We’re sorry for the Limp Bizkit lyric in the tagline. But if we had to think about them while trying to come up with puns on rolling then it’s only fair that you think about them too. If, by chance, you don’t know who Limp Bizkit is then all you need to know is that the early 2000s weren’t kind to rock music, but they were very kind to video games.
We still remember heading to our local video game emporium excited to pick up a copy of Katamari Damacy for PlayStation 2 back in the olden days of 2004, but they didn’t have it in stock so we went home with Silent Hill 4: The Room instead. You can retract that thing we said about the early 2000s being kind to video games, thinking about it. That game was rubbish.
Anyway, we eventually got our copy of Katamari Damacy thanks to a brand new invention called Internet shopping and we immediately fell in love. Sixteen years later, Katamari Damacy has been remade as Katamari Damacy Reroll for PS4 so a whole new generation of gamers can be as charmed and confused as we were back in the day.
If, somehow, you’ve managed to get to this point in your life and you don’t know what Katamari Damacy is then allow us to set the scene. The game begins with the King of All Cosmos accidentally destroying the entire night sky and charging his diminutive son — the Prince — with the task of repopulating the black night with shining stars.
Making stars involves rolling a ball — called a Katamari — around and sticking things like pencils and cakes and children to it until it’s big enough to be considered a star and then firing it into space. We’re not sure how this makes any sense but that’s how the game works so let’s not question it.
And don’t worry about those children you rolled up being cannoned into the dark recesses of space and collapsing into themselves to fuel the nuclear fusion process of the new star. If you want pretty things then you have to make sacrifices: it’s just like ignoring how your iPhone gets made.
Rolling a big ball over things is fun. There’s absolutely no two ways about it. The controls are what we’d diplomatically refer to as “quirky” but once you’re used to using the two analogue sticks in unison it’s not as annoying as it should be.
A typical level in Katamari Damacy involves starting with a small ball — let’s say 5cm in diameter — and rolling it about in thumb tacks and other tiny items. As your ball grows in diameter it can pick up bigger things, and so with enough thumb tacks you can roll up an eraser, and with enough erasers you can roll up the family dog. His name is Biscuit and he’s happy to help.
You successfully complete the level if you reach the target diameter within the time limit. These time limits are generally pretty forgiving, but you might run afoul of them if you spend too much time rolling up paper clips when your Katamari is big enough to roll over cars or the high school principal.
There’s also levels in which you rebuild constellations, and these involve rolling up particular things. In one constellation mission you’re required to roll up as many twins as you can, and in another you’re tasked with adding a bear to your Katamari. On the whole, there’s not a tremendous amount of variety here – you’re going to roll a ball about picking things up again and again. And that’s just fine.
Katamari Damacy’s core gameplay is amusing enough that you can play levels repeatedly aiming for a higher score and it’s still entertaining, so there’s replay value here despite the short length of the game. We had a blast replaying it for the first time in over a decade over the course of six or seven hours, and it holds up surprisingly well. It might even be more suited to today’s gaming climate where weird indie titles like Bugsnax can find a sizeable audience.
And Katamari is weird. If the gameplay premise wasn’t already sounding out there then the presentation tops it off. The game is a fever dream on top of an acid flashback, double-dipped in kawaii. The art direction is cute but vaguely unsettling, the music sugary sweet, the story is nonsensical, and the way that the King of All Cosmos barks orders to you in short, bizarre, delusional sentences is like reading Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.
As far as remakes go, Reroll is a little underwhelming in some regards. The high definition sheen is definitely appreciated but there’s some fairly ugly textures, and there’s nothing new to see here in comparison to the original title barring Trophy support. If you liked Katamari Damacy the first time around then you’ll still like it today, and if you’ve never played it then it’s well worth giving Reroll a shot out of sheer morbid curiosity, if nothing else.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is a faithful if unadventurous remake of a PlayStation 2 classic that should probably be experienced by every gamer at least once. The unique presentation and anarchic sense of humour stand the test of time, and the satisfying gameplay loop makes high score chasing a treat. It’s a game in which you can roll over old women with a massive sticky ball and honestly you just can’t say that about most games.
Roses are redViolets are bluePlay KatamariOr we’ll roll over you
The controls aren’t amazingWe’re not doing a rhyme for this one
Review copy provided by Bandai Namco
Katamari Damacy Reroll (PS4)
Please note that some external links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you click them and make a purchase we may receive a small percentage of the sale. Please read our FTC Disclosure for more information.