Game Reviews

Katamari Damacy Reroll Review

Now ported to even more systems.

by Dean James
Katamari Damacy Reroll

There have been some very out there games released over the years, but few have been as wild and zany as Katamari Damacy. Originally releasing for the PlayStation 2 back in 2004, the very stylized game was the beginnings of a series that become a cult classic over the years. After a five year run where there was a new console game every year or so, Katamari took a long hiatus outside of mobile games and an outing on the Vita. That finally changed two years ago when the original game was given an HD remake on Nintendo Switch and PC, which has now been brought to even more systems as Katamari Damacy Reroll once again.

Katamari Damacy Reroll is the very definition of an HD remaster, with the game getting a visual facelift from the original PS2 assets that definitely have not aged the best. In this latest release though, the game looks better than ever. The original was already a very colorful and visually appealing game when it was released and this release is no different. This is seen not only in the gameplay, but also in the trippy cutscenes as well throughout the game.

Just like the original game, Katamari Damacy Reroll has a very basic, yet funny story where the King of All Cosmos accidentally destroyed the stars and the Moon in the sky. This left people not very happy with him at all, so he enlists his son, the Prince, to help restore them. The King of All Cosmos requires a lot of materials from Earth to fix things, so he gives the Prince what is known as a katamari, which is the central focus of the gameplay.

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The katamari is a magic ball given to the Prince, which he is told to roll around and collect objects with. You have complete control of the katamari with the two analog sticks, with you needing to press them in various combinations to do different moves. Pressing the two forward will move the ball forward, while pressing only one of them will move the Prince around the ball to where you can push in a different direction. You have other abilities at your disposal, such as a charge move and a jump, which build upon the rather simplistic gameplay overall. While basic is design, the actual controlling of the ball itself can be a bit of a pain with how you navigate it. Trying to move around the ball to change directions can take some getting used to, which isn’t helped by the camera always being behind your back.

Starting off in each level, you can only pick up small objects that litter the ground all over. The more you pick up though, the bigger your ball will grow to where you can eventually pick up larger objects. You have to be very careful though, as running into something that is too big will cause some materials to fall off of your ball. There’s objects of many shapes and sizes all throughout the game and you will have to use some trial and error to figure out what exactly you can pick up and what you can’t when playing. There are also animals that will get in your way and knock you back with ease.

The structure of Katamari Damacy Reroll has you going from level to level on Earth to collect these materials by picking up objects that will grow your katamari to the requested size by the King of All Cosmos to help restore the Stars. You have to do so within a certain time limit too, so time is always of the essence as you’re moving around. After you reach the requested katamari size, you still have time to build it even larger to get better scores if you want. These can really get difficult after awhile too, so be prepared to be playing through some of the later ones multiple times to find the right path to increase your katamari size to beat the level within the time limit.

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These levels are scattered across Earth and split up by what you are working towards by completing them. This starts off with levels for Stars, but also Constellations as well that are handled differently. While the Star levels are all about katamari size, the Constellation ones task you with picking up as many of a certain type of animal as possible. These are a lot of fun, as you will need to build up your ball to be able to grab the larger variations of each animal.

The Home Planet serves as your main hub in Katamari Damacy Reroll, where you can do things like save your game and look at settings, as well as look at various things you’ve collected on your journey. From there, you can travel to one of two places, either Earth, which will take you through the single player experience discussed above, or the Space Mushroom, which is where two person local multiplayer is introduced.

Multiplayer is done via splitscreen, where both players are competing to collect as many materials as they can within the three minute time limit. The rules here work the same as in single player, but the interesting part is how you can sabotage one another. Running your katamari into the other opponent will cause you to lose some objects that have been picked up, adding another level of strategy into the mix. There’s not too much variety here that will give you a lot of longevity in multiplayer, but it can still be fun to play for a little while.

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One of the best elements of the Katamari Damacy series is its music and Katamari Damacy Reroll delivers as always. There is something about the music in the series that is equal parts crazy and enjoyable, which makes the whole experience all the better. These tracks can easily become earworms that will have you humming them even when you aren’t playing the game.

Katamari Damacy seemed like an all but forgotten franchise for a number of years, but it was great to see it return with the remaster as few years ago that has now arrived on a few additional platforms. For anyone that played the original, this one is just as good as it was before, though now with some visual upgrades and the ease of playing on a modern platform. Even for those that have never played the series, Katamari Damacy Reroll is well worth checking out if you at all like unique and addicting puzzle type games.

The Verdict

Maintaining all the charm of the original, now with upgraded visuals, Katamari Damacy Reroll is as quirky as ever with its fun level design and standout music. Hopefully this will lead to a brand new game in the series or at worst remasters of the other games at some point in the near future.

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Katamari Damacy Reroll

  • Available On: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Published By: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Developed By: MONKEYCRAFT Co. Ltd
  • Genre: Puzzle, Action
  • US Release Date: November 20, 2020
  • Reviewed On: PS4
  • Quote: "Maintaining all the charm of the original, now with upgraded visuals, Katamari Damacy Reroll is as quirky as ever with its fun level design and standout music. Hopefully this will lead to a brand new game in the series or at worst remasters of the other games at some point in the near future."
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