There is a very fine line between craziness and genius. Katamari Damacy walks this line, sometimes dipping to one side or the other, but that’s part of its charm. As the young prince, it’s your job to fix the King of all Cosmos’ mess. After a bender, he destroyed all of the stars and planets, leaving the sky empty. You’re tasked with taking the katamari, a smallish orb which objects stick to, and rolling it around to make new stars and planets. When I say “objects” I mean anything from thumbtacks to people.
Each level is a small slice of a house, a town, or larger. You’re given a time limit and a size goal to get to, and that’s about all the direction you have. Rolling the katamari ball over anything smaller than it will add it to the mass of the ball, so there is a bit of puzzling to find access to new areas by reaching specific sizes, which the game kindly tells you how big the roadblocks are. Rolling into anything larger than your ball knocks you back, shaving a bit of size off the ball. It’s all pretty forgiving; the time limit mostly exists just to give a sense of urgency. If you’re trying to beat your own score, or the scores of others, then it plays a huge part but outside of that, it’s breezy. The last minute or so of every level is spent rolling around everything in a frenzy as you’ve hit the cap, and things are just going ballistic fleeing from you in terror. It’s awesome.
The scenarios are complete nonsense, but there’s an artstyle to them I completely adore. Colours are bright and vibrant, everything feels like papercraft and, frankly, it’s like what I imagine looking into the mind of a very creative madman would be like. Stuff is strewn everywhere, crabs wielding scissors, food and batteries, a bunch of road signs. All of it becomes fodder for your katamari in its quest to become big. It’s such a rewarding feeling too, finding a path that works wonders for growth. More than a few times I returned to a level just to get to a ridiculous size for the king to praise how large my planet had gotten.
Normally I don’t harp on too much about music, but it’s just another facet of what makes this game such a quirky gem. The opening song is something I will almost always stop and listen to, and every level has its own unique song. Sometime’s a sombre melody, sometimes it’s a fun little ditty, or weird Japanese rap. It’s honestly a great soundtrack. One of my favourites to listen to on its own, up there with Nier: Automata or Persona 5.
It’s not all great news though. The control scheme is…interesting. You use the left and right thumbsticks together to move, sort of like how a tank would work in my head, with the left stick needing to go forward and the right stick backward in order to move the prince around the katamari. The controls fight you in a way, but I can’t help but think that this was a very serious design decision, and you are moving around a giant ball of mass, as a teeny tiny little prince. Still, it was not rare for me to forget how to perform a specific action with the controller and need to look up the controls again. They work, but they are also work. Changing them to “simple” did not feel a lot better, and motion controls are, as they often are, a gimmick more than anything else.
I thought about making this a longer review but truth be told, it doesn’t need to be. This is a great game, it’s a good price, it’s aged great. Between the soundtrack, the humour, and the gameplay, this is an awesome little package that should feel at home on any Switch (or PC).
Katamari Damacy Reroll was provided by the publisher for review purposes. The entire game was completed prior to review. The only other game in the series that has been played is the Vita game, which is also good.