Katamari Damacy is by far one of the strangest games I’ve ever played. Released back in 2004 on the PlayStation 2, the premise of the game has you rolling up objects with an object called a Katamari (think of it as a really sticky ball) in order to rebuild stars and constellations. You start by rolling up small household objects like matches and erasers, and the more objects you roll up, the bigger your Katamari grows. As it continues to grow, you are able to pick up bigger objects like LEGO blocks and coins. By the end of the first few levels, your Katamari is able to hold things like cats and dogs.
Describing this game to someone without having them watch gameplay will make you sound mental, but that’s part of the game’s charm. Good luck trying to tell your parents about how you played a game where you rolled up birthday cakes, old women on mobility scooters and several cyclists to form a star. No matter how you phrase it, you are bound to come off as a little bit crazy.
Despite being released fourteen years ago, everything about Katamari Damacy largely holds up well today. There are some minor issues with performance on the PC version that we will get to later, but the gameplay is as good now as it was back then. As for the default controls (specifically on a controller), they might seem awkward at first as all movement is done using both analogue sticks, however, as you continue to play the game you’ll adjust fairly quickly. There is another preset for the controls that are labelled ‘simple’, however, these controls appear to be broken. For some reason, pushing the right analog stick up on the ‘simple’ preset moves the camera right instead of up. In short: stick to the default controls.
No matter how familiar you are with the controls, one thing you will struggle with at times is the camera. Just like a lot of games during the PlayStation 2 era, there are points where you will struggle to see anything beyond your giant Katamari. There isn’t much you can do when it comes to areas like this, you just have to hope you can play with a giant obstruction in front of you. This usually only happens when your Katamari has outgrown the level, and this should occur during the first ten levels as these take place on a smaller scale.
Speaking of the levels, players of all ages should be able to enjoy Reroll without struggling through the game. Each level can last anywhere between six minutes to almost half an hour in length, though you should be able to accomplish the objective within half the given time. Reroll is the type of game that you’ll want to play after a long day, the kind where you don’t have any difficult decisions to make. The colourful visuals, alongside the excellent soundtrack, will be enough to make most people happy.
Katamari Damacy was made for the PlayStation 2, a console that has symmetrical sticks. I’ve read some reports about people struggling with the controls using asymmetrical sticks like the Xbox One controller, however, I personally have had no issues throughout my playthrough. Katamari Damacy was not made for PC, and that is made very clear right from the beginning if you attempt to play the game without a controller. It’s no surprise a game that relies heavily on using two analogue sticks might be awkward to play on a keyboard, but we’d like to confirm that this is truly a horrific experience. Don’t even consider purchasing this game without having a compatible controller, otherwise, you’ll be in for a terrible time.
In regards to how the game runs, players can expect highs of 300FPS, even on budget PCs. The problem is that Katamari Damacy was never intended to run above 30FPS as the game’s physics are tied to the framerate. As a result, despite your frame rate counter showing high numbers, the only aspects of the game that respond to that number will be the odd object on the stage and the Prince in the corner. It would have been great to see this game running at 120Hz and beyond, but we will have to settle with what we can get. Aside from the frame rate being capped, the only other major issue is that players have to complete the first level in order to gain access to the game’s settings. By default, the options menu is not available until you reach the hub world. As a result, you are forced to play in a window for the first ten minutes of the game.
Katamari Damacy REROLL is far from the perfect remaster when it comes to performance, however, it still beats the alternative option of having to plug in your PlayStation 2 to run the game. We haven’t been able to verify for ourselves whether or not the Switch port of Reroll is any good, but from what we’ve heard it should run as well as the PlayStation 2 version. For only £16 on Steam, it’s very easy to recommend Reroll to both people who played the original Katamari Damacy and those who have yet to try it.
Review code provided by the publisher.