" with its notable English vocals ("I want to wad you up into my life!"), and "Katamari on the Rocks" which gets stuck in my head for days whenever I play the game. And I can't forget to mention "The Wonderful Star's Walk is Wonderful," which may not be a vocal track, but it's my personal favorite. I could honestly gush about every song on the soundtrack; the whole thing is fantastic! I had to give special mention to the title screen music, though. It's the very first thing the player hears upon turning on the game, and it's fantastic. It's basically just a guy singing a simple melody, but it's an instantly classic tune. It's calming, cheerful, quirky, and immediately recognizable. All you have to do is sing the first two notes ("Na naaa...") and it's already in my head! For the people The basic premise of Katamari is to roll junk up into a ball. It's a very simple idea, but it's crazy just how fun it is. It starts the player off as a tiny little ball rolling up thumbtacks and candies, growing larger and picking up progressively bigger objects like trash cans and bicycles, and eventually becoming huge enough to roll up entire buildings and even the very island they're standing on. It's such a wonderful feeling to see the Katamari growing larger and more powerful by the second and rolling up everything in its way. But I always find that the most fun comes from rolling up people. The behavior of the humans in Katamari games is hilarious. When the Katamari is still really small, they sort of just go about their business normally, most of the time not even giving a second glance to the weird ball of junk rolling around them. But once it's big enough, people will notice it and run away in terror, flailing their arms wildly. Even when they get rolled up themselves, they keep flailing their arms and legs in a comically energetic manner, like insects that are stuck on their backs. They also make funny noises upon being picked up. Usually it's a goofy shouting or laughing sound, but many of them make other strange noises. The biker punks' cries are especially odd. This video has a good sampling of the many sounds the people make. It may seem cruel to enjoy rolling people up into a ball of random objects, potentially crushing them as things like cars and buildings are added into the mix, or impaling them on fence posts and street signs, or burning them on campfires, or drowning them as the Katamari rolls through the ocean. And all the while they await their fate of being turned into a flaming hot star in a newly reformed galaxy. But, you know, they'll probably be okay... right? I hope? I'm sure they're fine... My cousin Dipp The Prince's many cousins are a bizarre bunch of individuals. They can be found hidden in each level, and can later be selected for use in the multiplayer mini-game. Over the course of the series, more and more cousins were added to the mix, and they became playable characters for the main game as well. Even though they're essentially just costume swaps of the Prince (they don't have special abilities or anything), I just love collecting all the little guys. Whenever I find a cousin as I'm rolling around one of the levels, I absolutely have to roll them up. If they're too big, I make it my goal to grow large enough to grab them before the timer runs out. The cousins also have some of the craziest designs in the game. They're all very colorful with differently-shaped heads. There's Ichigo who looks like a strawberry, Marny who's shaped like a tennis ball, Nickel who's a robot, Lalala who is always naked, Miso who literally has a bowl of soup for a head (filled with actual soup in later games), and many more. My two favorite cousins are Dipp and Odeko. Dipp's body is covered with brightly-colored, flashing polka dots so he looks like a disco ball or something, and Odeko has an unreasonably tall head which grows taller in the later games and makes certain items like the headphones look really funny. I almost always play as those two. Throughout the Katamari series, the cousins seem to get weirder and weirder. The original 23 from the first game have all had their features altered and intensified, while newer, crazier cousins are introduced as well. I really like them though. They're like a strange, dysfunctional, rainbow-colored family. I bet they have the greatest reunions! Must find all of the things! Katamari Damacy is one of those games where I have to collect everything. I feel like I haven't truly finished the game until I've rolled up every last object I can find. This mentality is mainly due to the very detailed collection screen, which lists every object by category, location, and size, as well as a separate list for rare objects with special names. Each list provides a percentage of items that have been collected, which of course made the completionist gamer in me want to fill out each list for 100% completion. Katamari also took one step further with its collection screen by adding funny little descriptions for each object in the game. The descriptions appear to be written from the perspective of the King of All Cosmos, since they often use the royal We, which the King enjoys using to refer to himself. Since the majority of the objects are human items, the King sort of has to guess at what they're used for through observation, so a lot of the descriptions are humorous. Some of my favorite descriptions include the peach ("A butt-shaped fruit that is more tasty than butts."), the chopsticks ("Why are these called chopsticks? And why are they so difficult to use?"), the toothbrush ("A stick to put in your mouth. There's got to be a purpose..."), the nail clipper ("Used to clip human claws. We wonder if it hurts."), the handcuffs ("If you do something really bad these may be used on you! Or if you are good..."), and the dung beetle ("Rolls cow dung and makes it bigger. We feel a little rivalry here."). The collection screens are always a joy to read through. Every time I find new items, I go directly to the collection to read what the King has to say about it. In fact, there's actually a Twitter account specifically dedicated to cataloging every single Katamari item with their descriptions! And now for something completely different It's not often I praise a game for its cutscenes, but Katamari's cutscenes are simply glorious. The game's intro is just about the happiest, craziest thing I've ever watched, and it sets the mood perfectly. It has rainbows bursting everywhere, animals dancing and singing, the King flying around and looking all regal, the Prince doing a happy little dance, and really catchy, upbeat music. It might just be my favorite opening scene of all time, simply because of how wacky and cheerful it is. Those ducks get me every time! And then there are the other cutscenes which focus on the human Hoshino family as they live their daily lives while Katamari are being rolled in the background. These scenes are particularly awkward. The Hoshinos are all square and boxy, move very slowly, and speak in slow, unenthusiastic voices, but something about their boring demeanor clashes with the wackiness of the game in a hilarious way. The cutscenes always had me laughing in a "what did I just watch?" kind of way, and I kept looking forward to seeing more of them. Oh, and the little girl also has her own cutscenes after each constellation level is completed. She gets a peculiar sensation and proclaims, "Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!" before swirling out of control into the cosmos herself. I love those scenes so much. Past Experience Points .01: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.02: Shadow of the Colossus.03: EarthBound.04: Catherine.05: Demon's Souls.06: No More Heroes.07: Paper Mario.08: Persona 4.09: Final Fantasy IX.10: Mega Man Legends.11: Rayman Origins.12: Metal Slug 3.13: Animal Crossing.14: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King.15: Super Mario Sunshine.16: Final Fantasy VII.17: Nier.18: Chrono Trigger.19: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.20: Red Dead Redemption
Katamari Damacy photo
Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!
Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a p...

Katamari designer's new game Wattam is all warm and fuzzy

Jun 01 // Jordan Devore
It starts with just the Mayor, that boxy green guy pictured above. He has a penchant for explosions. You can assume direct control of him and countless other objects (which, hilariously, have human names) and your ultimate goal is to explode together by holding hands to form a chain. The trick is using each character's ability to interact with their surroundings and one another. Doing so will expand the world and bring new folks into the fray, from sushi to a toilet to a lawn mower. The music brings this concept home. Characters have their own sounds, their own tunes, and the audio flows to form a cohesive whole even as you incessantly flip back and forth between them. This is the kind of game best played socially with a group of friends and some beers, or perhaps with a child. Its creation was influenced by Takahashi playing make-believe with his two-year-old. That inspiration shows. Wattam is coming to PlayStation 4 next year, and I am pumped.
Wattam photo
High on life
"Oh, thank eff. There's a trailer!" A couple weeks ago, I saw Wattam, a near-indescribable game from Funomena and the creator of Katamari Damacy, Keita Takahashi, at a pre-E3 event. (He had excellent socks.) I'd heard that n...

Katamari Damacy photo
Katamari Damacy

Close out Earth Day with a little Katamari Damacy

Wake up the King
Apr 22
// Jordan Devore
Chris gave a nod to Final Fantasy's Geomancer in honor of Earth Day, which I thought was an original choice. It got me thinking about games that are ever so vaguely related to the celebration. I'm sure you have one in mind. ...
Wattam photo
A little green mayor!
Wattam is a new PS4 exclusive from Robin Hunicke (Boom Blocks, My Sims) and Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy, Tenya Wanya Teens). The game was inspired by Takahashi's experiences playing with his two year...


Katamari Damacy composers confirmed for MAGFest 13

Lonely Rolling Staaaar
Oct 02
// Dale North
MAGFest, the Music and Games Festival, is going into its thirteenth year, and to celebrate they have some big musical guests lined up. Katamari Damacy composers Yuu Miyake and Yoshihito Yano will be...rolling into town t...
Awesome art photo
Awesome art

More beautiful game-inspired woodblock prints you can buy

I want to wad the Katamari Damacy print up into my life
Mar 06
// Steven Hansen
We've shown off Jed Henry's Japanese woodblock renditions of game characters before. I'm still in love with that original Samus one. But Henry's catalog is growing, to my wallet's growing concern. Shadow of the Colossus, Fina...
Kool Katamari kontroller photo
Kool Katamari kontroller

Yoga ball is the best way to play Katamari

Repurpose that exercise ball you swore you'd totally use
Jun 26
// Steven Hansen
I don't know if controllers will cut it after watching the unabashed joy on the faces of folk playing Katamari Damacy with a yoga ball turned controller while the screen is projected onto the side of a building. The video co...
Keita Takahashi photo
Keita Takahashi

Katamari creator goes indie, joins former Journey devs

Keita Takahashi working on game with San Francisco-based indie devs
Jun 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Kamatari creator Keita Takahashi is working a new game with Funomena, a fledgling indie studio founded earlier this year by former thatgamecompany developers. Announced at the Horizon conference in Los Angeles yesterday, the ...
Katamari Damacy photo
Katamari Damacy

Katamari Damacy trundles to PlayStation Network next week

Roll up all the things!
Apr 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Katamari Damacy is coming to PlayStation Network! Announced during this week's PlayStation Blogcast, the first entry in Namco Bandai's acid trip of a series is set to arrive as a part of next Tuesday's PlayStation Store ...
Cryamore photo

Cryamore demo is live, composer covers Katamari

Lonely Rolling star, free previews, and comics too
Apr 07
// Jonathan Holmes
Double Cryamore news, everybody! First off is the GDC demo's release to the public. I haven't had a chance to test it out myself (it looks like it will take around 7 hours to download), but it's free, so I can't be too ...
Tenya Wanya Teens photo
Tenya Wanya Teens

Katamari creator teases Tenya Wanya Teens

Love, hygiene, and monsters
Mar 19
// Darren Nakamura
Keita Takahashi, the man behind Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy, in collaboration with Venus Patrol, has revealed a bit about his upcoming game, Tenya Wanya Teens. While there isn't much information out there yet, we do hav...
Chiptunes and remixes photo
Chiptunes and remixes

The Black Box: When chiptunes and piano collide

Awesomeness from Ubiktune
Mar 08
// Jayson Napolitano
We have come to know and love the excellent offerings from the Ubiktune netlabel over the years, and they've just unleashed an amazing album that combines chiptunes and live piano titled The Black Box. It features ...

New game from Katamari creator debuts in March

Lets roll it up into our lives
Feb 19
// Jonathan Holmes
Keita Takahashi has been keeping a lower profile of late. He hasn't been involved with the Katamari series since since We <3 Katamari, and Noby Noby Boy was his last game to be seen on consoles. Other than his LA Game Spac...

LA Game Space fund offers new games from big names

Katamari creator, Vlambeer, and more to release new titles
Nov 24
// Jonathan Holmes
We've talked about the L.A. Game Space kickstarter and its absurdly generous rewards before, but they bear repeating. Gaijin Games is putting the backer who donated $5,000 into their upcoming game Runner 2 as a playable char...

Exclusive: ShiftyLook to launch Katamari webcomic

Sep 12
// Dale North
Nah naaaaaaa, na na na na na naaah na!  We've rolled up some exclusive news and details on ShiftyLook's newest webcomic, Katamari. Coming straight from the starry cosmos, and channeled through the pens of creative team A...

Katamari Damacy rolls into the MoMA

Jul 31
// Hiroko Yamamura
As part of an exciting new exhibit, Namco Bandai's Katamari Damacy will be shown at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000 will explore the world in which children, and c...

Tear down the walls with new Touch My Katamari DLC

Mar 13
// Hiroko Yamamura
Sick of those silly walls deciding your path and fate in Pac-Man? Well, you don't have to take it anymore! Namco Bandai has announced some new downloadable content for Touch My Katamari for the Playstation Vita. Among o...

This Touch My Katamari trailer makes you barf rainbows

Feb 23
// Dale North
  Touch My Katamari is now available for the PlayStation Vita. As we said in our review, the Prince and friends are back in fine form, returning from a stretch of sad games. This time they've brought some katamari stretc...

Review: Touch My Katamari

Feb 14 // Dale North
Touch My Katamari (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Namco BandaiPublisher: Namco BandaiReleased: February 15, 2012MSRP: $29.99 No, I really laughed out loud. Often. Namco Bandai took the harsh criticism of the most recent Katamari Damacy games and funneled it into the latest sequel to serve as a sort of storyline. While the first two Katamari installments were great with their junk-rolling action, killer music score, and strange humor, the ensuing ports and spin-offs quickly devolved into a sad approximation of the originals, making fans sad, and making the King of Cosmos and his princes look washed up.  In Touch My Katamari, the King really is washed up, and realizing this he lets in-game fans approach him to vent, with the intent of repairing their relationship. They line up on one side of his strange, multicolored head extension to gripe, and it's on you as the Prince to roll up a solution to address their concerns. This makes for very snarky, self-aware dialogue, and it manages to turn the King's babbling into something interesting for the first time in several games. Gamer gripes that you'd find on any message board or comments section make it into Touch My Katamari and actually become inspiration for levels. Hilarious animated story chapters run alongside the King's story, following a slob of a gamer that is trying to get his life together, just like the King. Very clever, Namco Bandai. This is their silliest game yet. For the first time we have a portable game system with two analog sticks for a Katamari game, which means that Touch My Katamari can be controlled exactly like the original titles. What a relief! Of course, this being a Vita game, there's also a touch-control option, but it becomes tiring as you actually have to flick continually to roll the ball. A more welcome new input method lets you use either the front or rear touch panels to stretch or compress the Katamari with a two-finger pinch or pull. A wide, flat Katamari helps you pick up smaller items in a roll, and a tall, compressed one allows you to roll up to reach areas that would normally be inaccessible. While this addition makes item gathering a bit easier than before, it also lets you form your own rolling strategies to help you make the biggest Katamari in the fastest time.  The goal of rolling up a big ball of junk in a set amount of time is still the same, but there's a few unique challenge types to mix up the standard action. Some have you trying to create the biggest Katamari by using only a set number of objects. Others have you attempting to roll up only one type of object. One of my favorites (that's also in Beautiful Katamari) has the Prince working to form the biggest ball of food with the lowest calorie count; the item indicator gives you a caloric count for each item rolled over. They're nice ways to switch things up, but at the end of the day it's the same rolling game we've all played so many times already. It's just funnier, controls are better, and looks are nicer.  When rolling gets old, you can take a break by enjoying the silly collectibles and side features Touch My Katamari offers. Poking through galleries of rare collected items is fun, but I preferred clothes shopping for the King. He has his own dress-up room where he'll model anything you buy for him -- even women's clothing. If you weren't laughing already, wait until you see the King's poses. These clothing items and other unlockables, like soundtrack remixes, are purchased with candy pieces, which are rewarded by the King and his followers after each mission. It's nice to see that Namco Bandai has breathed a bit of life back into the Katamari franchise. Touch My Katamari looks and plays better than ever, has a hilarious new story, and new touchscreen controls give players additional ways to roll their own, but that all doesn't change the fact that this is basically the same game we've played so many times already. If you want to see the King of Cosmos at his funniest in his first portable dual-stick roller, Touch My Katamari is worth a buy. Everyone else might want to save their launch-day budget for a more original title.

I LOL'd.


Five games we could really Kinect with

Jan 16
// Conrad Zimmerman
Kinect, as it stands right now, is a "pretty cool" thing. As a supplement to the general operation of an Xbox 360, it's hard for me to imagine living without it now that it's in my home. As an accessory designed for the purpo...

The King of All Cosmos is as awesome as your principal

Jan 14
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
And this is the premise behind Touch My Katamari. The King of All Cosmos must prove that he is awesomer than that little kid's school principal. At least that's what I hope the premise is really all about, because that would...

Touch My Katamari trailer: Goro the Slacker is a gamer

Dec 20
// Dale North
Goro is...well, he's a lot like me. He's a gamer, slacker, and internet addict, though my head quite isn't as long as his. You'll see in this new trailer for upcoming Vita game Touch My Katamari that during one of his strugg...

Preview: Touch My Katamari

Dec 12 // Samit Sarkar
Touch My Katamari (PlayStation Vita) Developer: Namco Bandai Publisher: Namco Bandai Release: December 17, 2011 (JP) / February 22, 2012 (NA, EU) Namco has released Katamari games for the PSP and iOS, but they’ve suffered from a lack of dual-stick controls. Touch My Katamari is the first handheld title in the series to be released on a platform with two analog sticks, and it’s great to bring the feel of the console games to a portable device. You can also move The Prince around with the Vita’s front touchscreen, and it’s ideal for menu navigation, but I prefer the sticks for gameplay. Touch My Katamari is also the first Katamari game to tweak the now-familiar gameplay mechanic of rolling up everything in sight into a ball of ever-increasing size. Now, you can horizontally stretch the Prince’s katamari into a rolling-pin-like form, or squeeze it into a disc-like figure. These aren’t merely aesthetic changes: altering the katamari’s shape allows the Prince to reach areas he might have been previously unable to access, or roll up objects more easily. I played in a messy bedroom, and by stretching my katamari, I was able to roll underneath a low desk to pick up some junk that was lying underneath. The rolling pin also cuts a wider swath across open areas, allowing you to pick up more items in a single pass. With the Ferris wheel shape, I could fit my katamari into a narrow gap; the katamari also moves up and down ramps more quickly like this. To stretch, you put your fingers in the middle of the Vita’s rear touchpad and pull them apart; to squeeze, you make the opposite motion. Double-tapping the touchpad resets your katamari to its original spheroid shape. The gestures are simple, and I found the pad to be responsive. I didn’t get to play more than one stage, so I can’t say for sure if the overall level design actually makes these gameplay changes meaningful, but they made a difference in the cluttered bedroom. Playing through stages earns candy, the game’s currency; you can use it to buy stuff for the King and unlock new modes as well as music. (The music, by the way, is as delightfully zany and catchy as ever.) The game also utilizes the Vita’s location-based “Near” functionality, allowing you to exchange information such as high scores with other players in your area. Beating their scores gives you extra candy, and who doesn’t love that?

Everybody loves Katamari Damacy, right? Keita Takahashi’s silly, quirky creation -- classified by publisher Namco Bandai in the genre of “rolling action” -- is, by now, a beloved series. But for many fans, t...


Touch My Katamari Billiards trailer is classy as hell

Dec 09
// Dale North
Well, it's as classy as billiards trick shots in soft focus set to piano music can get. That's pretty classy for anything related to the Katamari games from Namco Bandai. ... Okay, so it's not classy at all. But it's hilario...

King of all Cosmos struts his stuff for Touch My Katamari

Nov 15
// Conrad Zimmerman
Namco Bandai released the opening cinematic for Katamari Damacy No-Vita (Touch My Katamari in the US and Europe), coming to PlayStation Vita. You can watch it. The King of all Cosmos has some serious moves. It's ea...

Help us design our upcoming Katamari Dtoid shirt!

Oct 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Our Destructoid store is slowly expanding with more and more gaming shirts. The next gaming inspired design to arrive at our store will be a Katamari Damacy themed one created by the wonderfully talented Linz Collins. The ful...

The DTOID Show WAS live today! It was good, we had juice

Oct 21
// Max Scoville
Today, we did our live show, as usual. You know, except Tara and our producer Zac are down at Blizzcon. Today I got left to my own devices with Anthony Carboni, host of Revision3's new show New Challenger, which I was o...

Touch My Katamari will be a day-one PlayStation Vita game

Oct 20
// Jordan Devore
The Katamari Damacy title for PlayStation Vita has been given a rather amazing name: Touch My Katamari. Better yet, the game will be available on February 22 alongside the PlayStation Vita's debut in North America, Canada, Eu...

PS Vita digital games cheaper than boxed copies

Oct 11
// Jim Sterling
Last night, a number of PlayStation Vita launch titles were priced for Japan, bringing with it the good news that digital versions will be cheaper than physical versions -- something that the PSPgo utterly failed to do. A num...

Katamari Amore rolls onto your iPhone today

Sep 29
// Brett Zeidler
Feeling the need to get the ball rolling? Well Namco Bandai foresaw this and decided to whip up a portable Katamari for your iPhone. Katamari Amore will be hitting the App Store today and it's more of exactly what you'd expe...

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