Review: Katamari Damacy REROLL

At a Glance

ESRB Rating: E - Everyone
My Rating: Ages 10 and up
Genre: Other
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2018
Review Published On: June 10th, 2020
Played on: Thaddeus

Available from:

Humble Store, Steam

Save System:

There are three save slots to choose between. However, there is no autosave function, so you'll need to visit the house (marked Data) on the home planet in order to save your game. To pause the game, press ESC to bring up the pause menu.

Summary of
Major Issues:

While this game is very colorful and silly, some of the things the King says come off as abusive or a little risque.


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Rolling... rolling...

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A delicious ball of crabs -- and some other random junk

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Game Overview

The King of All Cosmos was very naughty last night. Very naughty indeed! It seems that he accidentally broke the stars and the moon, and their absence in the night sky has made a lot of people very angry with the King. So, he's turned to his son the Prince for help making new stars and a new moon to replace the ones the king broke.

In order to do this, the Prince needs to explore the Earth, rolling up objects using his katamari. The katamari is a big bumpy ball with an unusual property. When it touches smaller objects, they stick to it and increase the katamari's overall mass. Likewise, when it bumps into objects larger than itself, something may fall off the katamari and decrease its mass. By rolling the ball around, you'll eventually get enough things stuck on the katamari to make it large enough to replace something, and the King will return to collect it and the Prince.

Many levels also have a time limit, so you'll need to prioritize which objects to collect first and plan your routes accordingly. Should you fail to meet the deadline, it won't end the game, but the Prince will receive a royal scolding from his angry father before you can continue.

...which also touches on the biggest issue I have with this game. The game has a catchy, upbeat soundtrack and is covered with more bright colors and rainbows than Woodstock, yet the King of All Cosmos comes off as an abusive parent. This isn't funny or quirky, nor am I reading too much into things. From forcing others to clean up his mess to the condescending way he berates the Prince, it's one red flag after another.

Now, this game is called "REROLL" because it's a remaster of the original Katamari Damacy that was released on the Playstation 2 all those years ago. I never had a chance to play the original game, but I remember people talking about how unique and fun it was. Today, weird and surreal games are fairly common, so Katamari Damacy doesn't stand out as much as it did back then. Playing it for the first time now, I can see why it became a cult classic. It's worth a look if you're willing to brave the incredibly strange world it presents or just like weird little games in general.

Points of Interest

One giant physics puzzle
As you roll the katamari around, it collects objects of all shapes and sizes. However, it doesn't stay exactly ball-shaped. Objects stick where they collide with your katamari, and they come in all shapes and sizes (literally). Thus, if you're not careful about how you move around, your katamari will become misshapen and lopsided, and this will, in turn, make it very difficult to control. Later levels also have areas that are impassible to katamaris that are too wide, so it's occasionally a good idea to nab a telephone pole or other large, unwieldy object and use it to vault the katamari over the gate.
Split-screen Battle Mode
Two players can compete to see who can make the biggest katamari in a fixed time limit. Note that this isn't an online game; you'll need to have a second controller and have your friend over in order to battle it out. To play this mode, you'll need to visit the Space Mushroom and then select your respective avatars from the Prince's many cousins. You'll unlock new playable characters as you progress in the main game.

In a hilarious twist, it's possible to collect the other player when your katamari is significantly larger than theirs. This doesn't do any harm, but it does prevent the other player from making any progress until they've freed themselves.
Hidden presents
While the King of All Cosmos might not say the nicest things about the Prince, he did leave presents for the Prince to find and enjoy. These are fairly well hidden, and to collect them you'll need to get them stuck onto your katamari before the level ends. Each present contains an article of clothing that the Prince can wear as he rolls around the Earth.
Steam community features
There are 21 achievements and a set of Steam trading cards to earn as you repair the sky. The majority of these are awarded for completing a specific level, so you'll have nearly every achievement after you've completed the game for the first time. The two exceptions to this pattern are an achievement for finding all of the presents the King left for the Prince, and an achievement for earning all of the other achievements.

Concerns and Issues

Very mild violence
Some objects, such as people or large animals, can only be added to your katamari after they've been stunned. To stun them, just bump the katamari into them and they'll spin around, fall over, or otherwise bounce away. Depending on the size difference, some things encountered during the levels can also strike the Prince, which just results the Prince getting knocked in another direction while some objects fall off the katamari (in other words, it basically just slows you down).
Issues with the King's behavior
To begin with, the King of All Cosmos broke the stars and moon while drunk. The game's translation tries to work around this detail, but you can still piece together that this is what happened. He then guilts his son into fixing the mess. After all, the King reasons, the Prince "owes" his father for being alive. The King will also take credit for fixing the sky, only begrudgingly admitting that the Prince "helped a little".
Some risque comments and dialogue
You can view the descriptions of items you've rolled into the various celestial objects using the Collections feature of your home planet. Most of these descriptions are intended to be funny, with some of them being a little on the naughty side. The naughty jokes aren't limited to the item descriptions either, as the King sometimes makes them during level introductions or during the levels themselves. For example, he'll comment on how one of the Prince's many cousins prefers to go around in their birthday suit. But considering how everybody is drawn, you might not have even noticed if he hadn't said anything.