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Joystiq impressions: Katamari Forever


Remember when there were never going to be any more Katamari Damacy games? It must have just been a bad, bad dream, because Katamari (is) Forever. The new game, announced for US release yesterday, was previously announced in Japan as Katamari Damacy Tribute. It's rolling Stateside later this year exclusively for PS3 -- in full 1080p -- and we've seen it in action. Is it more than just crisp graphics and fancy new visual filters? You betcha. Join us after the break for more.

Gallery: Katamari Forever | 33 Photos

The version of Katamari Forever we were shown at Namco Bandai's San Francisco preview event was obviously Katamari Damacy Forever -- not a bit of it had been localized, but we can't imagine that taking an especially long time, really.

From the moment we saw the pop-up book style menus, we were smitten by that indescribable Katamari magic all over again. While we waited to see some action, we noticed a jazzy remix of one of the original game's tracks playing in the background; it sounded great.

When we finally got rolling (sorry) it was in a level where the King of All Cosmos had lost ... well, he basically had amnesia. In the world of all things surreal, this meant the level was completely devoid of color. However, when our demoer rolled up items, all instances of the same item in the world regained their color. The goal, as you can probably guess, was to restore color to the entire level. A meter filled as the Prince rolled up more and more objects; when it was at its max, a shockwave triggered that drew in all objects within a large radius of the Katamari.

The second of the two levels we saw wasn't about rolling things up -- the challenge here was to restore all the flora in the stage. The Prince was able to do this by rolling the Katamari into water, which it then soaked up like a sponge. The usual diameter display now showed how much of the wet stuff he was rolling around. As the Katamari passed over the parched desert, flowers and other greenery sprouted in its wake. Again, this was a "change everything" objective level. It was rendered using the colored pencil filter, which looked, well, amazing.

While Katamari Forever probably would have made an ideal PSN title, Namco has decided to release it on Blu-ray Disc. Although some of us would easily pay full price for the game, we have to think it won't retail for $59.99. Hopefully we'll hear more on the price and final release date soon. For now, all we have is "fall 2009."

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