When it first came out for PlayStation 2, Bandai Namco’s Katamari Damacy was a curious beast, with gameplay and a visual style that we’ve never seen before. It told a bizarre tale of the Prince of All Cosmos attempting to appease his father by rolling up all objects into balls (or katamaris) in the hopes of restoring stars in the universe.
The game is weird, that’s for sure. But that’s Damacy’s genuine appeal, watching it go off the rails in favor of something truly whacked out, hilarious and fun at the same time. While far from perfect, it’s entertaining watching all these things get helplessly rolled up into oblivion. And now, thanks to the publisher, we get to do it again on Nintendo Switch years later.
Katamari Damacy Reroll doesn’t do anything over-the-top with the formula. In fact, this is about as straight-up a port as you can get, despite a couple of minor changes. It still has you rolling up katamaris as quickly as you can while the King of All Cosmos cheers you on with endless jabbering. It was hilarious back then, and it still is now.
While the game doesn’t have the abundant amount of content like sequels such as Beautiful Katamari possess, Reroll will still, ahem, bowl you over with its simplicity and silliness. The game teaches you everything you need to know with a tutorial, including being able to rocket jump high into the air as well as mastering katamari movement so you could capture everything quickly and conveniently. There are still certain nuances with the gameplay (we’ll get to that in a minute), but it’s fairly simple to get into.
After that, you’re thrown into a series of levels, where you start out with a small katamari that grows in size, depending on what you roll into it. Some objects won’t stick right away, requiring the katamari to be larger in order to be picked up. But you’ll get there, as long as you keep, ahem, rolling with it.
As the katamari grows in size, the chaos gets even stronger, with people, animals, cars, and even monsters rolled up, eventually falling for the Prince’s whim. But don’t fret too much- again, it’s all in good fun, and you’re making the world a better place. Sure, it’s just for the King, but a better place nevertheless.
The game still benefits from controls that you’ll be able to adapt to very quickly. It’s a tank-style set-up where you use both analog sticks to move around. Some moves take a bit to master (like the spin-around), but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be rolling up things in no time. The game also handles well in both docked and handheld mode, making Katamari ideal for long road trips.
However, I don’t feel the motion controls. Maybe Bandai Namco thought it could take advantage of the Joy-Cons in a certain way, but this method doesn’t really click. I’m guessing it was meant for younger gamers, but don’t be surprised if you snap the Joy-Cons back into the system and play traditionally. That’s the best way to go, honestly.
Katamari Damacy Reroll may not look leaps and bounds over the original game (this is a port and not so much a remaster), but it still bounces along nicely with immense level design and funny scenarios featuring the arrogant King. For good measure, the music keeps up pace with some terrific songs, including that hummable “Na Na Na” song that opens the game. Be warned, it’ll burrow its way into your head.
Just one quick note- the game doesn’t feature English voice dubs, instead sticking with the original Japanese acting. I was fine with that, though, as they seem to fit the game’s rhythm better. But I know some folks that may miss that. Sorry, guys.
Even if the game didn’t get the full-blown HD treatment, Katamari Damacy Reroll is a treat. All of its levels are intact; and the rolling still feels like second nature, even if some of the moves are a bit on the weird side. (Rocket jump!) And the presentation will suck you back in again, from the wild visuals to the amazing soundtrack, which will have you tapping your toes along to the beat.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is a welcome revisit from the bygone PS2 era and I sincerely hope Bandai Namco continues the trend with more re-releases. Looking at you, Klonoa games and SoulCalibur II GameCube port. (Yes, with Link from The Legend of Zelda.)0comments
WWG’s Score: 4 out of 5.
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.)