|Release Date||December 7th, 2018|
|Developer||BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment|
There’s something cathartic about collecting things. Katamari Damacy fills that need wonderfully. You’re a small prince of the cosmos, tasked with gathering things on Earth to replenish the stars after the King of All Cosmos destroyed them. How reckless. Katamari Damacy REROLL offers updated graphics from the original 2004 release, as well as completely redone cutscenes for maximum enjoyment.
There isn’t much to Katamari, but what’s there is a fun, relaxing time. The King of All Cosmos gives the Prince a small Katamari, a round ball used to roll up all the items to make the new star. The King, of course, does nothing while you do all the legwork. The first levels start off very tiny, picking up small things like thumbtacks, matches, and batteries. As your Katamari grows, you can pick up larger and larger items, eventually growing enough to pick up buildings, bridges, and even islands. Some levels just require the Prince to get the Katamari to a certain size, while others, mimicing constellations like Pisces, require you to gather a certain amount of specialty items like fish or bears.
Playing through each level was a unique experience, trying to masterfully roll around your Katamari to find items that will stick, and avoiding items that will make your Katamari smaller like walls or items much bigger than you. One of the best parts of Katamari Damacy REROLL, similar to the originals, are the quips that the King will give you during and after the levels, especially when you fail to meet the expectations in the time periods given. Most of the time limits are very generous, leaving extra time to impress the King and make an even bigger Katamari than the level calls for. Finding a good groove of items and available areas comes with some practice, and the King will occasionally interject as the Katamari grows for new areas to explore for bigger items. Optimizing each level for the best possible sized Katamari comes down to strategically choosing the right paths and items.
While Katamari Damacy REROLL doesn’t have a traditional story, it capitalizes on the quirky humor and tells a short story through each level beaten, revolving around Earth’s disappearance of stars and the Moon. Each constellation level also has a nice animated scene unrelated to the story. While the graphics have been updated, the rough and blocky edges of the items made it feel like the graphical updates barely made a difference. It didn’t detract from playing the game, but could have potentially been done better.
The Nintendo Switch also capitalizes on the use of the Joy Con controllers for multiple ways to play. Using either single or double detatched Joy Con controllers uses the gyro motion controls to roll around the map, while playing in handheld mode uses the traditional two-stick movement for ease of play. Motion control playing was surprisingly pretty fun, but occasionally hard to stop the Katamari from getting out of control and running into bigger items. Two players can also play couch co-op, again making use of the two Joy Con controllers on the Switch.
I found myself going back to Katamari Damacy REROLL over other games, feeling a compulsive need to roll up all the stars until I made the sky whole again. The game isn’t terribly long until completion of the main story, but levels can be played over and over for better scores or just for fun.