How long has it been since your last Royal Rainbow? If you don’t already know what that means, don’t worry. However, if your answer is an emphatic ‘too long!’, then Katamari Amore is just what the King of All Cosmos ordered.
For the uninitiated, Katamari Amore is the latest in a long line of genre-defying games from Japan, beginning with Katamari Damacy for the PlayStation 2. Originally stunning audiences with its quirky style and simple gameplay, the Katamari franchise has been a success on many platforms, including iOS devices. The game’s barely intelligible but charming characters inhabit a uniquely colorful world that the player attempts to collect up into a ball by rolling over objects smaller than the one that your avatar, the Prince of All Cosmos, is pushing around.
Don’t forget to clean up after yourself.
It makes for a silly, entertaining experience, but unfortunately the Katamari series hasn’t evolved much since its debut seven years ago. There’s certainly very little innovation in this iteration of the franchise. The game’s menus are directly lifted from I Love Katamari, the other iOS entry in the series, and Katamari Amore doesn’t do much to change up the mechanics we’ve seen from the series so far. Luckily, it’s still fun to play. As familiar as this game feels, the first time you roll up a building in a Katamari game is an experience that may never get old.
The game progresses as many past iterations have. You begin rolling up objects the size of checkers in the first level, and you’re able to conquer objects as large as mountains in the later stages. The game has seven levels available so far, and more will be coming as in-app purchases. They’re generally enjoyable, but the Space Center level and bonus Pac-Man level are definitely low points in our experience. The Space Center is surprisingly difficult to get through, and the unlockable Pac-Man stage– though a neat idea– succeeds most as an example of how awkward Pac-Man is when played from any perspective other than the one we’re all used to. Navigating the narrow, ghost-ridden tunnels isn’t much fun with the Prince’s tank-like controls.
We’re gonna need a much bigger ball.
As weak as Katamari Amore’s controls are for gobbling power pellets, they’re a huge improvement over the control options of I Love Katamari. In that game, your only option was a fairly clumsy tilt-based control scheme. In this game, the default control scheme is a single virtual joystick. It’s okay, but we recommend switching to twin joysticks, which makes the game control like the franchise’s console releases. We can’t imagine this is anything but good news for fans of the series.
While Katamari Amore is largely more of the same, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Newcomers to the franchise could pick a worse game to start on, and those who already like these games should generally be satisfied.