|Genre:||Arcade, Miscellaneous, Recommended|
|Released:||Out Now (Released in May 2009)|
Katamari Mobile is the phone version of one of the most bizarre console series of recent years.
How To Get It:
You can download Katamari Mobile from Ovi Store by selecting your phone's Ovi Store icon, or by going to store.ovi.mobi on your phone's web browser.
Alternatively you can go to store.ovi.com on your computer's browser.
If you can't see the game displayed on Ovi Store, it probably isn't compatible with your phone model.
For more info about using Ovi Store, see our Unofficial Ovi Store FAQ page.
Ovi Gaming Review:
Phone Used For Review - Nokia 5800 XpressMusic (games may be different on different phone models)
Gameplay - This game is wonderfully simple, anyone can learn to play it straight away with virtually no instructions (but just to make sure, the developers have made the first level an interactive tutorial to get you used to the controls). Like its console cousins, Katamari Mobile is a game featuring a ball called a "Katamari" which you roll around a landscape, with items on the ground that are smaller than the ball sticking to it. As the Katamari gathers objects it grows, and ever-larger items will stick to it until the Katamari is absolutely huge and seems to gather anything in its path including dogs, cats, wardrobes, television sets etc. The aim of the game depends on which level you play, some levels require you to get the Katamari to a certain size within a time limit, while others will require you to gather or avoid certain kinds of objects. There are also various bonus items hidden in the levels to increase the levels' replay value. Completing a certain number of levels unlocks more, and you can go back to completed levels to attempt a larger size Katamari, or to search for missing bonus objects, or just for fun... :-)
Although the game sounds easy to win, it actually requires quite a bit of skill to reach a certain size in a certain time, as you have to gather lots of smaller objects before you can start gathering the larger stuff. There are also parts of the playing area blocked off until you are big enough to break through the barriers surround them. The game often starts off slowly but things get more and more frantic towards the end of the time limit, which makes the game very exciting and satisfying to play.
Graphics - In many ways this is a brand new retro game. Katamari's publisher Namco became famous for their early 1980s arcade machines, and Katamari Mobile looks a lot like a late 80s coin-op arcade game right down to the choice of palette. Even Katamari Mobile's Namco logo intro seems to refer to old arcade machines, and the screen's vertical aspect ratio is similar to those used on many arcade games at the time, so it is very possible that Namco made a deliberate choice to remind people of their golden days with this title. It doesn't look as good as the PS2 or PSP versions of Katamari of course, but the gameplay still works in the same way despite Katamari Mobile's isometric retro graphics. The landscapes chosen are full of amusing little details and seeing your Katamari gathering up things like large dogs, coffee tables and fencing is very surreal and amusing. The cut scenes between levels are also reassuringly strange.
Sound - The sound consists almost entirely of midi music which adds to the 80s feel of the game, with a nice relaxing piano piece at the beginning and then a more confident electronic track throughout the game itself. To be honest the main game's music gets a bit annoying as it repeats itself too quickly, but it's easy to turn the volume down or off completely with the phone's own volumecontrols.
Multiplayer & Online - A bit odd this, the game has an item in the menu for downloadable content but any attempt to use it produces an error message, so presumably the code for accessing the downloadable content was never finished. However it doesn't affect the gameplay and there are enough levels already within the standard game. There's no multiplayer of any kind though.
TV Out - Like most 2D phone games, this looks fine through TV Out. However, if you're playing it on a touchscreen phone you may not be able to control the game without looking at the phone's own screen to see where your finger or stylus is.
Overall - If the PlayStation 2's Katamari Damacy had been a remake of a classic arcade game, then Katamari Mobile would be that classic arcade game. Katamari Mobile is very addictive because it's very easy to learn how to play but difficult to master. The game has a very well judged difficulty curve: it gets harder but you always feel like you could win if you had just one more go, so you do have another go, and lots more after that too. The structure of the game is very friendly, the humour is nice and weird, and there are apparently thirty levels in total so you definitely get your money's worth (though you'll have to play a lot to unlock them all). Katamari Mobile wins our Ovi Gaming Recommended award because it's simple, original and full of fun.
Score - 85%
Ovi Gaming Video:
Ovi Gaming Screenshots (taken on a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic - games may look different on different phone models):