Katamari Damacy Reroll
Reviewed by Josh Brant
Developed By: Bandai Namco Games
Published By: Bandai Namco Games
Category: Action & Adventure
Release Date: December 7, 2018
If you’ve never been enlightened by the Katamari Damacy series, it first appeared on the PlayStation 2 and has an insane concept that would seem utterly ridiculous on paper. However, now you can take this eccentric ball-rolling romp with you on the Nintendo Switch as Katamari Damacy Reroll, a port of the 2004 PS2 title. Fortunately for us, the extra level of polish on the gameplay and visuals has worked wonders for how crazily charming the experience is.
Katamari Damacy Reroll tells the story of how your favorite purple tights wearing father, the King of All Cosmos, accidentally destroyed everything in the galaxy, including stars and whole galaxies. Instead of cleaning the mess he caused himself, he’s tasked his son to take care of it. This involves rolling a ball called a Katamari around stages of objects as if it were a snowball and picking up all manner of items from thumbtacks, pencils, and erasers, to much larger objects including cats, dogs, and even people.
As the Katamari gets bigger you are able to pick up larger and larger items until you’re literally lifting structures and entire islands from the ground. Gameplay is pure insanity and each mission offers a variety of things to roll up and records to beat. Playing on the Switch wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be while using the Joy-Cons in tabletop mode or the analog sticks in handheld. It still retains the same authentic gameplay experience and features a variety of customizable options for controlling the Katamari.
You are timed for most of your tasks and while your smaller balls can be rolled up in a matter of minutes, by the end you’re trying to recreate the moon. If you have not mastered the controls, some of the later stages can be quite difficult to even complete and I can see a scenario where players might be frustrated with how it controls. Other tasks include trying to recreated night sky constellations, like Cygnus, where you just have to roll up as many birds as you possibly can, or roll up Ursa Major which requires you to only get one bear, but it has to be the biggest bear you can find.
The core gameplay loop is addictive and by far one of the most fun gaming experiences that someone could have regardless of their genre preference. Everything is just so unique and simple to pick up, and run with a clever concept that I feel as though you can’t really explain it although experiencing Reroll for yourself. Also, don’t worry if you feel like you’re note picking up items much bigger than silverware at the beginning, as you will quickly learn the mechanics and be on your way to building the biggest Katamari in the world.
Graphics on the remastered version breathe new life into this over 15 year old title to the point where I felt like I was playing a brand new Katamari game. The art style is charming and features a flourish of colors that are stimulating to the eyes. Visuals are only one part of the experience though, and Reroll is enhanced by a soundtrack which features a, experimental smooth jazz concoction soothing to the ears. All of the songs have lyrics about rolling stuff up and throwing them into space which I thought was humorous.
For all the praise I’ve been giving to Reroll it still is not not a new installment in the series and one can hope we receive a whole new title at some point soon. Also, it’s such a direct creation of the original that nothing was a new experience if you’ve played the previous version of Katamari before. If you’ve play it before than this might be to much of the same, although this is a fantastically nostalgic experience and something I envision many would love to return to.
Overall, Katamari Damacy Reroll is the perfect place to start your Katamari experience. This is the definitive way to play one of the most bizarre and enjoyable titles released to date. While some might feel the controls to be somewhat cumbersome and on just a few occasions I became stuck in hard to reach places, Reroll is a fantastic game and I think it should be experienced by everyone. My one word to describe Katamary Damacy Reroll while playing is ‘joy’ and it is a perfect way to describe my experience with the game.