Imagine yourself going by doing your daily routine. You are minding your own business when suddenly from the distance you hear screams of people desperately trying to outrun something. That something would be a katamari – a sticky ball that can pick anything up smaller than itself. From the smallest of insects to the tallest building, nothing can outrun it. This is the world of Me and My Katamari. Sounds horrific but all this is brought together is a charming, colourful way that doesn’t make you think twice about what you have just picked up.
Me and My Katamari is the PSP installment of the Katamari series. A series that first saw the light of day in Europe on the PS2 as We Love Katamari. This is when I fell in love with the series. I recall buying a PSP originally so that I could just play this game and to this day it is one of my favourite titles for the handheld.
The Katamari series is based around the misadventures of The King of All Cosmos and the Royal Family. Me and My Katamari sees the King and the Royal Family taking a well earned summer holiday on Earth. However though, the King gets a little too excited and creates a tsunami that has destroyed nearby islands. Like previous titles, the poor Prince is tasked with creating new islands using several Katamari.
The game play is what makes Me and My Katamari special. Just like the other games you push a Katamari around a stage collecting items to make yourself bigger, allowing you to collect even bigger items. You will have a time limit, a size target and a type of items to collect. The later is not that important here but the other two are. If you do achieve the target before the set time you can continue collecting items as you will be scored at the end. The major difference in this portable version is the lack of dual analogue sticks. To move a Katamari around you require two movements – one from the left and one from the right. This is perfectly translated onto analogue sticks but with the PSP only having one, the developers had to get creative. To overcome this the right stick is mapped to the face buttons and amazingly it works. It took me a few stages to get use to it but after a while, and thanks to the addition of sharp turns using the shoulder buttons, I soon got my Katamari groove back.
For me though, Me and My Katamari is very easy. I managed to hit every goal we’ll within the time limit resulting in some very high scores (100 is the max).
The downfall of Me and My Katamari is how outdated this game play is. It is always the problem with a game that centres around a core mechanic. If you change it too much it will become a different game but if make no changes, we’ll it can become a little stale. Even though this is the case here, Me and My Katamari is still a fun title to play. It will take about 6 hours to complete but you will start to notice rather quickly that you are playing the same few stages over and over again. The only difference is that you can go slightly bigger each time.
I remember the finale in We Love Katamari very vividly and it was fantastic. In that game you were creating planets instead of island and the finale saw you Katamari getting so big that you could roll up these planets and then eventually the Sun. It was great fun and I will always remember it. Here though, nothing like that happens. You can get big enough to roll parts of land up in the current level but not the islands that you have created. It may be due to the limitations of the system but it is a shame. You may think it is counter productive rolling up the islands you have created but if you are knowledgeable of how much of a disaster the King of the Cosmos is then it is quite suiting.
For me how the game looks and sounds is something that always sticks in my mind. Even this many years since first playing it on the PS2 I will find myself humming the main theme tune. In whole, the soundtrack for Me and My Katamari is very catchy and each songs compliments the gameplay.
Me and My Katamari is a short game but it does offer some replay value. You can go back and beat high scores to unlock eternal modes. This become available once you score 80 or more and allow you to play a stage with no time limit. This is perfect if you have an obsession will collecting everything in a game. As well as beating your scores you can also collect all gifts, find all your cousins and complete your item collection. Without any time limits, collecting these things becomes a doddle.
Me and My Katamari is not the definitive game in the series but it is an excellent portable entry. You can see the limits of the hardware whether it is in the amount of items on the screen or how the stages are split but the Namco have done an excellent of bringing the magic of Katamari to the PSP. The Katamari series is not for everyone but Me and My Katamari is both perfect for fans and for newcomers. Yes it is easy and the gameplay is very samey but boy, it is still fun to play.
Me and My Katamari - 8/10
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Mad Scientist with a passion for gaming!