It's hard to believe that the super-fun off-the-wall Katamari Damacy has been around for almost 15 years and now, modern gamers can finally experience the craziness on their newfangled Switch. Let's get rolling!
I've been a huge fan of the Katamari series ever since it debuted on PlayStation 2. Since then, there have been 5 console and handheld sequels and I've played through and still own them all. The original was a quirky game when it first released and gamers didn't quite know what to think about it but over the years, the franchise became synonymous with unconventional fun. Rolling around a massive ball while gathering objects to the point where you can't even see your character anymore makes for one ridiculous premise for a game. It all started with Katamari Damacy; a crazy game that holds up impressively well today. Heck, I even included it in my weird Japanese PS2 games top 10 list and it took top prize. I hope that means they'll remake Under the Skin, Ribbit King, and Mister Mosquito soon!
Katamari Damacy Reroll is merely a port of the original PS2 game although it has much cleaner visuals and is in widescreen. Wouldn't it be funny if it wasn't? For the unfamiliar, you control a little fellow known as The Prince who's on a mission to create all the stars again after his father (the giant King of All Cosmos) got intoxicated and wiped them all out. In order to do so, you must roll around a ball that has a rather impressive gravitational pull. Either that or it's just really sticky. Anyway, The Prince has tank controls where you tilt both sticks in various directions in order to perform sharp turns, dash ahead, and even jump. This is definitely unconventional but once everything starts to click, it controls quite intuitively. The goal of each stage is to grow your ball (known as a Katamari) to a certain size within a time limit. There are special stages that change things up, too, and the overall gameplay remains addictive and fun throughout.
Katamari Damacy has a distinct style that still stands out beautifully in today's gaming market. For starters, the visuals consist of simple textures, bright colours, and unashamedly polygonal objects that make up a charming world. Meanwhile, the music is full of goofy energy and contains many upbeat vocal Japanese tracks that'll keep your toes tapping as you play. To wrap everything up, a superb sense of humour will regularly make you laugh out loud through the quirky cutscenes, nonsensical interjections, and overall silly vibe.
Although Katamari Damacy Reroll is essentially a stage-based game, there are a ton of unlockables so if you're looking to acquire absolutely everything then you'll find yourself playing for hours while trying to obtain every possible object, unlock each cousin, and master every stage. On top of all that, there's a cool competitive 2 player component that acts as a fun distraction.
It's true that Katamari Damacy is a fantastic game that holds up well and it looks better than ever in this Reroll iteration. However, I can't help but feel that merely porting it to a modern console just isn't enough. If it came bundled with We Love Katamari or featured any substantial changes or additions then it would be a much more valuable release. It definitely could have been so much more, especially considering all of the Switch's hardware features. The only other negative aspect is that Katamari Damacy can be a downright frustrating game. Sure, it's somewhat easy to merely work through the campaign but some of the challenges are brutal and feel random whenever you happen to clear them. Also, getting your Katamari stuck can be highly irritating and may result in a significant reduction in its size. Considering Katamari Damacy came out in 2004, the fact that they didn't make these aspects less annoying is quite baffling.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is basically the same game that came out in 2004 but it looks a lot better and can be played portably. So, if you've never played it before and you want to experience something truly off-the-wall then it's a must-buy game.
- + Incredibly unique gameplay that you don't see much of nowadays
- + Absolutely hilarious from start to finish
- + Loads of replay value and collectibles
- - Only consists of a graphically enhanced remake of the original game
- - No substantial additions or changes were implemented / can still be frustrating