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Katamari Steamrolls Onto iPhone

Katamari Damacy fans, rejoice, as Bandai Namco released a version of the underground hit console game for iPhone last week. Titled "I Love Katamari," the iPhone version uses the device's built-in accelerometer for game play, the touchscreen for menu controls, offers four game modes, and the same sort of oddly translated messages from the King of All Cosmos that players expect.

The original Katamari Damacy is game that puts the player in the role of a servant to the King of All Cosmos, who has knocked all the stars out of the sky after a drunken binge the night before.

As his servant, you are tasked with rolling a katamari ball-like thing over items in the world -- small items at first, like paperclips or erasers -- in order to create a larger Katamari. The larger the Katamari, the larger the items you can pick up. When you've reached your goal, you report back to the King, who uses your Katamari to replace one of the stars in the heavens.



I Love Katamari Screenshot
Oh Noeeees! Your car has been rolled!

A bizarre game foundation, but one that garnered a somewhat rabid cult following, and now those cultists can exercise their obsession on the iPhone. Gameplay works by the user tilting the iPhone in the direction you wish to roll the ball -- similar to the way you might futilely tilt your game console controller, but this time it will actually move your katamari in the direction you want it to go.

The game features Story Mode (find and roll-up the King's requested object), Time Attack More (roll up as much as possible within a time limit), Exact Size Challenge Mode (roll your Katamari to a precise size as given to you by the King), and Eternal Mode (roll for as long as you want as fast -- or slow -- as you want).

The game calibrates its movements based on the position of your iPhone when the game launches, and a re-calibrating option is available in-game.

So far, a lot of reviewers have complained that performance on an iPhone is slow, though we also saw suggestions to put your phone in Airplane Mode to increase performance.

I Love Katamari is priced at US$7.99, and is a hefty (for an iPhone app) 83.8MB download through the App Store.

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