Snowball Effect: The Game

HIGH As addictive and enchanting as ever.

LOW No added content besides crispier visuals…

WTF … Not even an option for online multiplayer.

Katamari Damacy REROLL is a potent reminder of the happy days we had in the PS2 era, evoking a welcome pseudo time-traveling phenomena for anyone who knew it back then. Yet even without this advantage, the genius concept in the core of this title makes it a joyful experience that is simply too hard to resist in any era.

Being a sort of puzzler that defies further categorization, REROLL revolves around (pun intended) increasing the mass (and thus the inertia) of the katamari — it’s a sticky ball with the magical ability to absorb every object of a certain size that it rolls over, attaching them to its surface.

The player is the son of the King of All Cosmos — a prince who directs the ball in a globe-trotting adventure, always aiming to increase the quantity of objects connected to the katamari at any given moment.

The challenge in each mission lies in the fact that the starting size of the katamari is very small. Because of that, the player must work to gather a sufficient quantity of suitably tiny objects too absorb before being able to attract bigger objects.

The difficulty rises if the player isn’t mindful of colliding with larger things that the katamari isn’t big enough to absorb, as that impact can result in the detachment of some accumulated stuff. However, with good judgment, the player will quickly find themselves in command of a rolling behemoth.

This process is beautifully accommodated in the design of each stage — essentially playgrounds filled with LEGO-like objects. Humans and animals also appear regularly, and at first show no interested in the prince’s work. However, that behavior changes rather dramatically as his katamari becomes a looming threat, and all self-respecting creatures will try their best to clear out of its way.

The satisfying feeling of growing a katamari is enhanced by the delightfully hectic stages. It’s common for the prince to roll over whole streets filled with houses, gas stations, cars, domesticated and wild animals, parents with children, musicians, elephants, giraffes, streets lights, buses, fences, small gardens, monuments, decorative urns, and more — all of which have absolutely no choice but to accept merging with the fast approaching ball of awesomeness. Of course, later missions expand the menu with larger and more interesting objects– as well as the occasional kaiju. 

There are two types of missions in REROLL, both timed — those where the prince needs to create a katamari of specified dimensions, and trickier “constellation” missions that require him to be more selective about what items he absorbs into the ball. After completing the final stage (and if certain requirements are met) the player can unlock more extreme versions of these missions and try to assemble colossal katamaris without time constraints.

The only other game mode is local PvP. The second player controls a cousin of the prince and competes to build a more impressive katamari in the same stage. It’s a chaotic mode where it’s possible for one player to completely devour the opponent’s katamari if the size difference between the two is big enough. Sadly, there are no online options.

Even if the last decade and a half came and went without bringing any substantial change to the original Katamari Damacy formula, that doesn’t hurt this remastered version – the rotating mix of jazzy tunes and catchy J-Pop choruses provide encouragement for the prince’s reckless consumption, and it remains now, as it was then, a purely good time.

Rating: 8 out of 10

— Konstantin Koteski

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Namco Bandai. It is currently available on PS4, XBO, PC and Switch This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4 Pro. Approximately 20 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completedTwo hours of play were spent in multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated and contains Alcohol and Tobacco References and Mild Fantasy and Violence.  It’s a humorous game which doesn’t even hint at violence or any sort of damage being afflicted by the katamari – rolling over humans and animals is followed only by the appearance of cartoonish symbols above their heads which represent their disappointments. After that, they will produce sounds that allude to their annoyance and they will continue to flap their limbs about as the ball rolls on. Destruction isn’t possible in this game, since every object that comes in contact with the katamari (skyscrapers included) will either stick to it, or the katamari will simply pinball away.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Subtitles are available for all dialogue. The text cannot be resized or altered. There are no audio cues needed for successful gameplay. I’d say this game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, the controls are not remappable, but there are two preset control schemes. However, only the movement sticks are used in gameplay.

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