~ Silvercube's family-friendly blog on random entertainment and life.

– =|Blog Banter [#5] {Beautiful Flaw-amari}|= –

Welcome to another wonderful addition of Blog Banter, which involves Hawty McBloggy’s community responding to a suggested topic.

This month’s topic is:

Discuss one game you quit before completion because of a particular perceived flaw it had. What was that flaw and how could it have been fixed where you would have finished the game?

When I thought of this question, the only game that popped into my mind was Beautiful Katamari.

What was the game’s flaw?

Well, it was the first time I had ever played a Katamari game, and unfortunately the learning curve was not easy at all. For those unfamiliar with the Katamari series, it consists of rolling a ball around picking up things – and over time it grows really big to the point of picking up buildings and things of that nature.

I had a very hard time struggling with the controls, and to make matters worse each mission usually had a time limit – an idea so archaic that is laughable by today’s standards.

The problem was that after a few missions, I could never get the size of my ball to be the required size by the end of the time limit. I re-tried the mission over and over again, but alas, to no avail, my katamari skills could not for the life of me produce a ball big enough to meet the developer’s standards.

While I loved the artwork and music soundtrack to the game, the gameplay (primarily because of the annoying time limit) really halted my stay on Beautiful Katamari.

If the developers had taken out the time factor, this game would have been much more enjoyable. Perhaps I might return back to the world of Katamari someday, but as it stands, this game has been sitting on my shelf for a few months now – and that’s where it will be until I roll over to the game and try to play it again. : )

Anyone else despise time limits?

Take a look at other blogger’s responses: Unfettered Blather, Triage Effect, Gamer Unit, Delayed Responsibility, Man Bytes Blog, CrazyKinux’s Musing, Zath!, Draining Souls.net, Game Couch, 8-Bit Brigade, thoughts and rants, Hawty McBloggy

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9 responses

  1. I’ve never played any of the Katamari series, but I have heard of it. In a game where the point is to roll a big ball around and crush/pick up stuff, a time limit does seem a bit out of place.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:06 pm

  2. I don’t think time limits are bad if used correctly.

    The developers of Portal said they used a timer on the last puzzle of the game to add a sense of tension. The truth was the puzzle wasn’t that hard but the timer added a sense of urgency that would lead players to believe the solution was more complex than it was.

    Worked to, by the time I figured it out I had to restart. Once I knew how to solve the puzzle I had plenty of time. In fact, part of the trick was to be very patient despite the timer.

    Developers need to get away from punitive measures for gamers. A timer is not a bad thing in a game like Katamari (played the original myself) but the timer needs to be long enough that the player is not penalized for exploring a little or not figuring things out right away. I hate games where I routinely succeed with just seconds to go. That’s too close! If I’m doing a good job and hitting my goals but the timer countdown is consistently under 10 seconds, you’re pushing the player too hard.

    We’re here to have fun after all, and I don’t want increased pressure.

    I do wish games like Katamari and Elebits had timerless levels from the get-go instead of making it an unlockable. I feel like the lock away the best part of their games. I would still do the missions in Katamari Damacy but the Eternal mode you unlock at the very end is the best part of the game.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:10 pm

  3. deckard47

    For the most part, I totally agree with you. Time limits suck, and are often a way to pad game replay hours and make you go back to the same spot, over and over again.

    However, as someone who is close to beating Dead Rising, I can say that I have now played a game where a large time limit is used well. It gives you a sense of urgency. It’s not too short, but it’s not enough time to stand around doing nothing, ever. It keeps you moving. I’m sure developers think that they can translate this effect to small time limits within missions, but it never works. Instead, it makes a fun mission stressful and annoying.

    Come to think of it, the only good “time limits” are games that last a certain amount of time or have a fuzzy limit. Fallout 1 and 2 come to mind. They let you play with the limit a bit, but there were still consequences if you dawdled.

    April 30, 2008 at 1:57 pm

  4. bs angel

    I had no idea anybody else had the same frustrations with Beautiful Katamari. It was the only game I asked for over the holiday season and I was so disappointed. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get the hang of it. You would think rolling a ball around would be easy but it’s actually quite difficult. I believe I passed the first two levels and gave up after spending a solid week trying to pass the third. I even searched online for tips on how to play the game, … And on top of that, it wrecked havoc on my motion sickness.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:02 pm

  5. I don’t mind time limits as long as one is reasonably able to complete the tasks at hand. From what you tell, this wasn’t the case, and that’s a flaw.

    I’d rather get lets points, or perks, then to have to do the whole bloody level again if it’s too difficult for me.

    CK

    April 30, 2008 at 2:20 pm

  6. @ Adrenis: Yeah, I thought it was going to be a relaxing “rolling the ball” type game. I was so wrong! :)

    @ Jason O: Seldom have I come across any games where I enjoyed having a time limit. Maybe Halo 1 at the last level.. maybe :)

    @ deckard47: Dead Rising? That is one hardcore game. Good luck completing it! ^_^

    @ bs angel: Yep, you are not the only one. I could not believe a game so cute can be so difficult! At least the checkpoints were not an issue.. :P

    @ Crazykinux: Yeah, time limits should only be allowed if its reasonably easy to complete the mission :)

    April 30, 2008 at 2:45 pm

  7. Triage Effect

    Time limits bother me because they make me really nervous. My heart beats faster, I start to sweat… grr! I’ve never played a Katamari game but if it’s all about time limits, I think I’ll stay away!

    April 30, 2008 at 8:42 pm

  8. @ They make me nervous too.
    I still wonder if the PS2 versions were this annoying, though ^_^

    May 1, 2008 at 8:59 am

  9. I rented Katamari Damacy, played it for a few hours with my wife, got bored and returned it. Then we noticed that we kept thinking about the game and wanted to play it again. At that point something clicked. I think Katamari isn’t a game, it’s a state of mind.

    May 1, 2008 at 1:16 pm

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