Embarassing nerd confession of the day. I haven't actually played any of the Katamari games prior to this. I've frequently listened to the soundtrack, which is an impressively varied range of J-pop, electronica and jazz, and has a surprisingly large number of things you can hum along to.
Naturally, my favourite is:
So, the amazing music notwithstanding, what's the actual game?
The King of All Cosmos went on a bender, and managed to accidentally destroy all of the stars in the sky (and the moon). Since this makes it all very boring, he has conscripted his son (that's you), to help him replace them. The question of course, is with what?
And the answer is...stuff.
You are the Prince, a very tiny person, who has to roll up various household items with his magic sticky ball, or "katamari". This ball can roll up anything that is smaller than itself, so if you keep expanding its diameter with other small items (eg moss), you will eventually be able to roll up bigger things. This leads to a game set over progressively larger scaled levels as you grow from collecting pins and matches, up to animals, people, and sometimes buildings.
Things that are a bit wrong with this game. The graphics. They haven't really had much of an update from the PS2 days, and they can look a bit awkward. The style is still quirky enough that it's not off-putting, but some uprating of the resolution and so on would have been nice. The clipping is a bit terrible. It's an unfortunate side effect of building odd shaped things into a moveable sphere, but occasionally you get very stuck and it's more than a bit difficult to escape.
There's also a certain number of places where you can just fall off the world and need rescued. One level in particular had this very badly, and it's surprisingly annoying to fail a timed event because the King has to keep warping you back to a reference point, away from all of the stuff.
The control system is pleasing however, with an unusual twin stick tank style method which has you rolling all over the place. And it's generally a very leisurely activity. There's no small amount of relaxation involved in wandering about, acquiring things and enjoying the screams of people you've previously trapped in your ball of death. (The screams are unexpectedly realistic. You can honestly believe you're crushing people to death under tons of squid.)
Pretty short though. There's only a few hours in the main game, and the side stories of rebuilding the constellations don't expand the play style. And I doubt I'll find myself replaying it. Once you get to the final level, and satisfy the urge to collect "everything", I doubt the endorphin receptors would get much out of a repeat. (Same problem as I had with Donut County). With that in mind, this is currently pretty damn pricey.
If you've not played it, it's probably worth a go to tick off the nerdery box, and the soundtrack really is cool, but if you're not a super-fan, wait for it to go on sale.