The Nintendo Switch has increasingly been home to some unforgettable games from the past. Whether that’s with things like Nintendo’s Nintendo Entertainment System on Nintendo Switch Online or with the porting of popular titles like Doom, Diablo 3 and Dark Souls, it’s easy to start a collection of favorites. At the same time hype was huge for Super Smash Bros Ultimate, I was hyped for a much different title being remastered for Nintendo’s hit console. Katamari Damacy Reroll is a crazy, cult favorite title I enjoyed heartily back in the PlayStation 2 era, and its remaster was exciting news.
If you’re unfamiliar with this title, Katamari Damacy was the first in a series of games where the player portrays the role of the Prince of All Cosmos, whose father, the King of All Cosmos, has gone on a bender and accidentally wiped out all of the stars and constellations from the night sky.
The King, realizing this was a mistake, sends his tiny son down to Earth with a katamari–a small magical ball that things stick to–to roll up “everything” and help recreate the stars in the night sky. Reassembling stars simply requires rolling around collecting all the “things” Earth is full of, region by region, while constellations require collecting a certain number of one type of thing–swans for Cygnus, Bears for Ursa Major, etc. When successful, you may earn presents in the form of fashionable acessories the Prince can wear, and after each star is complete, you’ll be treated to the truly bizarre remastered cutscenes that tell the story.
Katamari Damacy (which literally translated means “clump spirit” in Japanese) is an extremely simple, but very wacky game that simply has you roll through the world, starting off small but becoming increasingly noticeable as you grow, eventually evoking a sort of Godzilla-esque terror in the various towns and cities as you roll up the houses, trees, cars and citizens that live there. Gameplay is colorful, chaotic and yet, almost zen, and despite its weird premise and even weirder world, the game became a hit and spawned several sequels across several systems.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is careful not to squash the things that made the original so loved. By default, you’ll be set up with the traditional Katamari controls. These are, admittedly, frustrating and unintuitive, but actually, at least for me, add to the storyline, as the Prince is very small, and is, after all, trying to roll things much larger than himself. The larger the katamari gets, the more unwieldy it is, and if you roll up something long, for example, you might find your katamari hopping and skipping. It’s my feeling that the physics are imprecise on purpose, then, including the controls–this just adds to its quirkiness.
If you’re not a fan of the classic controls though, Bandai Namco’s remaster allows for Simple Controls which removes the need to simultaneously manage two analog sticks. You can also use the Switch’s gyro controls to direct your katamari and perform special moves. Reroll also adds an option to play with a friend in a split-screen versus mode, using Joy-Con or Pro controllers. I prefer, and played with, the classic scheme, but the other control options do a good job modernizing Katamari Damacy.
Other than the control schemes, the meat of Katamari Damacy remains the same in Reroll. Katamari’s unusual cutscenes were fully recreated for the new game, but done so faithful to the originals. Though graphics were given a polish, there are places where the original pixel art has been intentionally preserved as an homage to the original, though the game itself is in full HD. The music, too, is the same catchy J-Pop, smooth jazz and semi-familiar lounge singer stuff of games past, all of which have a way to ear worm their way into your head.
Overall, though changes were minimal they were certainly for the better, giving opportunity for two player fun, simpler controls that will allow the game to be more accessible and perhaps even more fun for some, and that color boost and spitshine that make it look even more colorful and fanciful. Another bonus, at least for those playing Reroll on Nintendo Switch like we did for this review, was the ability to take the game on the road, for candy collecting, village destroying, city wrecking fun with the newly HD screams of the villagers entangled in your katamari ringing in your ears.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is available on Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.
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