Last Monday, I Love Katamari for the iPhone and iPod Touch was released, and iPhone/iPod Touch owners everywhere rejoiced. OK, only Katamari Damacy fans would rejoice, but c'mon, who isn't a fan of a game where you can roll up pretty much anything and everything into a giant ball?
When I heard the news, I immediately went to the App Store and plunked down $7.99 of my own money for the game. I absolutely loved playing Katamari Damacy as well as its sequel, We Love Katamari on the PlayStation 2, and looked forward to see how the iPhone/iPod Touch version would fare.
As I expected, it's absolutely stunning, and the music is as addictive as ever ("NA-NAAAAAA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NAAAAA The Katamari Damacy" is stuck in my head at the moment). The story part of Katamari is usually a fun little quirk of the game, and it's no different here. It starts out with the King of All Cosmos losing his memory of Earthly objects, and wants the Prince to roll them up so he can remember them. And as always, you're asked to roll the katamari ball over all sorts of objects of varying sizes, and as you roll up more things, your ball grows in size, making it possible to roll up larger objects--even animals and people.
The gameplay itself is pretty interesting. The touch interface is very intuitive, and using the internal accelerometer of the iPhone to roll around the ball is absolute genius. You basically tilt the phone around to roll the ball where you want to go. You can add a speed boost by double tapping the ball, and turn around quickly by tapping the round arrow at the bottom.
However, I occasionally experienced quite a bit of lag when rolling around the ball, especially when the ball changed in size. I think this may be because the game is optimized for the second generation iPod Touch, which has a faster processor. Also, for some reason the sound doesn't play via the iPhone's speakers, you need headphones to hear the music. This adds to the argument that this game is made more for the iPod Touch than the iPhone. Because of the lag, I had issues with finishing challenges on time, but it could also be my lack of skill. I certainly wish Namco would release a more iPhone-friendly version of the game.
That said, I enjoyed it despite the lag, if only because of the addictive music (see above). I took a few screenshots of the game and compiled them in a slide show above. Check them out, and let me know what you think of the game!