458 Reviews liked by canti

I usually don't write real reviews on here but I feel like I really felt like this one deserved it.
I didn't really expect much of this game to be completely honest. I've been wanting to go through the entire "Xeno" series for awhile and as this is the first game, I had to play it.
This game is a fucking masterpiece. ...and I mean it. 90% of this game I was in genuine awe at what I was playing. I could not believe that this was a PSX game. Phenomenal music, phenomenal plot, phenomenal characters, phenomenal everything.
All of this to say, PLAY THIS GAME. I loved it, and I'm sure you'll love it too.

There's something deeply ironic about people hailing this as "The Citizen Kane of Videogames" when it feels ashamed to even be one at all.

Man I should not have hit that gas station weed now a couple of demons have dragged me to Anor Londo😭😭😭

To me, Katamari Damacy is the margherita pizza of video games. It's one of the simplest yet most innately fulfilling concepts in the medium: roll up things with your ball to become big to roll up more things. While this description is accurate however, it doesn't do justice towards the game's underlying complexity. Committal tank controls combined with the seemingly strewn about yet carefully placed objects of varying sizes means that Katamari forces players to consider both the micro and macro design which the game effortlessly excels at. The player must weave in and out of clusters of increasingly large objects, building up their sphere while also mapping out the optimal paths (snagging relevant objects while keeping in mind how their shapes, once collected, will alter the roll) and keeping in mind how larger objects must be avoided at first and later consumed in the growing mass as the world appears to shrinks around you. For this reason, I think it's not just a simple power fantasy, and instead more closely resembles pure obstacle escalation. Katamari Damacy really drills in the sense of player progression from how the world unfolds from sense of scale (which is why it manages to get away with only three distinct stages) and even seemingly inverts its own concepts with side stages that force you to avoid smaller themed objects just to get your katamari to the perfect size for the ultimate outcome: the reward is made that much more gratifying with just a bit of restraint.
This all works seamlessly because Katamari is the king of player feedback. It can certainly feel frustrating at first, getting tossed around like fireworks by these moving objects that dwarf you, but the game knows exactly how to communicate your inherent progress. As your ball exponentially swells, these moving objects go from sending you flying, to lacking any significant impact upon contact, to eventually spotting the player and running away from the growing catastrophe. There's nothing more viscerally satisfying than coming back to mobile obstacles that were pushing you around and flattening them, hearing their cry as they too become stuck in the jumbled mess of rolling flotsam while the King of the Cosmos quips in the background. Simply put, the concept never outstays its welcome.
Going back to the opening metaphor, it requires much finesse to make all these different concepts sing together with little friction in a video game, this fusion of audio-visual presentation and player input. That said, to successfully disguise its intricate design and depth beneath its far-reaching artistic vision and simple yet realized gameplay mechanics takes a master's touch. Katamari Damacy does not try to explain why it works or how it succeeds, because it simply is, and it just does. Perhaps I've moved onto greater and grander things since that have built off of this, but I have to admit that sometimes, you just can't beat the basics in life. It's always worth going back for a slice or two every now and then, just to remind yourself that this is why video games exist in the first place: because underneath all this talk of focus and cohesion, video games are just goddamn fun.
Also, it's fantastic hangover food for you and your buddies after a long night, when they come calling you for content and suddenly it's 3 AM in a packed Discord call where everyone is wailing "YOU'REEEEE LONNEEELLLY ROLLING STARRRR" as this growing, screaming ball of flailing limbs bounces helplessly about for yet another awry creation. Let the good times roll.

A good example of what happens when you layer too many mechanics on top of each-other without enough refinement or cohesion. It's fine, but it's so much that it actually just becomes unmemorable.

It's a good game with a lot of good ideas, but I have a few hang-ups about it. For the price it is, it's worth it, but the problems regularly rear their heads.
What you have is a bullet hell-styled top-down shooting action game. You progress through levels and then encounter a boss at the end and midpoint of each level. The levels themselves are mostly just mechanisms to deliver encounters with enemies, and the enemies are mostly there to introduce and acclimate you to mechanics and concepts that will be put to the test in the bosses. Not to say that the levels are trivial, there's just not that many particularly memorable encounters outside the bosses; a special attack will handle most types of enemies after you've farmed enough ammo off of them. It's fun though, and the reflect, absorb, and dash abilities let you weave through and take advantage of enemy bullet patterns and feel like an expert doing it. The story is silly, but takes itself seriously enough that I was still compelled by the various idiosyncrasies of the characters. The music is very good, and I didn't find myself getting tired of any of the songs.
There are a couple problems though.
1. Hold inputs. By default, tapping right click does a reflect shine, and holding it activates absorb bullets. Both of these moves are suited to somewhat different situations (for example, it'd be nearly pointless to reflect bullets that aren't going to bounce back to hit an enemy, like those from a fragmenting grenade) and take up different amounts of meter, so it's frustrating that the input for each isn't more distinct. When you start the game, go into the options and change the absorb input from hold to hold and release; this fixes the problem. It does not fix the same problem for the spacebar's tap to dash, hold to do a meter-draining special move problem. The special move is useful in certain situations, but when the meter it drains is empty, you can no longer do the dash. The difference between the two inputs is so small, I suspect the dash might actually be a glitch entirely (as it's a very useful move, but isn't mentioned in the tutorial).
2. Meter placement. In a top-down shooting game like this, I find most of my time is spent looking at the player character and the area directly around the player character. Unfortunately, all the important meters for health, magic, shine, and ammo are at the bottom right corner of the screen, and are very small, and the same color as most environments, making them very difficult to evaluate at a glance. Audio indicators for low health and text pop-ups indicating low shine can be helpful, but often the text pop-ups obscure incoming bullets, and only appear when you're trying to activate a shine move anyway, so by then it's too late. This is also a problem with the rhythm bar at the top of the screen (which, as a sidenote, is a system that, while very necessary to success, feels a little tacked on somehow. Perhaps because the bar is so indistinct among the rest of the game).
3. No controller support. This isn't a large issue, but it might certainly be a problem for a few users.
Despite these problems and a few minor glitches, I still recommend the game. I don't think the issues it has drag it too far down once you learn to work around them, and I think the ideas it brings to the table are more than worth the price of admission.

Why do I need 40 triangles and 15 circles to learn magic!?!?!?!
This game sucks!
As of writing this "review" I was still under the impression that this was a "good game" and wrote this in "jest", but as of finishing this game it actually sucked dog penis, so this is now 100% serious

I was late for my dad's 50th birthday party because of this game. Sorry, dad. Love you.