Real Talk By: Zombie Zac
The original Katamari Damacy was a bizarre, challenging, hilariously original PS2 game that defied conventions and was a critical and commercial success. While Namco released a few sequels, the once vibrant series faded from public view and hasn’t seen a proper entry since the previous generation of consoles. It’s hard to believe it’s been 14 years since Katamari rolled (sorry) it’s way into our television screens– revisiting this remaster for Nintendo Switch feels like a game that could have released today.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Katamari Damacy, in it you play as this little green dude, The Prince, who is asked to roll up various objects on earth for his father, the King of all Cosmos, to rebuild stars and ultimately, whole constellations. You start small, rolling your Katamari ball over tiny things like candy, pencils, and flowers and eventually reaching the size big enough to roll up cats, humans, and then cars, trees, houses and even clouds. It can swing from stressful to complete zen, depending on how at one you are with the Katamari ball.
In most levels, a timer counts down and a size requirement is set and if you meet it you’re set loose to try to make the grandest katamari roll possible. Other levels may ask you to roll up specific things, like crabs. If the King of all Cosmos doesn’t find your Katamari impressive, he will tell you, berating his own son into the depths of an existential crisis. If you happen to please him, he’ll speak in heart emojis and wash you with praise. It’s a very complicated relationship, as you can tell, but we all know fathers and sons don’t always see eye-to-eye.
The controls are unique and take some getting used to, but once you’re comfortable you’ll find yourself flinging the Katamari around with cosmic glee. You push and pull both analog sticks to roll and you can click them in to do a 180 degree turn, and fling them back an forth for a speed blast. The art style is simple, but effective, with low-polygon models and minimal animation that creates an unforgettable world and wholly original aesthetic. With Katamari Damacy Reroll, we now have a rock solid framerate and 1080p HD visuals, which is the ultimate way to take this trip.
The music is maybe the only thing that is more iconic than the wacky story and visuals. Various Japanese artists are featured, with exquisitely experimental electronic pop, jazz, and psychedelic indie rock all flowing together perfectly. The sound effects for rolling over objects, sending Katamari’s into space, and even the hub screen where you can save your game or view your collectables, are all unforgettable. Thankfully, unlike the Dark Souls Remaster (also published by Bandai Namco) that came out this year there is no compression on the audio and everything sounds pristine.
The only disappointment is the two player mode that is strictly a no-frills local battle arena. It would have been awesome to experience the campaign again with a friend with expanded objectives and new goals. That being said, it is fun to pass the controller off. Whatever you do just don’t use the motion controls as they are a nightmare. Thankfully, they are optional, and not the default setting. Whether you missed it entirely or loved it back in the day, pick up this classic and get rolling for the King. You don’t want to disappoint your father, especially when he is the King of the Cosmos!!!
Katamari Damacy Reroll [Switch] gets
4.5 out of 5
Graphics and performance boosts
Incredible music and sound effects
Totally unique, hilarious experience
No two player co-op
Optional motion controls feel like Bandai Namco trolling hard