I’m lucky in that my girlfriend actually enjoys videogames. Brilliant aye. Problem is, she only enjoys a certain type of videogame. As much as I would love to get some co-op Halo on the go or fire up a quick game of Pro Evo, that’s simply never going to happen……ever. So, after spending a little too much time recently playing through single player games that she had absolutely no interest in (how was I to know she wouldn’t enjoy The Cursed Crusade?), I decided I would bring out a tried and tested couples classic this week for some quality his & hers gameplay - that always loveable, utterly bonkers but always outrageously addictive, Katamari.
While we were both relative latecomers to the Katamari party, we have both been avid fans since I picked up Beautiful Katamari on the Xbox 360 a few years back. That has led, not only to a trip through the classic PS2 back catalogue (all great by the way) but also, rather unsurprisingly, to Katamari Forever on PS3. Purists will probably tell you otherwise, but if you’re new to Katamari, you really can’t go wrong with this brilliant compilation on PS3. Made up of graphically updated stages from the series history with a few new stages thrown in for good measure, this really is the definitive Katamari experience.
For those new to Katamari, you play as the Prince or one of the other crazily designed cousins that you unlock as you progress through the game and, using your diminutive little companion, are tasked with rolling up as large a Katamari as is possible in the time permitted. Often starting off at the point in which you are too small to roll up so much as a mere piece of household jewellery, things quickly expand, often to the point in which you are rolling up buildings and even continents and planets.
As fantastic and utterly addictive as the roll-em-up core mechanics are, it’s the quintessentially Japanese design, adorable visuals and unforgettable soundtrack that will often stick in the memory long after you stop playing – The Katamari games are unquestionably as much fun to watch as they are to play, thus making them perfect couples fodder. It also helps that, without feeling like it is pandering to a certain type of crowd, is as about as accessible a videogame as you are ever likely to find. With so many games attempting to capture the casual market, Katamari serves as a welcome reminder that a game can appeal to every demographic without the need for unnecessary concessions.
If you haven’t played a Katamari game before, I strongly suggest you give Katamari Forever a go. If you have, go back and play them all again…..you know you want to.