Katamari Damacy has always been one of those titles that is incredibly bizarre and that tasks the player to do some weird stuff, but somehow works and makes for an utterly compelling experience. I mean, who wouldn’t want to roll a big ball of objects together, watching it get gradually bigger until it’s rolling up everything that surrounds it? You can count me in, that’s for sure.
It started life as a PlayStation 2 title back in 2004, but also got a remastered release back in 2018 on the Nintendo Switch and PC in the form of Katamari Damacy REROLL. Now, two years on, it’s finally launching on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One too, meaning you can join in on its wacky rolling antics on just about any mainstream platform. And yes, it’s backwards compatible on your new shiny consoles so there can be no complaints about it launching so late in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s lifespan. If Cyberpunk 2077 can do it, why can’t Katamari Damacy REROLL?!
Katamari Damacy REROLL sees players take on the role of The Prince, who just so happens to be the son of the King of all Cosmos. It’s nice to take on the role of royalty, right? Well, apparently not, with your clumsy father accidentally destroying all of the stars in the galaxy and tasking you with the job of recovering them.
Now I know what you’re thinking: how can a tiny little dude like The Prince recover stars? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it… you head down to planet Earth, start rolling a ball (the titular Katamari), and use it to absorb objects around you until it’s big enough to be launched into space to become a star. You’ll start off nice and small, but eventually the objects that were previously hulking over you will become the perfect size to fit on your ever-growing ball of… uh… stuff.
It sounds an absolutely bizarre concept, and yeah, if we’re being honest it really is one of the most zany games we’ve ever played. That doesn’t stop it from also being a whole lot of fun though, with the outrageous antics of Katamari Damacy REROLL actually making for a genuinely enjoyable and addictive gameplay experience.
Each level tasks you with growing your Katamari to a specific size before the time-limit runs out, with players initially bulking it up with small objects before moving onto even bigger things as their Katamari grows in size. If an object is bigger than your ball it can’t be absorbed, so there’s an element of patience to be found in the game as you slowly build yourself up. There’s no limit to what can become a part of your newly-made star either; whilst inanimate objects typically work well as a starting point, it doesn’t take long before living things join in on the action too.
I know that sounds a little dark, but it’s not so frightening (for lack of a better word) in-game. It’s charming and fun, with the simplicity of the mechanics making it easy to dive right into Katamari Damacy REROLL and know exactly what you need to do.
To spice up the formula, you’ll also face levels based around constellations and stars where you’re tasked with things like rolling up specific objects (crabs for ‘Cancer’ for example) or reaching specific sizes (hitting 10 meres for the ‘North Star’) without having anything to gauge how big you are. These stages add a neat twist to the established formula, which is nice when you consider there isn’t always a whole lot of variety to be found in rolling a ball as big as possible. I mean, I’m a fan of doing endless rolling (honestly, it’s so addictive), but having extra objectives to work for does make it feel a bit more refreshing.
It shouldn’t take too long to get through all of the levels of Katamari Damacy REROLL, with my playthrough taking around six-hours in total. I still came back for a little bit more afterwards though, with the option in place to replay levels in order to beat your scores. Whilst score-chasing will be tempting for some players, I just loved being a part of the world – there are different ways to approach building up your Katamari in each level and it’s easy to find new things to absorb on additional playthroughs. It’s almost sadistic really, but in a chirpy and jolly way.
Visually, Katamari Damacy REROLL looks decent. It’s remastered release of a PlayStation 2 game so you shouldn’t go in expecting stunning visuals, but it has its own unique visual style that does help it stand the test of time… only just, though. It’s colourful, it’s quirky, and everything looks a bit weird – it does enough to make the visuals perfect for the gameplay experience you’re getting, really.
If I had to moan about one thing that hasn’t stood the test of time, the camera can be a bit finicky in places. It probably doesn’t help that the control scheme is a little weird, though that’s something players should get used to relatively quickly. Just don’t be surprised if some of the camera angles feel awkwardly out of place on occasions, especially when you’re dealing with some of the bigger objects in the more confined areas.
Katamari Damacy REROLL is a wacky and outrageously silly game, but it’s also utterly enjoyable and one of the most unique video games I’ve ever played. It was a whole lot of fun to play when it originally released on the PlayStation 2 back in 2004 and I’m happy to report that it remains the same sixteen-years later – even if it does show its age a little with its fiddly controls and awkward camera.
I have no doubt in my mind that it won’t be for everyone, but anyone who appreciates games that are incredibly weird (but a whole lot of fun) won’t want to miss out on Katamari Damacy REROLL.
Developer: Bandai Namco
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC