Katamari Damacy Reroll

released on Dec 06, 2018

A remaster of Katamari Damacy

When the King of All Cosmos accidentally destroys all the stars in the sky, he orders you, his pint-sized princely son, to put the twinkle back in the heavens above. Join the King and Prince of Cosmos on their wacky adventure to restore the stars at home or on the go – now in full HD!

Also in series

We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie
We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie
Amazing Katamari Damacy
Amazing Katamari Damacy
Tap My Katamari
Tap My Katamari
Touch My Katamari
Touch My Katamari
Katamari Amore
Katamari Amore

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I got Katamari Damacy Reroll in some Bandai Namco Bundle last year. I honestly didn't have much interest in it -- I'd tried the original 20 years ago at a friends house and thought the controls were horrible and why would I even want to roll things up anyway?

Well, last week, I couldn't decide what to play and a friend told me to play a game that starts with K. Katamari Damacy fit the bill, so why not give it another shot?

Turns out, rolling things up is fun and the controls are just fine after about 10 minutes of getting used to them. The sense of progression from going to a tiny katamari, carefully navigating a park while dodging cats, dogs, and pineapples, to outright rolling up entire cities is great. It's so cathartic to go back to an area you were getting bounced around in a bunch and just steamroll the entire place.

The wacky, funky sound track is absolutely perfect. I honestly couldn't imagine a more perfect accompaniment to the game. The bizarre cutscenes were also a joy, particularly the ending.

I only have a couple of minor complaints here. There were a few objects that seemed to require a way bigger katamari than I'd expect to pick up. Not a big deal, but slightly annoying. I also didn't care for the challenge levels that were about rolling up a single item or guesstimating the katamari's size, but you only have to show up to complete those levels if you're not going for a high score.

Overall, a fun, chill time. It's just about the perfect game to pop into for 15-30 minutes and come out smiling.

I think I enjoyed this? I never played the original, so this is my first introduction to the series as a whole, and I can understand the appeal. It's weird, joyful, chaotic, cathartic... Katamari certainly isn't afraid of being different and, for the most part, it works.

But while playing this game there was always something in the back of my mind preventing me from enjoying it to the fullest, and it took a long time to figure out what it was. My initial thought was the aesthetics; I don't get on with 'cutesy for cutesy's sake' as a design choice but, while Katamari definitely is cutesy, the sheer hectic bizarreness of its premise won me over on that front. I see a lot of people giving this game credit for its soundtrack; I agree that some of the music is great (the title theme in particular, but I found the more swingy/loungy tracks to be pretty great too), but it has to be one of the least cohesive soundtracks I've ever heard, and some of the tracks are actively bad. I didn't particularly enjoy listening to a robot tell me I'm smart for 20 minutes, nor did I enjoy having to listen to children who literally couldn't hold a note at all... So the music ended up being a very mixed bag for me, but it definitely wasn't what was bugging me about this game.

So my second thought was maybe the controls were the issue: the tank controls in this game are clunky and awkward to say the least. This game is absolutely unplayable keyboard and mouse (which to be fair would obviously not have been a consideration for the original), but it can be equally painful to play with a controller. Very early I switched to the 'simple controls' layout which was honestly such a trap; the controls are indeed slightly simpler (albeit still clunky), but at the cost of a huge amount of your manoevrability. I definitely recommend sticking with the default controls and, when I went back to them and really tried to learn them, it almost felt like the shitty controls were a deliberate part of the game's difficulty. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the control scheme in this game, but by the end I didn't hate them either.

So finally I decided that what put me off this game was its level design and pacing. Some of the levels are great, with a constant stream of slightly larger items to keep absorbing; you always feel like you are making progress, and the sheer visceral nature of absorbing everything around you delivers a nice steady stream of dopamine to your lizard brain. But then in a lot of the levels, there just seem to be gaps in the object size chain. What I mean by this is I would be exploring a level and get to, say, 1.9m, only to find that every object I could see around me was either slightly too big to absorb or too small to have any notable difference on my katamari size. And then suddenly everything comes to a screeching halt. I would be left either with the option of exploring the level in depth to find some pocket of untapped mass (not a fun prospect at all given the aforementioned trash player controls and lack of any camera control), or resign myself to spending ages mopping up tiny things around me until I could creep over the critical threshold to start collecting things above the mass gap. This sounds like a minor issue, but the entertainment value in Katamari is so surface level and mindless that these gaps in play absolutely destroy the flow. Bear in mind that me calling the game surface level and mindless is not meant as an insult: I love some far more vapid games such as Cookie Clicker and Vampire Survivors, but these hold my attention so much better than Katamari because they just don't have gaps in their feedback loops.

I don't want to be too down on Katamari though. At its best it really is an incredibly cathartic experience. Especially in levels where you start and end at completely different size scales, it feels great to end up mopping up tiny objects that started out as impossibly distant background details. The change in the scale of the world is very gradual and very nicely done as you grow; there were multiple times where I had a great 'a-ha!' moment upon realising that I'd ended up back in the starting area but now everything was 1/5 the size. The Katamari itself always showing what it's made of is a masterstroke as well; it really helps with the organic changes of scale in the game, and helps give a visceral sense of achievement when you can simply look at your character and see how much garbage you've managed to roll up. Katamari deals with both this scale and this sense of progression so much better than the heavily-inspired Donut County that it's absolutely night and day, and I would 100% recommend this game over Donut County any day of the week.

So all in all, a mixed bag experience for me. I'm very glad this exists, and commend how experimental it's willing to be (especially given the era that the original version came out). I wouldn't say it lives up to the near-legendary plinth that the gaming community seems to have placed it on, but it's a decent little game and overall I am glad to have played it.

I feel the soundtrack in the depths of my soul

this is where the satisfying mobile ads come from

Fantastic game. Incredible music, simple yet fun gameplay, the king is horrible to his son.