Katamari Damacy (2004)
"Katamari damashii" (original title)

Video Game  |  Action, Fantasy  |  21 September 2004 (USA)
9.2
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Ratings: 9.2/10 from 144 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 5 critic

Playing as the royal son of the Prince of All Cosmos, you are sent to Earth with orders to roll its contents into several oddly-shaped balls to be used as replacements for the missing stars and constellations in the sky.

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Title: Katamari Damacy (Video Game 2004)

Katamari Damacy (Video Game 2004) on IMDb 9.2/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Yermakov ...
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Ryan Drees ...
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Towa McCauley ...
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Michael Fearney ...
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Dario Toda ...
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Xanthe Smith ...
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Fumina ...
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Akihiko Ishikawa ...
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Saori Ogiya ...
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Junko Ozawa ...
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Tomomitsu Kaneko ...
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Kaori Kurosawa ...
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Asuka Sakai ...
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Ryuichi Takada ...
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Keita Takahashi ...
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Storyline

The King of All Cosmos has a little dilemma. After a night of partying, he awakens to find out that all the stars are missing. It seems the immeasurably large King had a bit too much to drink the night before, and in his drunkenness, he took a swing at the sky, reducing the entire population of stars to mere stardust. Realizing what he has done, he calls upon his son, a cute, green creature with a mallet-shaped head and a height of about two inches, to clean up the royal mess he has made. The lazy, condescending King sends the Prince to Earth to roll up the entire planet's contents into several balls of varying sizes, called "katamari", so he can launch them into space to act as makeshift stars. You play the role of the nameless Prince, and you must "roll up" as many objects as you can in the time alloted to make the largest possible katamari. As the game progresses, so does the size of your katamari, until it is eventually large enough to collect animals, people, buildings, and even ... Written by Matt Huls (cowman777@hotmail.com)

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Genres:

Action | Fantasy

Certificate:

E | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

21 September 2004 (USA)  »

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Katamari Damacy  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

King of All Cosmos: Finally there are no more borders! Absolutely splendid!
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Connections

Spoofed in Chowder: Grubble Gum/The Cinnamini Monster (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

The Last Samba
Vocals by Katamari Samba-Tai
Music by Yu Miyake, Asuka Sakai
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User Reviews

 
We Are Moved to Tears by The Size of This Thing
20 January 2007 | by (San Francisco Peninsula) – See all my reviews

Video games have become such an enormous -- and costly -- industry that wild imagination has been almost completely shoved aside in favor of shareholder-appeasing risk averseness, formulaic game design, and endless sequels. "Weird" games, when produced at all, generally get no major promotion or distribution. So when such a game not only gets produced, but gets enough buzz to get an English translation and American distribution, there must be something very special about that game.

Katamari Damacy is just such a gem. Developed by a small team at Namco originally for the Japanese market, Katamari Damacy absolutely resists any attempt to classify it among the common game genres. The term "surreal" is commonly applied, but that's a cop-out, as it fails to capture the game's charm. Indeed, any attempt to describe the game will leave the reader scratching their head. Yet a description must be attempted.

You play the role of the very diminutive Prince, son of the King of All Cosmos. It seems the King went on a bender last night and inadvertently destroyed all the stars in the heavens. So His Majesty has given you the task of collecting enough material on Earth to reconstruct them. This goofy narrative serves as the back-story for one of the oddest game play mechanics ever conceived.

To collect the raw materials, you are given a Katamari, a sort of lumpy soccer ball that sticks to anything and everything in the world. Using the dual joysticks (PS2 version) in a manner not unlike driving a tank, you roll the ball over objects. The objects stick to the ball, making it bigger. The bigger your Katamari, the larger the objects you can pick up. Collect 20 or so thumbtacks, and you'll be big enough to collect erasers. Collect a few of those, and soon flashlight batteries are within your grasp. Get big enough, and the family cat will find its way into the rolling clump.

The goal: Grow the Katamari to a given size within the specified time limit.

I know. It *seems* lame. Where's the conflict? Where's the weapon load-out? Where's the mighty explosions? But before you know it your simian nit-picking drive kicks in, and you're rolling around the colorful abstract environment trying to pick up everything in sight.

Oh, yes, the environment. There's not even an attempt at photorealism. The environment is abstract. *Really* abstract. As in, flat-shaded polygons, and not very many of them. The object, creatures, and people in the world look less like themselves and more like figures from a Playmobil set.

I know. It seems *really* lame. But, rather than be a drawback, it serves to aid the player by allowing each object to be easily visible, which is important when you're surveying the landscape looking for the path that will yield the most objects most quickly.

This is not to say there are no outstanding elements to the game. The music is nothing short of *fantastic*. Given the abstract nature of the game, you could throw just about any musical genre at it, and it would work. And that's exactly what the makers did. About fifteen different tunes are heard during the course of the game, all in very different musical styles, and not a clunker in the set. In fact, the soundtrack is so good that it got released separately on CD. Especially good tracks are "Fugue #7777," "A Crimson Rose and A Gin Tonic," and "Lonely Rolling Star," But by far the most infectious is, "Katamari on The Rocks," the game's signature tune. I absolutely guarantee you'll be humming along within minutes of hearing it.

But putting all these elements together results in a game far greater than the sum of its parts. Katemari Damacy is utterly unique in today's game market. Yet, despite being unique, the game is unpretentious, never taking itself at all seriously. Indeed, the makers clearly knew they were doing something very weird, and injected a great deal of humor. They had an odd idea and, rather than seeking to justify it, ran with it as far and as hard as they could.

The result is a delightful game that anyone can pick up, learn almost instantly, and enjoy. Katamari Damacy is a landmark in video games, and deserves to be seen and played by gamers everywhere.


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