By Spencer . March 31, 2009 . 10:39pm
Namco Bandai’s DSiWare Katamari game is a distant cousin of the series. Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy has players align bricks and junk by dragging pieces carried by the Prince’s cousins. Fill a row with purple bricks and they vanish, just like Tetris, but the goal of Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy isn’t to make lines. You want the pint sized Prince to do what he does best, roll stuff up and make stars.
Occasionally, the cousins carry a Katamari ball. Set this to make the Prince appear and roll his Katamari in the direction of the arrow. If a block isn’t underneath him he falls after he grabs the object. In the above picture the Prince will grab all of the sweets. Any blocks supported by junk also fall and disappear if they form a full line. Junk can’t be cleared unless the Prince collects it or you have a special item. Roll on top of a present and you could get a star which erases one class of junk (all of the strawberries, for example) or the Queen who blows away a few of the top rows.
As you amass more objects the Katamari grows, sort of. Other than a meter on the left screen, a larger Katamari is illustrated by larger objects replacing tiny ones. Candy turns into office supplies which turn into animals, then people, cows, houses, whales/replicas of Tokyo Tower, and at the end you’re rolling up planets. That is until you pass the planet stage and the loop rewinds. No matter which stage you’re in Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy only has three types of things for the Prince to snag. In endless mode the cycle continues unless you’re out of space and a block or piece of junk touches the top line.
Challenge mode is like a brainteaser. The King of All Cosmos sets requirements such as collecting 19 cows in 45 seconds and gives you a partially filled grid to work with. With an extremely limited amount of time, usually less than two minutes, you need to fulfill his request. While you start each challenge with the same grid, luck can affect challenge mode. In most of the challenges the cousins give players random blocks. Beating a challenge unlocks more difficult challenges until you get all of them.
Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy sounds a lot like Tetris, but you don’t want to stack blocks as if you were playing Tetris. The trick to this game is doing the opposite of what you would do in Tetris. You want create a maze for the Prince by lining up alternating rows of junk and blocks with a single gap for him to fall through. Use this strategy and you can rack up points while the Prince follows the snake-like trail of garbage. Being counterintuitive makes Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy kind of clever and at the very least different from the myriad of other block dropping games.
Food for thought:
1.) This game is really a reskin of Pac-Attack, a Super Nintendo puzzle game Namco released back in the 90s, with a few tweaks. The copyright on the title screen even says 1990-2009. Katamari Damacy didn’t exist in 1990.
2.) Namco Bandai licensed Vocaloid star Hatsune Miku, a face for a voice synthesizer program, to “sing” the game’s closing song. Instead of spending money on this Namco Bandai should have made original music for Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy. Aside from the Hatsune Miku song the main songs, the ones you hear when playing the game, are downsampled music from past Katamari games.