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An adorable & instantly charming low-stakes collectathon, almost an experiment in using traditional design principles and seeing if the game still works without a fear of failure or hard loss. In my opinion, it absolutely does work with maybe just a few hurdles in design that crop up now and then.
Some people may be instantly turned off by the overly "moe" aesthetic, but I think this actually hits a nice balance of not being overly cutesy in a way that rams it down your throat. Even though the audience of this game isn't really me, I found it to be a relaxing time. It helps too that the controls are pretty tight and offer a lot of flexibility of movement (the Hat in Time connections are more than the cameo), though sometimes I ran into depth/space issues due to the 2.5 D aspect with my character model. I would love casual games to move away from the Animal Crossing/Stardew Valley model and into something more directly interactable like this, so I would highly recommend this as a more passive game to return to now & then.
Y'know, coming back to review this and seeing that this had also been released on mobile at some point kind of helped me solidify the issues I was having with this game & why it just wasn't clicking. It seems overly simplistic to just say "yeah this feels like a budget mobile game that for some reason was on the PS2 and had a little more production value behind it", but that really does boil down a lot of my issues here.
The combat is braindead easy, and this is coming from someone who usually doesn't mind if a game is on the easier side. The problem is, it does feel like "click on the thing to make it go away", so there has to be a lot of feedback issues that keep this from being satisfying (compare this to the breakneck pace and instant gratification of the Ys series to get it more). A lot of the aesthetics & presentation are also pretty generic, with the centaur man & kangaroo merchants being the only real standout elements so far. I'd still try the other Shining Force games, but this one just totally failed to grab my interest.
A fun little blatant Katamari ripoff, though instead of rolling ball you just become the stuff you pick up. It's very much on the budget side, and it's too repetitive over a long stretch of time, but I love the funky soundtrack & the dedication to really try to match the Katamari wacky vibes. A fun little diversion but nothing that blows me away.