What I'm Playing - No. 165
Welcome back to another weekly wrap-up of the games I’ve been playing over the past week!
There’s no spoilers in this post. Katamari doesn’t really have spoilers, although there are some screenshots of levels and discussion of level gimmicks below, so if you want to avoid those you should probably stop reading.
Click a title to skip to that section. Games contained within this post:
We Love Katamari (PS2)
Did you play Katamari Damacy? It’s such a fun and bizarre game, right? If only it had a sequel to give us more of the sheer joy of Katamari. Oh wait, it does!
We Love Katamari is the second game in the Katamari series, following Katamari Damacy. It released in 2005 for PlayStation 2, and that’s the only release it’s ever had. It’s never come to PC, or any other platforms. So for many people, the most accesible way to play it these days is probably emulating it using a PS2 emulator like PCSX2. That’s what I did!
If you liked Katamari Damacy, We Love Katamari is very similar, but it does tread some new ground. There’s more variety here compared to Katamari Damacy, likely thanks to its larger budget. The level designs are more varied, with levels taking place at different times of day, and in more locales, including an underwater level. Some levels feature interesting gimmicks. There’s a level where you have to roll around a sumo wrestler as your Katamari, and he starts out as an oblong shape and gets rounder the more stuff you roll up, which has an interesting effect on the rolling physics. There’s also a level where the Katamari is on fire, and you have to keep it lit and get it big enough to light a large bonfire. Another level puts the Prince in a tiny car, and forces you to constantly accelerate very quickly. That one was really fun, racing around at high speed while rolling things up was a really cool change of pace! You never know what the next level in this game will be like, and that helps keep things interesting.
Overall, I think the soundtrack of We Love Katamari isn’t quite as strong as Katamari Damacy. It maintains the ecclectic nature of its predecessor, but the songs just weren’t as memorable to me. That said, there are still some real standouts in this OST, Katamari on the Swing and Everlasting Love were my personal favorites. Plus, you have the option to pick what background music you want to play during each level, which is a nice new level of customization. I picked Everlasting Love more than a few times!
Running it on PC using PCSX2, the visuals look great. I played it in widescreen at 1080p and the levels looked just as good as the official Katamari Damacy Reroll release of the first game. Playing on emulator does have some minor drawbacks though. There are sometimes minor visual glitches, like on the results screen. These might be solveable by tweaking some settings in PCSX2, but they’re so minor that I didn’t feel it was worth trying. I switched from the last stable release, PCSX2 1.6, to the 1.7 development release of PCSX2 mid-way through my playthrough, and 1.7 has way fewer visual glitches out of the box than the stable release does.
Due to the interesting variety in level design and gimmicks, We Love Katamari has a stronger middle section than Katamari Damacy, but its final level is significantly weaker and didn’t make nearly as strong an impression. However, one of the later levels in We Love Katamari has you make a massive Katamari very similarly to the final level of Katamari Damacy. I feel like that should have been the final level in We Love Katamari, and it would have been a much more fun way to end it. That said, both games are really good. The same eccentric sense of humor pervades them both, and the Katamari rolling gameplay is still wonderfully unique and addicting. If you’re looking to get into the Katamari series, I’d probably recommend you start with Katamari Damacy, especially since its HD version, Reroll, is available on modern platforms. But if you’ve played Katamari Damacy and you’re looking for more, We Love Katamari is exactly that, and I definitely recommend giving it a try if you’re in that camp! I’m not sure exactly how long it took me to finish the game since there’s no time tracking information in either We Love Katamari or PCSX2, but HowLongToBeat.com lists the main story as 8 hours long, and my final time was probably somewhere around that.