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Article for the week of 7/23/08

The Wonderful End of the World is kind of nice (Review)

By, Cozmic

The Wonderful End of the World is one of those weird indie games available through Steam, Valve's subscription service, the kind of thing one decides is worth $11.24 if only because it is easier than running off trying to find Katamari Damacy for that amount of money.
Yes, the game is a shameless Katamari clone, except rather than rolling things to create stars, you are now trying to save as much as possible for when the world gets destroyed by a giant fishheaded monster, and instead of a ball, you create some sort of walking golem-esque thing, which admittedly looks kind of cool because you can make it look like Voltron or something.
Now, for those not familiar with the concept of Katamari Damacy, it's countless sequels wich do the same and also, this game, you start out as a tiny little thing and then walk over objects smaller than you to add them to yourself, thus becoming larger, thus being able to run over larger objects, until finally what started as a mess of plastic forks and gummy bears incorporate a few trees, a bus, some people, an orangutan (yes, there is one in the library, among other places) etc.
The sheer joy in running amok and rolling (oh, wait, not the right word, walking over... okay, yeah, rolling!) everything in sight is a pretty nifty one once you get the speed up. Of course, the choice to make a walking monster comes with it's own set of problems, such as the fact that the parts aren't mashed together airtight and thus walking over small objects is essentially a pain, and corners are another one of those things that cause problems. Oh well, rumbling through the world is still fun, especially as you get to a frenzy of trying to grab everything before time runs out.
And it is quite a nice world. I'm unsure just how much of it is origianl and how much is Katamari, the graphics are certainly resemblant of Katamari, but the wonderful introduction video made in a 1950's style is quite adorable, and the levels are all filled with pretty cool stuff, and occasionally Tauren. The arcade world, with references to Pong, Space Invaders, Mario, Pac-Man and honest-to-god Tron warms an old gamers heart, while the Word Forge level is jam packed of cool quotes among the occasional stray letter, and one can actually wonder where the priorities lie when “The only thing we have to fera is fear itself” is considerably smaller than “WHEEEEE!”, but nevertheless it is quite charming.
Once you clear 11 of the 12 levels (and the final one is a pain to unlock, so thus far, no luck) you get access to two new game modes, running around without a time and instead trying to grab a certain amount of objects as fast as possible (roll almost everything) and exploration mode where you are free to look at the orangutan for an hour should you want, as there is no clear objective and no timelimit. Usually you just roll everything, which is right about the point one of the biggest flaws appear. You cannot roll every single thing in some levels, there might be a house or two and a blimp left. If there is one thing i want to save in the world, it is the blimps, as blimps are awesome, and if I have to save poratpotties to do so, then so be it, but if I cannot save the blimp I would rather not save the bad excuses for restrooms either!
All in all, while The Wonderful End of the World has a lot of flaws, it still provides a bit of fun when you are tired of more serious games.. and really, trying to get A-ranking on all levels is a frustrating and fun endeavor that might keep me occupied for a while. Try it before you buy it, and if you already have Katamari it might not be worth it, but if you always wanted a Katamari game but cannot afford one or lack the appropriate console, this could very well be a viable alternative.

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