As many others have mentioned, this game is basically Katamari Damacy on PC... except it is not as good as the real thing. Not that it's a bad game either, actually I had a lot of fun playing it, it's just that it's very short and has a few gameplay issues. To those not familiar with the Katamari games, the gameplay basically consist of moving around picking up any object/animal/person smaller than you. As you pick up stuff you grow in size and thus are able to absorb bigger stuff. Levels are timed and the goal is to absorb as many objects as possible within the time limit. The main difference is that in the Katamari games you roll a ball around while in The Wonderful End of the World you control a walking humanoid made out of spheres. Now lets get on with the review:THE GOOD:
- It's Katamari Damacy on PC! The gameplay is the same and, to the best of my knowledge, it's the only Katamari clone in existence, so lets be grateful for having it on PC.
- The music is good for the most part, with some tracks bearing a style very reminiscent of Katamari Damacy (although I found the track from the Word Forge level very annoying).
- Levels are varied in design, there's indoor and outdoor locations and a few themed levels (e.g. Arcadia, Word Forge).
- As you beat levels you can unlock two other gameplay modes: time attack and free exploration. The latter is a blessing for OCD completionists like me ;-)
- Controls are responsive and you can configure the mouse sensitivity. BTW mouse-look provides you with more spatial awareness in comparison with the dual stick controls of Katamari Damacy.THE BAD:
- Levels are too short and there's too few of them. You have 12 levels clocking around 3-5 minutes each. This means you easily go through the whole game in 2-3 hours if you don't aim for all the achievements, and half of that time will be spent in replaying the levels to get the A grade required to unlock the final level. As reference, I got 100% achievement after 5 hours of gameplay.
- Level design could have been better. All levels are square areas (no around-the-world levels) and there's only a couple of them that deserve to be called big. There's nothing compared to the massive Katamari levels where you can end up engulfing cities, continents, planets and stars.
- Graphics are very simple and rough but get the job done. However, most of the objects are pretty plain, e.g. furniture, dogs, fruits, tools, average people, etc. Half the fun in Katamari was the charm and personality transmitted by the quirky characters and scenes you could find around the levels, they felt truly alive. TBEOTW levels feel more static.
- There's not enough challenge, most levels can be beaten with an A grade in one or two tries. However there's one notable exception: the Internet Cafe is a PITA, I ragequit several times when aiming for the A and A+ grades.
- The sound effects are just meh, I found the standard sound for when you pick up something lame, overused and, eventually, a little bit annoying. There's only a few objects with specific sound effects, (e.g. dogs bark, phones ring).
- There's little replay value. The alternate gameplay modes get old real fast since the levels are very short to begin with, there's not a lot to see. The main use for the free exploration mode will be to tackle a couple of achievements but beyond that there's no secrets or collectibles.THE UGLY:
- Playing as a walking humanoid is not as intuitive as rolling a Katamari ball: it's difficult to judge your size and contact points with objects. Considering It's a time based game, it's VERY annoying and frustrating when your character gets stuck in a pass that at first glance seems wide enough to get through. Also, as you grow in size it becomes more and more difficult to pick up small objects even though you walk right on top of them, because the walking animation doesn't provide a consistent contact area with the ground.
- Unlike Katamari, in this game it's not size that matters, it's the number of objects you have absorbed what determines which objects you can pick up (eg. the object counter must reach X number for you to be able to pick up Y object). This means that sometimes you can't pick up objects that look small enough and, conversely, sometimes you can pick up objects a tad bigger than you'd expect. So you can't always trust your eyes to plan your pickup routes, you'll be forced to rely in trial and error.
- When you walk against an obstacle you just stop, but sometimes when you walk against a narrow pass you get repelled back a considerable distance. This is annoying as sometimes you get thrown against other obstacles or outside the boundaries of the level, losing many precious seconds as you scramble to get back on track.CONCLUSION:
The Wonderful End of the World feels like a poor man's Katamari Damacy that conforms with providing the same basic gameplay experience. It plays exactly the same but lacks its charm and challenge. That said, it's a decently fun game, albeit very short and rough around the edges. I wouldn't pay full price for it, but if you're like me and need to scratch your Katamari itch, I think it's worth getting during a sale.