• Publisher: Namco
  • Release Date: Sep 21, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 55 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 55
  2. Negative: 0 out of 55
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  1. 96
    One of the greatest video games ever made. [JPN Import]
  2. netjak
    The best $20 you'll spend all year. It truly defies description; it's one of those games that is so simple that it almost sounds boring, yet is nearly impossible to put down once you’ve picked it up.
  3. The game is pure joy right from the start with its bizarre opening sequence (imagine Monty Python doing the intro for a quirky Japanese game) and continues to be a blast all the way to the delightful interactive end credits.
  4. A unique game with a perfect blend of great visuals and a totally engaging gameplay style.
  5. Rather than feeling built, Katamari Damacy presents itself as crafted, as though all of the design team members felt a deep personal attachment to the title.
  6. More than just a novelty, it’s outrageously entertaining.
  7. Simple, addictive, colorful, and cheap; twenty dollars gets you about ten hours of entertainment, and more if you're a completionist. It's also difficult to describe in any way that makes any sort of sense, since it's one of those uniquely Japanese games that seems to have been conceptualized in the depths of a fever dream.
  8. The concept for this game is so simple, yet it works so well. Each of the levels are highly addictive, and they will keep you coming back for more, and to unlock all of the mysteries that this game possesses.
  9. As a total package, Katamari Damacy is one of the most original, imaginative, and purely entertaining games to come along in years.
  10. There’s really nothing else out there remotely like it, and if strange Japanese things are your bag, you simply cannot do any better than Katamari Damacy. It’s fun, weird and fabulous - a sickness certainly worth catching.
  11. There are no other games available on any console with the charm and quirkiness of Katamari Damacy. None. Silly, absurd, and wacky, but innovative, creative, and original all the same.
  12. Go buy this friggin' game. Now. Reward Namco for having the balls to put out something this... well, Japanese. For $20, you're getting one hell of a party game.
  13. At twenty bucks, this game is a steal, and the unadulterated joy and hallucinogenic aura you experience makes it a must-play for anyone with a Playstation 2.
  14. I'm far more excited by the ridiculousness of watching a lop-sided ball of junk made of houses, cars, welcome mats, sushi pieces and little girls, with a totem pole jutting out of one side and a herd of cows stuck to the other, rise up into outer space to transform into a star.
  15. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    Original addictive gameplay, elegantly simple graphics, and an awesome soundtrack - all for $20. [Nov 2004, p.131]
  16. 90
    It's not the most exciting concept in gaming history, but it's one of the best games that I've played all year...The only thing holding Katamari back from a five star rating is that it's over way too quickly.
  17. The noise of Earth can be scary. Hectic and pulsing. Enough to make even the bravest of Princes turn to syrup.
  18. It is a huge surprise that Namco has decided to release this bizarre but fun game in North America. It's defiantly a nice treat and at an attractive $20 price point it's worth the money.
  19. What sums Katamari Damacy's appeal up for me is the sense of unbridled joy bursting from every pore. It's the happiest game I've ever played, and the happiness is infectious. [JPN Import]
  20. Yet the beauty of Katamari Damacy comes not from fighting, exploration or trading, but from rolling a ball (known as a katamari) that captures anything within its path. A brilliantly simple idea, and one that's perfectly executed.
  21. It’s almost difficult to put into words how brilliant the game is. It seems to embody everything that gaming is about – pure fun, lacking any frustration at all, requiring the simplest of button presses to absorb you into a world full of colour and beauty that you will get lost in for hours on end.
  22. If Katamari Damacy is anything to go by, making stars is not only easy, it's incredibly fun...Presentation is typical of Namco - slick, innovative and extremely well polished. [JPN Import]
  23. 90
    It's something that's fun, something that's happy, and something that's so well put together and so enjoyable, whatever faults it may have fade behind the laughter and smiles it so effortlessly creates.
  24. The simplicity and fairly low challenge bely shockingly addictive gameplay. While big-name, big-budget sequels may dominate this year's holiday season, Katamari Damacy is a quiet, almost invisible candidate for Game of the Year. This is not a game to be missed, especially since it's only $20.
  25. 90
    It's a crying shame that availability problems look like preventing Katamari Damacy from reaching the enormous audience it so richly deserves. Scour your local stores for a copy, because you owe it to yourself to pick this game up straight away.
  26. 90
    Simply put, this is one of the most original and entertaining games we've come across in ages.
  27. PSM Magazine
    Immediately accessible yet rife with strategy. [Nov 2004, p.86]
  28. TotalGames.net
    Very few games today are so brazenly simplistic yet still so huge in scale so this really is a rare treat.
  29. Unapologetically surreal, which can make it tough to look away from, and its toylike gameplay model makes for a surprisingly satisfying experience.
  30. 86
    This has to be one of the most addictive games made since Tetris.
  31. The soundtrack is slightly odd and different and gets repeated throughout a stage, which will either be a considered a nuisance or fuel your search for the game's original soundtrack. It's all a matter of personal preference.
  32. Taken strictly as a puzzle game, it's pretty good. However, when you factor in the surreal Yellow Submarine style cinemas, the happy-happy music, the twisted dialogue, and the sole play mechanic of steamrolling people and towns into a giant ball of stuff, the end product is one of the most unique and altogether satisfying games ever published for the PlayStation 2.
  33. There's a fairly limited amount of strategy involved too, because a bigger katamari can't always access smaller areas, but most of the time you're just happily rolling your ball along without ever feeling bored, not even for a second.
  34. Probably the craziest game I've played in years. The simplistic control and wonky concept have me locked into seemingly day-long games. And wow, it's so worth it to build a bigger Katamari after each round and watch the King of the Universe turn it into a star. Too cool. I'm amazed at how such a simple game is so addicting.
  35. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    The goofy dialogue, smooth difficulty curve, and inherent fun of taking something small and building it into something big are all things you just can't find anywhere else on the game shelf. Bravo. [Nov 2004, p.140]
  36. It's safe to say you've never played anything quite like this one. Easily one of the coolest, weirdest and most original games of the year.
  37. Deceptively simple with a hidden layer of strategy. Katamari has a simplicity and charm that is definitely addicting.
  38. The only real hamper on Katamari Damacy’s greatness is the length of the title. Even with a two-player option, the game is far too short and is over before you know it.
  39. Once you figure it out and get rolling you'll find a fun romp. It's also extremely kid friendly, which is something parents will like to hear.
  40. GMR Magazine
    The game has an amazing energy and great joy. Its unfettered creativity is astounding, and this is where Katamari truly excels. [Nov 2004, p.110]
  41. 80
    A quirky and lovable puzzle-action hybrid that is totally satisfying and wilfully unusual. Despite its glaring eccentricity, it has a stable camera and excellent controls, meaning it's technically polished as well as beautifully and inimitably presented. It's mood music for the eyes. [JPN Import]
  42. 80
    This game is utterly infectious. It’s like sitting in the same room as a happy, cheerful, and funny friend; you can’t help but crack a smile, even in your worst of moods.
  43. Cheat Code Central
    A deliriously, delicious, surreal dream. It's a totally unique game, the likes of which have never been seen. It would have made a better arcade game give the rather short length of the gameplay but at twenty bucks, owing it isn't much of an issue.
  44. 80
    "Outrageously hilarious" were the first words to come out of our mouths when we rolled into town with Katamari Damacy. Filled with a lot of wickedly demented humor, Katamari Damacy is a cure for the dull and ordinary.
  45. Replayability is actually fairly high, for once you have completed a stage you can go back and try to make the star even larger.
  46. It's a novel idea that almost works to perfection, and it's bolstered by a whacky Japanese design that'll please gamers looking for title with an Eastern flavor.
  47. 80
    Katamari Damacy is interactive happiness. Charming, exuberant, and shameless, it’s a rare game in today’s world of self-aware, first-person shooters and freeform crime simulators.
  48. games(TM)
    It's certainly been a while since a title has had us dumbfounded with pure, unbridled gaming joy and, to be honest, you can't get a much better endoresement than that. [June 2004, p.112]
  49. While the story may be from a fever dream, the graphics are straight out of a ’60s acid trip. The colors are bright and vivid. The art style is something between a Monty Python short and The Beetles’ "Yellow Submarine."
  50. When so many games are trying to defend their value by cramming every mode and style into one unpalatable mix, it's refreshing to play something that's conceived with such vibrant, capricious clarity. [May 2004, p.104]
  51. It beats "Cubivore," "Vib Ribbon," and even "Mister Mosquito" in sheer quirk factor - and this fact makes up for a lot of the game's faults. [Oct 2004, p.134]
  52. I've never seen a control scheme like that before, but then I've never seen a game where you could roll a ball over a cat before.
  53. Weekly Famitsu
    8 / 7 / 9 / 7 - 31 silver [Vol 797; 26 Mar 2004]
  54. Play Magazine
    I'm certain there's a niche that will appreciate KD's low-key visuals, warped sense of humor and slightly Monkey Ball-ish gameplay. [Oct 2004, p.76]
  55. The visuals are dated but everything else about Katamari Damacy is too wonderfully weird in its simplicity for anyone to explain.

Awards & Rankings

#20 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
#56 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 141 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 141
  1. Aug 23, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This game appeals to a person on such a basal level that the game can be both challenging and accessible at the same time. The graphics are basic, seemingly from a generation BACK, but it quickly becomes obvious why when in later levels, you start at a size of 4cm and grow large enough to pull up crustal plates!

    Not since 'Jumping Flash' have I played something so bizarre and so incredible.

    ...and the music. My god.

    Stellar, absolutely stellar. Highest Possible Recommendation.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 4, 2022
    Katamari Damacy is all about mashing together disparate elements and enjoying the chaos that ensues. The crazy characters, weird music, andKatamari Damacy is all about mashing together disparate elements and enjoying the chaos that ensues. The crazy characters, weird music, and unique gameplay are all rolled up into a charming, surreal experience. Full Review »
  3. Jan 10, 2022
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