Katamari Damacy RerollPS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC ¦ adventure
It’s easy at this time to get swept up in the optimism that a next generation brings. Flashy new this, shiny new that. But as we’ve already discovered so far, this gen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, with games really not excelling as they should, or just plain underperforming and underwhelming.
It’s refreshing to roll back time then, if you will, to simpler times. When fun could be had from simply rolling a ball around and collecting items on the way. It’s the perfect time then to reroll with Katamari Damacy.
The King of the Cosmos has a bit of a drinking problem. You see, he went on a bit of a bender, which resulted in the destruction of the stars. Oops. Of course he regrets it now, odd chap that he is, but he isn’t taking full responsibility for his actions. Well, he is still King of the Cosmos. So he charges you, his princely son, to visit Earth with a Katamari, which is a really sticky ball that collects all objects smaller than itself. That in itself doesn’t sound that effective, but is more so when you discover that as the ball grows, it can pick larger objects.
His royal highness then has tasked the Prince to pick up as much stuff as he can with his Katamari, so that the King can then go about making some new stars to amend for his drinking binge.
Originally released in 2004, this quirky title soon became a cult favourite. So much so that it managed to build a nice franchise from it. This ‘Reroll’ then is the re-mastered version of that original release.
At the heart of this game is a simple premise that echoes the initial gameplay of the first video games, such as shooting invaders, eating pills in a maze and hitting a ball with a bat. All you do is roll a ball and collect stuff, and that’s it. What makes this game stand out however, is its execution; it’s a bright and vibrant world, littered with curious objects and creatures that you have to navigate through. You start off indoors, picking up every day items, and trying to avoid the many cats and mice that seem to inhabit the world, because if you hit them, it can knock things off of your Katamari flying.
It’s a concept that is unashamedly bonkers, with a world that is just a joy to explore. Helping to enhance the gameplay is the game’s kinetic soundtrack, which still remains candy floss for the ears; it is gloriously bouncy and some tracks are the very definition of ear worms.
It would be amiss not to mention the King of the Cosmos himself; he is so entertaining that it’s disappointing that he hasn’t had his own spin-off game, perhaps revolved around that fateful drinking night, to find out what went down exactly. What’s more, his dialogue is still as sharp and funny nearly fifteen years on since its release.
That said, the game still has some issues. The control system really takes some getting used to, as you mostly use the thumb sticks to push the ball in various directions. Occasionally it can feel that your thumb wrestling with yourself, as you desperately prod the analogue sticks in all directions at once, usually resulting in the Prince not going very far, fast.
It’s also still quite a challenge, as some of the stars can be tricky to achieve with a lofty expectation of height placed upon you from his majesty. This probably balances out well with the game’s overall playing time, which around 10 hours, is relatively short.
There’s also no extra bells and whistles with this re-mastered version, so you are getting the bare bones of the original, with no extras on the side.
These are just minor quibbles however, and certainly don’t put a damper on the overall experience.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is a charming and delightful throwback to simpler gaming times. Sure it’s not very taxing, but it doesn’t prevent it from still being utterly entertaining. It is a title oozing creativity, proving that even the most bonkers ideas are doable in the game world.
It still very much remains a quirky, fun gaming experience, one that definitely deserves its place in a gaming hall of fame, one hopefully wide enough for the Prince to roll his Katamari through, picking up everything in its way, making it a true star of the gaming world.