A major game came out last month that overshadowed every other game release this past December. That game was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. What might have gone unnoticed was that another game was released on the same day for the Nintendo Switch. That game was Katamari Damacy Reroll. This remake of the first Katamari game (originally for Playstation 2) was also a GameStop exclusive, making the physical version hard to find (I had to download the digital copy for this review). This is the first Katamari game I have ever played through, so this review is from a newcomer’s eyes.
The first thing you have to know about Katamari Damacy is what type of game you are playing. The Katamari series is unique, you play as the Prince of the Cosmos whose goal is to create stars to replace those unintentionally knocked out of the sky by his father, The King of All Cosmos. This is done by rolling around an object called the Katamari, which is a ball like object that anything smaller than it will stick to. As objects get stuck to the katamari, the katamari’s overall size gets bigger, allowing you to roll up larger objects.
There is usually a time limit to make the katamari a certain size by, so you can’t slack off too much when playing. For newcomers, this might be trickier than it sounds, as the controls are intentionally awkward. You must move both analogue sticks in the same direction to move the katamari where you like. Turning is the toughest maneuver, as you must move the left stick in one direction, and the right stick in the opposite direction (one must be pushed up, the other down). The game does offer simpler controls, but I found I adjusted more to the default control settings. The odd controls does help you feel like you are pushing a large awkwardly shaped object around various locations. Yes there is a learning curve, but I enjoyed the experience even when I didn’t quite adjust to the controls.
Rolling every object you can into the katamari is a pure, simple pleasure. As the katamari gets bigger, former obstacles become part of your goal, and some areas within the level become accessible, adding a sense of discovery. Eventually, the katamari gets large enough to catch people and even buildings to add to your size and score. At this point, the katamari gets bigger much faster. This amazing turn of events frequently amused me as I was playing. Coupled with the game’s colorful (and trippy) visuals, plus its catchy tunes, I found myself entering a cathartic, zen-like trance as I played.
There are a few side missions where you have to gather as many of a certain object type as you can, but lacks any fail state. I found I was playing these missions first before moving onto the main story missions. Some side missions require you to roll up the largest version of the target object. Getting a high score here is tough, as the level ends if you grab any of the required object. I found it was too easy to get a small object way too quickly, so those missions didn’t add much to my playtime. The last type of side mission has no time limit, but you have to choose to end the mission when you think the katamari is roughly the target size.
All in all, Katamari Damacy Reroll is a pleasure to play, where every piece of the game meshes together so well that it offers a unique sensation of euphoria that makes you wanting more.
So, how do I recommend playing this game?
- Give yourself the time you need to adjust to the controls. You may need to look at them, try the simple controls, and experiment with the setting you prefer to adjust to the game.
- Play the side missions. They are fun and low pressure, and may boost your confidence if you fail a main story mission.
- You may prefer short play sessions, with maybe 1 to 3 missions being played per session.
- If you desire more out of this game, you can aim for high scores on any mission. There isn’t any leader board, so this would be for some more fun.
- There is a multiplayer mode that you may want to try if you can grab a friend to play with. (I didn’t have this opportunity prior to this writing.)
Let’s now look at the pro’s and con’s of this game:
- The Awkward controls make the action feel real.
- It is pure fun to see what you can roll into the katamari.
- New areas become available as the katamari expands, adding a sense of discovery.
- Surreal graphics and catchy music add to the game’s overall personality.
- All of the control settings are awkward at first, and may take multiple sessions to get used to them.
- You can get temporarily stuck in small areas, though this doesn’t happen too often.
- The game is relatively short (I had slightly over 5 hours of play according to my Nintendo Switch, and that included all the side missions).
So, what is the final verdict?
8.5/10 A great, fun, and unique idea for a game
And that was my take on Katamari Damacy Reroll. What did you think about this game? Were you even aware that it was available, or did the release of Smash Bros. get in the way? What was your favorite object that got caught in the katamari? Let me know in the comments below!