Katamari Damacy Reroll — Beautiful in Old Age
All the games I’ve reviewed, all the games that I’ve played, though each unique and special in their own right, can be placed into relatively distinct genres. Shooters, RPGs, platformers, etc. I fail to think of an appropriate genre for Katamari. Katamari is a game in which you roll stuff up into your ball so that you can roll up bigger stuff so you can make a bigger ball. What type of game would you call this? I remember playing a few levels of this classic on my brother’s PS2 and absolutely loving the colorful visuals, the wacky gameplay, and cheerful music playing in the background. When I saw there was a remastered version on the Switch and it was on sale, I thought “why not?” and bought a copy so I could revisit this old masterpiece.
If there was any game that could’ve held up without a graphical touch up it’s Katamari. The low poly shapes of its world are part of what gives the game its character, keeping Katamari artistically distinct from other games. Despite being over two generations back, the gameplay is still very fresh and entertaining, afterall, where else can you roll up cows, cars, and entire islands into a ball? The controls can be quite unwieldy, but you get the hang of it and the jankiness is part of the challenge. In addition to the main levels where the goal is simply to roll up as much stuff as you can, there are challenge levels, where the goal may be to roll up only fish, or to get the ball to a certain size. Personally I don’t find these challenge levels nearly as fun as the regular ones where you can just go nuts. The game also keeps a checklist of all the items you’ve collected in the game, and there are hundreds of items to collect, so completionists will be kept busy.
Katamari’s music is weird, upbeat, and somehow perfectly fits the art style and tone of this game. Katamari’s presentation is whimsical and minimalistic, but also has a psychedelic atmosphere to it. This makes its way into the plot as well, which features the King of the Cosmos mistakenly destroying the stars in the sky, which are to be replaced with the Katamari balls you roll up. The happy-go-lucky music playing in the background, as a literal growing disaster rolls around the world, creates a wacky tone that makes the game an absolute joy to play.
Although I loved the game, and I’m glad I made the purchase, I have to say that I found the experience a little too short and lacking in content. Granted, it’s a remake of an old game that only cost me $20, but it only took me around five hours to beat all the levels, and that’s just too quick of an experience for me. I would have much preferred to pay a little more and have another game packaged with Damacy, so I could keep playing after finishing Damacy. The option of chasing high scores will always be there for you, but personally that doesn’t really appeal to me so I’ve found no reason to return to the game after rolling the credits. Katamari is a great game and it’s just as fun as I remember when I first played it as a kid, but I can’t help but be bummed out at how short of an experience it is.
If you have never played a Katamari game, then Katarmi Damacy Reroll is a must buy. I haven’t heard of any new Katamari games in the works, in fact the series hasn’t seen a console release since 2009, so unless you want to break out an older console or settle for a mobile version, the remastered original on the Nintendo Switch is the only way you can experience this wholly unique gameplay. If you have played a Katamari game, then you already know how fun they are and it shouldn’t take much to convince you to revisit this series and get this game. Just don’t expect a lot of hours of gameplay in exchange for your money like you’d get from a cheaper game like Hollow Knight or Dead Cells. In terms of value I must say, Reroll is nothing special, but it’s gameplay is one of a kind.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10