In the upper echelon of really bizarre deities, The King of All Cosmos is one creepy dude. A codpiece-wearing star-freak from the tail-end of the Universe, the ruler of all-things sticky truly loves to send his princely son on a variety of grand adventures. Of course, these quests always require the young noble to roll things up into a continuously-growing sphere of junk, but if you've played either of the two PlayStation 2 Katamari games before, then this shouldn't come as a surprise. Besides, using the smallish prince to collect bigger and bigger "balls 'o stuff" is what the series has always been about.
In Namco's latest jaunt to the weird, however, the previously-charming world of the prince (this time called "Me and My Katamari") wears out its welcome just a bit. You see, despite the game's solid transition from console title to handheld pick-me-up it feels like something is missing... and that something is variety.
Bear in mind that with a game like this, variety is a very big deal. After all, the entire gameplay concept is as simple as "steamroll whatever items get in your way before the time runs out while getting bigger." That's all there is to it. But when you have as straightforward an approach as that (without the benefit of mind-blowing graphics, insane speed, or some other attention-grabbing gimmick), maintaining the player's interest is what keeps him coming back.
One of the things I particularly appreciated about the game's move to PSP is that it has been made slightly more difficult. Antagonist AI is much more aggressive than it was in the console versions, and the stricter time limits and challenges beyond just collecting whatever you want (some missions are "themed" with your goals) help a lot too. Moreover, the lack of a second analog stick has been replaced very effectively with the face buttons (which serve as your steering devices) and the interface looks greats with plenty of cool things like stats, music, players, et cetera to go along with it. In short, this is obviously a game tailor-made for experienced Katamari players.
The problem with Me and My Katamari doesn't come from the smaller-scale focus either (this time the Prince is creating islands for needy animals instead of the much-larger constellations), nor does it from the number of items available (there's a giga-ton of those). The main issue is with the level selection and how much there is do once you're inside of one.