iPhone App Video Review: Katamari Amore

by Andrew Koziara

Katamari Amore is the next release in a long line of Katamari games from Namco Bandai. This game is a great improvement over 2008's release, I Love Katamari, which sported awful tilt controls and technical issues. That being said, while Katamari Amore is indeed functional, it's also a very lackluster entry in the series that will leave many people wanting more.

The Katamari universe is colorful and random. In the game, you play as the Prince of all Cosmos, a five centimeter tall creature with a magic Katamari ball that rolls things up and grows in size. Your father, the King of All Cosmos, an eccentric titan of a being who speaks only in record scratches, tasks you with rolling up items from Earth that fascinate him. If you are sitting at your computer, staring at the screen with your head cocked sideways in confusion, then welcome to the series.

Each level starts you out as a tiny prince with a large goal. By rolling up small things like candies and paper clips, you eventually grow in size until you're rolling up books and bricks, people and animals, and eventually whole buildings. You just have to get big enough to roll up the King's requested item before the time runs out. The old tilt controls make a return, and they're joined by a solid dual stick set up, and the intuitive single stick controls. Unfortunately, the games controls, while far better than the first iOS release, make the prince control like something of a tank. The time limits feel very strict, and the game can prove quite difficult. The game is still fun, overall, and there are other modes to try out, such as Time Attack and Eternal.

Many people might criticize the extremely plain looking art, but that art style is what the game was founded on. The art, sound, and music all reflect the bizarre nature of this universe, to the point of feeling forced at times. Veterans of the series who have been playing since the original Katamari Damacy on the PS2 will likely be tired of the formula by now, and this game doesn't do anything to push the series forward. But if all you're looking for is a functional Katamari that you can play on your phone, this game more than suffices. If this series fascinates and intrigues you, then I strongly urge you to pick up the old console versions if you can.

The game is advertised as free, but you only get a trial level upon downloading. An in-app purchase of $4 is required to unlock the basic game, consisting of six levels with four modes. The game is iOS universal, supports Game Center, and is a pretty solid purchase for fans of outlandish and strange.

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