Katamari Damacy Reroll Review
The PlayStation 2 had an immense library of titles, but there was none so eclectic as Katamari Damacy, Keita Takahashi’s cult hit about rolling household items into oddly shaped balls known as Katamari of various shapes and sizes. Luckily, the Nintendo Switch and PC are being graced with such a quality remaster that despite this game being close to two decades old, it still holds up incredibly well. Katamari Damacy Reroll shows that sometimes the simplest idea for a game can be executed to such success that it still holds up so many years later. If you’ve never played this game, you’d be hard pressed to pass up with what is arguably the best version of the game to play.
There’s really no easy way to describe the premise of Katamari Damacy Reroll. You play as the diminutive Prince Of All Cosmos, tasked with cleaning up after your father, the King of All Cosmos. He accidentally destroyed all the moons, stars, and constellations in the universe and can’t be bothered to fix his own mess, so he drops you off into various locations with the goal of fixing his mess and filling the sky with brand new stars made of vegetables, people, animals, and even buildings. If you’re unacquainted with this series, you may have just done a double take, and I don’t apologize because that’s exactly what you’ll do. Katamari is so unashamedly weird that it’s arguably one of the main contributing factors to its success. There was truly no game like it at the time, and even today there still aren’t any titles that hit that same weird vibe that Takahashi seems to be so intuned with. Between the simple, colourful graphics, the almost infectiously catchy music, and the quirky humour, Katamari Damacy etched a nice little corner for itself where it spawned numerous sequels on various platforms, and that experience has been fully recreated with this remaster.
Katamari’s controls are still as slippery as ever, and while this could be seen as a bit of a turn-off, they feel intuitive enough after playing the game that you get the hang of rolling around pretty easily. You can opt between using the tank-style controls where you have to turn the joysticks in tandem or tilt them in opposite directions to move around each level. You can also go for Simple controls, where you move with the left stick and adjust the camera with the right stick, but Katamari Damacy Reroll also features motion controls on the Nintendo Switch, where you can use the joy-con to maneuver around each level. All three control schemes translate fairly well, but I’d recommend Simple if you’re new to the franchise simply for it being the easiest of the three to grasp. The game is deliberately a little unwieldy to control, but once you get the hang of the, its truly satisfying to play and replay through each level, trying to make a bigger and better Katamari to try and impress your father.
My personal favourite feature of this port is getting to see it’s simple aesthetic translated into HD. Katamari Damacy Reroll pops thanks to its simple, low-poly design, and it is a genuine treat to see it get upscaled into full HD. The performance in both handheld and docked mode is immaculate as well, with the game running like a dream; a buttery, silky smooth dream, as The King of All Cosmos would put it. The sense of scale can’t go unappreciated either. You start the game rolling up tiny objects such as tacks, erasers, and dominoes, but towards the end of the game, it culminates in one bombastic final level that really captures what makes Katamari so excellent. The concept of each level growing and evolving in the process is so simple, but so masterfully executed that it is immensely satisfying to see you go from rolling up someone’s messy desktop to rolling up their entire neighbourhood in a single level. Couple this with a soundtrack that’s whimsically upbeat and funky, and you’ll find yourself tapping your foot or humming along to the various tunes as you cause suitable amounts of chaos across the game. For such a terrifying concept, Katamari’s so delightfully upbeat that you barely feel bad about turning a town of people into a star.
Katamari Damacy Reroll doesn’t really add much in regards to new content, which is disappointing, but not a dealbreaker by any stretch. Unlike other remasters, Monkeycraft went for the “optimize the crap out of it and make it look pretty” approach and instead gave us a visually updated version of what is already a very complete game with a surprising amount of replayability that is as immensely fun as it was back in the day. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newbie that’s looking to try something a little different, rest assured that Katamari Damacy Reroll is the best way to get acquainted with this bizarre, yet endearing franchise. Here’s to hoping this isn’t our last visit from The Prince and King of All Cosmos.
**Switch Review code provided by publisher**
- Pleasing, HD graphics
- Incredibly charming
- Brilliant level design
- Excellent soundtrack
- Controls as clunky as ever.
- No new content