I can still remember the release of I Love Katamari [$4.99/Lite], the iPhone iteration of the popular Katamari Damacy console series. In an App Store that was still in its infancy, quirky indie titles made up the bulk of releases, with Sega's Super Monkey Ball and Activision's Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart being among the only recognizable brand names on a platform struggling to assert itself as a mobile gaming contender. Nowadays, big name IP's are common in the App Store, and iOS gaming is hotter than ever. In December of 2008 however, the appearance of I Love Katamari was an exciting and surprising move by Namco that hinted at great things to come for the platform.

Unfortunately, the game was initially plagued with performance issues that rendered it nearly unplayable on the Apple devices of the time. It was a shame too, since the ball rolling nature of I Love Katamari was really well suited to the accelerometer capabilities in the iPhone and iPod touch. Namco quickly issued several updates over the next few months following release that addressed the performance of the game, and eventually I Love Katamari became a mostly stable game that has lived a pretty happy life on the App Store ever since.

Now nearly two years after its initial release, Namco is again surprising us by showing I Love Katamari some love in the form of a substantial content update. There is now an entirely new level to play through titled Resort that has you rolling up items that you might find while on vacation. Additionally, I Love Katamari now features Game Center integration, with online leaderboards for every level and 14 achievements to unlock. Also worth noting is that with the latest generation of iOS devices, I Love Katamari runs without much issue. There are some slight frame skips when your ball increases in size, but nothing detrimental. The game runs admirably on 3rd generation devices as well, but is noticeably better on 4th generation iPhone and iPod touches.

We're happy to see so many old titles getting updates since the releases of both iOS 4 and Apple's Game Center social network. It really has the ability to breathe new life into these games, and the latest update to I Love Katamari is no exception. It is a game that I struggled to enjoy on my old device due to the poor performance, and with so many games coming out every day I had all but forgotten about it. Seeing the update in iTunes brought it back onto my radar, and I've been having a total blast playing through the game again. If it's been a while since you've taken I Love Katamari for a spin, and especially if you own one of the newest devices, make sure and check out the latest update and enjoy one of the strangest titles in the App Store.

  • http://erikveland.com ErikVeland

    No retina love though?

    • Adams Immersive

      My thought too. Maybe the silver lining is that non-retina could run faster? Depends on the game, I suppose.

      Clean geometric shapes (like this, Jet Car Stunts, etc.) look really nice at retina resolution. I hope that’s coming!

  • Zuriyahe

    Drop the price and this Katamari game will be mine....

    • Ecco6t9

      Namco usually tosses this one down to $2 every 4 months or so.

    • Ecco6t9

      Namco usually tosses this one down to $2 every 4 months or so.

  • TKO

    As I recall, this was the first game bought on the store that made me feel truly ripped off. The frame rate was appalling. {shrugs} Now that it's been updated, there's so much other truly polished stuff out there I don't see why I should give it another chance.

    Strange to add a whole level, but no proper retina display or iPad support.

  • warzin

    why? Everyone benefits from an extra level only iphone 4 users from the retina update.

  • Archimedes

    yeah, no new updates to the controls and that was, in my opinion, the real flaw with this game. I found navigating next to impossible. I was so excited when I saw there was an update but still the same old same old.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cat-Astrophy/100000838113704 Cat Astrophy

      I thought they did update the controls? Are you saying the control scheme is bad or that the controls are still not very responsive?

  • Malohkan

    Sounds like it's still not worth buying, bummer! I really loved the console Katamari games.

  • Gospel9

    Much thanks for the update. Still remember picking this up on launch... I was wondering about Gyroscope support, if that makes sense for t his kind of game.

  • amroc

    Yay, I love this game. Admittedly not on the first gen devices, it ran too slow. But on the new devices it's great.

    Best not to update it to Retina display imo, I'd rather have a good frame rate than Retina any day. Remember people, 4x as many pixels doesn't come "free"

  • Chriet Titulaer

    This is a great game but it suffers from a bug when you close the game and then open it again: the menu stops working! (at least it does on my iPhone 4)

    Also, the iPhone version is much harder than the console versions. Navigation is less accurate than on a console, but you get much less time to achieve your goal. I guess this is Namco's way of making the game last a bit longer but it can be quite frustrating.

    It's sad that Namco manages to underachieve with this beautiful franchise every time. The PS3 version was a disappointment too. I don't see why they don't dedicate a bit more time and effort into keeping this fantastic game alive.

  • Majo

    can somebody tell me where can I find Squash ? Thanks

    • Anon

      In the chilled cabinet, usually.

      • Majo

        in story mode or time trial ?