Remake the stars with a prince.
First in a series, the game Katamari Damacy (roughly, clump spirit) captures the loopy joy of a world that’s only a touch off-kilter. The stakes are cosmic. You control a tiny prince, whose father, the mercurial and chatty King of All Cosmos, has wiped the sky of its moon and stars. Their restoration hinges on your ability to deftly guide your katamari ball in picking up a range of objects, from the everyday (piles of erasers, sticks of gum, robotic toys) to the more outlandish (yowling tabbies, mail trucks, skyscrapers). The bigger your katamari, the brighter your star.
That’s the gist. As a kid, I tended to my own collections (stamps, bandages—mint in their wrappers, crinkled Mylar balloons, other haphazard fixations), and I’m partial to the alchemy that rockets a tangle of household goods into something celestial. It’s that wonder—alongside the levels, which teem with color and detail—mixed with a little light mayhem, that’s a real treat for kids.