Katamari Damacy was developed back in 2004 by Namco for the Playstation 2 and to this day I have still not seen a game as addicting and polarizing as this one. At the games core, this is a premise as simple as can be: roll up items and get bigger yet each time I go through it I find something else to appreciate or something to look at and wonder how weird the developers were to add in something such as this. This acid trip of a game would see a remaster on the Nintendo Switch over 14 years later with Katamari Damacy Reroll.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is a remaster of the original title published by Bandai Namco on December 7, 2018 and features upscaled graphics and motion controls exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version. With remasters the two questions that come up for this sort of review are “does this game hold up?” and “does the remaster do the original game justice?”. To both of those questions it is a resounding “yes”.
When Katamari Damacy came out in 2004 the sheer simplicity of it caught players off guard during the time of innovation in genres that it captured the time and imagination of nearly every demographic. The premise was very easy to understand yet hard to master as you control the Prince of All Cosmos on his journey to bring back the missing stars in the universe. The gameplay was addicting, levels could range from 5 minutes to 30 minutes giving players ample time to roll to their hearts content, and the music meshed perfectly with the simple art style. As a fan of the game back in 2004 when I was 10 I can say that I have not lost a single bit of love for this game.
At first glance it is hard to notice a change but the noticeable difference is the jump to hd resolution. The game is now fit for today’s modern television and with it comes a burst of new colors and tones that make the lovable Prince pop out more than ever. The games simple art style now looks crisp and clean making the game even more visually appealing than ever before.
The story is also the same with no changes as the King of All Cosmos has somehow accidentally destroyed every star in the universe and he leaves it up to his son, The Prince, to roll up items on Earth to create new stars. Levels get progressively harder as you will find yourself starting off with smaller tasks like building a Katamari the size of a car until you eventually become tasked to create stars the size of countries. For those who are not looking for the stress of being under a timer there is Eternal mode. Eternal mode gives players the opportunity to stretch out their wild imaginations and roam around the map completely free of a timer.
The core gameplay is still there for better or for worse. On one hand the controls are perfect with the controller scheme on Switch feeling like the perfect fit but that can’t stop some of the minor annoyances present in the previous iteration such as the camera. Those who have played the original game may remember the anguish and frustration from turning your Katamari and being met with a wonky camera causing you to spend precious time trying to fight the camera system.
Well lucky for you they did not change that at all.
The wonky camera is still there as well as the minor annoyance of obstacles. While growing your Katamari you may run into obstacles larger than you and in most cases that will cause you to lose a bit of items thus leading to a smaller Katamari. It makes for some very frustrating moments but if you can power through the utter pain of shedding a few meters it shouldn’t be a constant growing pain.
The game also comes with a 2 player mode that allows player vs player battles where whoever rolls the largest Katamari wins. For those looking for more of a challenge with the thrill of co-op try going through the game with each player being in control of one joy con each. Consider that challenge as more of a “co-op master mode” of sorts.
The soundtrack really speaks for itself as Yuu Miyake directs one of gamings most memorable soundtracks full of bubbly hits such as Katamari on the Rocks and Lonely Rolling Star. A testament to how lovely the soundtrack can be, each song sounds different from the next with one moment you’ll be serenaded by a melancholy of guitars and pianos to suddenly being hit with bombastic pop.
Between the simplistic art, gorgeous soundtrack, and approachable yet addicting gameplay, Katamari Damacy Reroll doesn’t slow down. Even after 14 years, the game still feels fresher than ever with the remaster not having to change nearly anything. As a total package for $29.99 Katamari Damacy Reroll is the brightest star out there.