Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Critical Failure... My girlfriend tries to play Beautiful Katamari

So, I left my girlfriend alone with Beautiful Katamari for 10 minutes. I came back 10 minutes later and she still hadn't figured out how to start a single player game.


Pretty severe failure. Now she's stuck in a really boring dialog sequence about viewing stars. Stars that she hasn't yet created because she can't play the game to create a star.

She's trying her best to navigate the 3d "main menu" UI and can't figure out where to go.

Ouch. Now she's stuck in an awful save/load menu experience -- where Yes/No are mapped to A and B and you need to do an awkward tap dance to exit the save menu.

Sad thing is, I'm not sure I can figure it out either.

Another 5 minutes of struggle. She begs me to just start the game for her. Then she trips and finds the area with the beginner levels. Finally she's in a game (but not before asking "how do I skip all the dialog").

Of course now that she's in the game she's getting all these warnings that don't make sense because she skipped the intro (I told her to press the "start" button to skip the dialog). She wasn't sure whether "look out" meant for her to get the specific things or avoid them.

Then she was dumped into a minigame (I think it was a minigame) that was a funky billiards simulation. It was hard to tell whether it was interactive or not. Then she got a chance to try the level again.

She quickly got off track in a section of the map where everything was too big for her -- very frustrating.

It's also very clear that she will not tilt or pan the camera... This means that she is often at a disadvantage when she gets too close to a wall or tall objects that obstruct her view.

She failed again. Dumped into a mini game that was mostly obstructed by text. Annoying text. And it wasn't clear for the first little while how to play the game. It's unclear to me why they would show narrative text segments while you play a pretty involved minigame (avoiding billiard balls on a pool table).

Looks like 3rd time will be the charm, though. She's on pace to clear it. It's going to be close. She keeps getting screwed by the camera (which she either doesn't know she can control -- or isn't interested in controlling). Finally she did it and grew her katamari to the required size.

And, to top it off, the game basically tells her that she sucks. Is that supposed to be motivational for the more casual gamer?

Now she's frustrated after failing the third mission several times. She's been playing for 30 minutes and she still can't tell how close/far she is from her goal and how much time is left in the round.

I'm going to take over soon (I did like the first version) but I'm sad that we don't have a game that we can play together.

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