Katamari Damacy has been a cult favorite on the consoles and portables, but its record on mobile has been spottier.
One of the first major iPhone apps, I Love Katamari was criticised for having bad controls and framerate issues. More recent iOS devices have had the processing power to handle the crazed gameplay, but Katamari Amore is the first real chance to redeem the franchise on the mobile.
Katamari Amore is coming to iPhone and iPad next week as a Universal app, but we got to spend some time with it ahead of its release.
Keep it rolling
In case you’re unfamiliar with the cult series, it centres around a little space prince who has to roll his magnetic ball to collect items for his royal parents.
Some levels require you to find a particular item, while others ask you to make the ball as big as possible. The more items you collect the larger the ball becomes, and the bigger the items you attract.
There are six worlds here: John’s Room, the North African Streets, the South American Ruins, the Space Center, Western Europe, and East Asian Palace.
Each has items unique to its environment. The South American Ruins has llamas, gold masks, and girls in traditional dress, while John’s Room has schoolbooks, candy, and scribbled-in notepads.
The Universal app looks decent on the iPhone, but even better on the iPad. The visuals seem bigger than the previous version, and the framerate is solid. Otherwise, it's all a fan would expect from a Katamari game.
With two major changes.
First, perhaps as a response to complaints, there's an additional control option: double virtual stick. This puts a thumbstick on both sides of the screen, meaning it works just like the popular PlayStation 2 and 3 Katamari games.
Second, Katamari Amore will use the freemium model. You can download Katamari Amore for free, but it only gives you access to John’s room and the two-minute Time Attack mode. You'll have to pay £2.99/$4.99 for the 'Have a nice trip!' pack that makes the game fully playable.
From our hands-on, Katamari Amore should satisfy fans disappointed with I Love Katamari’s gameplay, though you'll have to wait until next week for a definitive verdict.