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Xbox 360 Preview: Beautiful Katamari Demo Explored

Players: 1 - 4

Price: $39.99

Platform(s): Xbox 360

Developer: Namco-Bandai

Publisher: Namco-Bandai

ESRB: Everyone

Website: www.namcoBandaiGames.com

Release Date: October15, 2007

Along with this month’s copy of Official Xbox Magazine came a demo disk which had, among other things, a playable demo of Beautiful Katamari, the highly anticipated sequel to We Love Katamari. As a huge Katamari fan, I was eager to find out how the demo measures up to the other installments.

The demo shows no happy-go-lucky intro with a pop tune and cut-outs of the prince flying through the sky. Instead, it delivers you right into a level. The first thing I noticed, even as the King of All Cosmos was chattering away in the top half of the screen, is that the graphics, while still bright and colorful, were also smoother. This is due to the Xbox360’s impressive graphics capability, and yet somehow seemed strange with the otherwise blocky and geometric shapes. This didn’t put me off too much since the change is very subtle, but it’s still something to get used to in this new generation of katamari.

What took a little more getting used to was the music. The song chosen for this level is not the energetic and distinctly Japanese tune that we’ve all come to love in our Katamari games. It is a subdued song and while it’s just as bizarre as some other songs in the previous games, it seems unusually quiet. The

popping

noises that occur when items are picked up almost overpowers the music. Needless to say, it was not the best choice for the demo if they really wanted to get us excited about one of the best parts of previous games, which is the soundtrack.

The level itself is nothing to write home about. You get three minutes to roll up as much as you can, with the clock being your only enemy. You are rolling things up in a small town with a few food stands, a garden, and a pond. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been seen before in the previous installments, which was a letdown. I was hoping for a brand new kind of level, maybe the desert picking up cacti or in a baseball stadium catching foul balls. That’s not to say that new and exciting levels aren’t on the way, they just weren’t available here.

Although there is nothing new here, the demo is still a very good example of the game if one has never played it before. Those who loved the other games will be disappointed, but hopefully the full game will give us more to be happy about.