‘Katamari Damacy Reroll’ is pure gaming nirvana

Ditch the meditation app. 'Katamari Damacy Reroll' is pure gaming zen

katamari damacy reroll impressions review 11

Katamari Damacy originally launched in 2004 on PlayStation 2. At that time, I was an awkward and weird 13-year-old, which made that quirky game about rolling over stuff with a ball resonate with me. I looked weird. The misshapen ball composed of thumbtacks, signs, cats, bowls, toothbrushes, and a human or two? Well, that sure as hell looked weird, too.

Fourteen years later I’m obviously still weird, but I think I look a bit better. And what do you know? Katamari Damacy Reroll, an HD remaster that got this bizarre franchise rolling, looks a whole lot better, too. Once again, it’s a perfect fit.

Revisiting Katamari Damacy after all these years does more than just pique nostalgia. Katamari Damacy Reroll is a great game by 2018 standards, too. It holds up remarkably well and is as charming, joyous, and relaxing as it was in 2004.

To Earth and beyond

For those who haven’t played the cult hit, Katamari Damacy tells the tale of a young prince sent to Earth to retrieve literally everything in order to rebuild the moon and the stars. Why? His father, the King of All Cosmos, accidentally destroyed the galaxy after having one too many drinks.

There’s something extremely cathartic about rolling over objects and watching them become part of your growing ball.

The lime green prince, whose head looks like a pill capsule, is comically small for the objective. But the King of All Cosmos knows best. The prince is zipped off to Earth with only a katamari — a ball with excellent sticking properties to gather the goods. How do objects like boxes of cereal and tiny elephants help recreate the moon and stars? No idea, but it’s awesome anyway.

Each time you’re beamed to Earth, you have a certain amount of minutes to roll your ball to a set size. The stages start off small in scale. In early levels, you go from picking up small household objects to small animals to humans. In later levels, you’re rolling over homes and skyscrapers and even mountains. With each level, the scope of your mission increases.

There’s something extremely cathartic about rolling over objects and watching them become part of your growing ball. Sometimes, oblong shapes make the ball move not quite as smoothly, only adding to the charm. It’s funny to watch a screaming human, in all of his or her blocky glory, become part of your creation. The satisfaction of returning to an area to scoop up items that were initially too large to attach to your ball is immense.

Rolling in HD

Reroll definitely looks the part, too. Although the environments and objects still have muddied textures and polygons are evident, everything is brighter and clearer. The colors are vibrant and you never have to guess what it is that you’re about to add to your katamari. The prince himself is more adorable than ever. If only we could get him in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Most notably, Reroll doesn’t have an auto-save feature. If you forget to save your game manually, you’re out of luck.

A new control scheme, dubbed Simple, is included in the remaster. This scheme lets you control your movements with one thumbstick and the other with the camera. It doesn’t work nearly as well as it sounds, sadly.

Reroll‘s dual thumbstick control scheme still works very well. Yes, it’s awkward and clumsy at times but that’s sort of the point. A miniature prince should have a hard time turning and moving a ball that’s ten times his size. The controls adequately and charmingly represent the struggle and zaniness of the situation.

The one area that could’ve used a true makeover is the menu system. Between each mission, you walk around your home planet. Here you have to literally walk to adjust the settings, save your game, or choose the next mission. Most notably, Reroll doesn’t have an auto-save feature. If you forget to save your game manually, you’re out of luck. This isn’t a huge deal, but it did remind me of how much games have evolved to be more player-friendly over the years.

Though Reroll is available on PC and Nintendo Switch, the Switch feels like its natural home. While the PC version looks prettier, playing Reroll in handheld mode on Switch is a dream. If you’re brave, you can also utilize the Joy-Con for motion controls. These work better than I expected, but I think they take away from the game’s relaxing identity.

The soundtrack makes the serene experience even better. Katamari Damacy had one of the best PS2 era soundtracks. It stands the test of time. The jazz-infused electronic music coupled with catchy vocals will have you bobbing your head along to the beat. Before long, you enter a Katamari trance, hypnotized by the singular, pleasing goal.

Movies & TV

Oscar-winning FX master explains why ‘First Man’ is a giant leap for filmmaking

Paul Lambert, the Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor on First Man, reveals the innovative techniques that blended old footage with modern movie magic to make the Apollo 11 mission to the moon resonate with audiences 50 years later.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

Who needs a Switch? These 25 games prove there's fun to be found on 3DS

The 3DS is home to a large library, including some of the greatest games Nintendo has ever published. We've compiled this list of some of the best Nintendo 3DS games currently available.
Gaming

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.
Gaming

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

Latest ‘Fortnite’ update channels Halo with a scoped revolver

The latest update for Fortnite, update 7.20, is now available, and it brings a new Scoped Revolver weapon to the game alongside the returning Glider item and a limited-time Snipers-only mode.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ will make Blackout mode free to play this week

Treyarch and Activision are offering Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode as a free trial download for a limited time. The mode will be available from January 17 through January 24.
Gaming

Break out the Wii: ‘Just Dance’ movie reportedly in the works

Sony's Screen Gems has reportedly acquired the film rights to the Just Dance video game series from Ubisoft, which previously helped bring the game Assassin's Creed to the big screen in 2016.