If you’ve played any of the popular .io games such as Agar.io, or the more recent Donut County, then you’ll be familiar with the ‘absorb things to get bigger to absorb bigger things etc.’ formula Katamari Damacy REROLL is built around. What makes Katamari Damacy REROLL in particular stand out, however, is bucket-loads of eccentricity and extra flair.
Katamari Damacy REROLL takes the above simple premise and snowballs it into a wacky, wonderful game that will keep you wanting to come back for just one more level. While it’s roll ’em up gameplay may look easy, it’s surprisingly tough too, mostly owing to strict time constraints and delicate controls. Controlling the katamari isn’t difficult per se – though sticking lampposts and flag poles out one side does, naturally, make rolling a little harder – but you do actually need to be pretty accurate to make items stick, especially at smaller sizes.
A wacky, wonderful game that will keep you wanting to come back for just one more level.
There are 2 main level types, which are size-based and object-based for some variety. The object-based ones, which see you aiming to create particular constellations rather than miscellaneous stars, require you to gather as many as you can of a particular thing, be it crabs, swans, matching pairs, or things with crowns. These tend to be easier than the Make a Star levels, where you have to meet a (rather hefty) size goal in the time limit. There are even a few levels that only require to pick up on particular item, but you have to go as big as you can to truly impress the King of All Cosmos, resulting in some tricky manoeuvring and dodging until you’re able to get the right one!
Some of the level maps are perhaps a little too big, making it very difficult to navigate between the different areas, which tend to be created with a particular size you’ll be at in mind. Accidentally finding myself in an area clearly meant for a much bigger katamari and struggling to make my way to anything that wouldn’t chip away the small amount of things I had gathered up happened more than once.
While the Jump function grants you a temporary zoom out to get a better look at your surroundings, it doesn’t do much in the way of helping you find your way around either. Getting stuck in small spots can be a problem too, and one that’s only amplified by the levels’ somewhat harsh time limits. I’m not sure if this is down to how the Switch port specifically controls, but it’s not too big of an issue anyway.
Brimming with endearing quirkiness right down to the load menu.
Katamari Damacy REROLL is brimming with endearing quirkiness right down to the load menu, where you have to roll the katamari into the save file you want to select! The game’s visual design is charming, with all sorts of bizarre, blocky objects at your disposal for rolling up. The music is pleasant too, if a little repetitive. The main theme in particular is definitely an ear-worm! Various objects such as animals or noisy things (y’know, like alarm clocks) have special sound effects when you roll them up, which is a nice feature of the sound design as well.
The 2-player mode available from the Space Mushroom (because of course) offers much faster-paced 3 minute VS battles which are an excellent addition. You can choose who to play as from a colourful variety of quirky-shaped cousins of the usual Prince, which adds a little extra flavour too. As with many of the games on Switch, you can go 2-player using just the two Joy Con you already have, which makes it easy to enjoy. Obviously, only having one analogue stick each will make the game default to simple controls rather than usual, but the experience is pretty similar.
This game is all sorts of weird, but I wouldn’t have it any other way – it’s part of what makes the Katamari Damacy series as a whole so iconic. I can only say it’s kind of the game equivalent of ‘catchy’, and the delightfully destructive gameplay is very moreish. The nature of it being divided into timed levels make it easy to dip in and out of, and it plays smoothly in both docked and handheld mode. Once you complete a level, it’s still enticing to go back and try to top your high score and the individuality of each run increases the replay value. You can definitely recognise your own hard work in the mass of objects presented at the end which is a really fun touch.
The delightfully destructive gameplay is very moreish.
It’s really satisfying once you get the hang of it and only becomes more so as you plough through the levels. It’s not long before you’re gleefully rolling up animals and even people as an all-consuming ball of junk. All in all, Katamari Damacy REROLL is as super fab as the katamaris the King expects from you each level. Its impish fun gives it an appeal for all ages and it’s an addition to the Switch catalogue I recommend to all Switch owners. I’ll be hoping to see more Katamari Damacy titles come to Switch in the future!
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