Friday, May 10, 2019

Katamari Damacy Reroll (NSW, PC) Review

What better way to spend one's time reviewing Katamari Damacy Reroll, an HD remaster of the original PlayStation 2 cult classic, than while listening to the sensational and superb Katamari Damacy soundtrack? That's rhetorical, because there is nothing! Let's roll together with the SuperPhillip Central review of Katamari Damacy Reroll on the Switch and on Steam!

I feel it! I feel the cosmos!

The original Katamari Damacy was such a breath of fresh air--if you'll pardon the immensely cliche line there--as it was unlike anything ever before seen in gaming. We're talking about a generation of consoles that bloomed with fresh, new gaming ideas and weird, eccentric titles every which way you looked!

Despite this, Katamari Damacy was a title many never expected to exit Japan because it was so... weird! However, the PS2 exclusive did just that, and it became a cult classic in the PS2's extensive library of games. Of course, with any success in the entertainment business, when one strikes gold with a property, they wish to milk as much of they can before they bleed it dry. Alas, that's what happened with Katamari Damacy.

Against the original creator's desires, Katamari Damacy saw sequel after sequel release, seldom shaking up the formula before fans of the franchise felt fatigue. Now, it's a new generation with new consoles, and finally, the Katamari Damacy series has reached a Nintendo console at long last with the original game in remastered glory with Katamari Damacy Reroll. It's like reuniting with an old friend after so long--if you'll pardon that immensely cliche line as well! The point is--it's a wonderful feeling to replay Katamari Damacy after oh, so long!

Mm... I guess The Prince's Katamari has a bit of a sweet tooth!
The King of All Cosmos seems to have gone on a bit of a bender, and in his enthusiasm, he utterly destroyed every star and constellation in the galaxy. Using the power of the Katamari, the King tasks The Prince with rolling up anything and everything he possibly can to restore the beauty and majesty of the galaxy. Much like the premise of Katamari Damacy, the story is pure ridiculous fun and doesn't bother at all to take itself seriously. And much like crossing the Pacific Ocean in a rowboat, the story is quite the trip. As fans of the original PlayStation 2 game like myself can tell you: we wouldn't have it any other way.

Complementing the absolute absurdity of Katamari Damacy's story is the craziness that comes from its gameplay. In the opening level of the game, our princely protagonist is assigned to one room to roll things up in, and while this might sound unimpressive, he's the size of a thumbtack, only able to roll up objects of that size. By the final levels of Katamari Damacy Reroll, you're helping The Prince roll up entire houses, neighborhoods, cities, and landmasses. Heck, even the poignant majesty of a gigantic rainbow is no match for The Prince's Katamari! Just seeing the scope from the beginning of Reroll compared to what you can at the game's conclusion is astounding.

Yes, that'll teach you to go swimming without waiting 30 minutes after eating!
Of course, before you can roll up mountains and massive skyscrapers, you start off rolling up the aforementioned thumbtacks and doodads of similar size. Each level sees The Prince's Katamari ball growing in size as more and more objects are rolled up. The catch here is that you can't just roll up things all willy-nilly. No, your Katamari can only roll up things it's bigger or as big as. As your Katamari grows from picking up smaller items, you get access to new items available to roll up, and in later levels, new sections and areas to explore that were once blocked off.

Katamari Damacy Reroll also doesn't give you free reign to roll whatever you please, wherever you please, for as long as you please--well, unless you're playing in one of the unlockable Eternal levels, but let's not muddy the waters here! All levels have a time limit to them, with the goal of achieving the level's objective before time runs out. It's not that stressful, though, as the time limits are quite lenient.

Go from rolling around in neighborhoods...
Levels have different objectives, but the primary one that is seen most throughout Reroll is that of reaching a required size with The Prince's Katamari before time runs out. For score enthusiasts, they'll want to get as big of a Katamari as possible in these levels before time depletes fully. Other levels have you needing to roll up as much a particular item as you can, or levels where you are instructed to roll up one specific item--and only one--and try to roll up the biggest one possible. These levels are by far the most frustrating if you're going for a high score... er, rather... size, because it's all too easy to mistakenly roll up a smaller item and then have to sit through all the menus afterwards just to get another chance to play the level again. rolling UP those neighborhoods... and more! 
Katamari Damacy Reroll is essentially taking Katamari Damacy and sprucing it up in delightful and pleasant-to-the-eyes HD. There's not too much added otherwise, though Nintendo Switch players can opt to use motion controls for moving around their Katamari. Though, this would put them at a handicap, because the motion controls aren't the most accurate or enjoyable to use.

While you get updated visuals with the original Katamari Damcy, everything else is pretty much left untouched. You get the good--the zany story and premise, the excellent and eclectic music, and the simple yet accessible gameplay (players are given a helpful interactive tutorial to start off with to learn how to control the game)--but you also get the bad. This includes the cumbersome and oftentimes clunky camera and some slight physics issues. Mind, these don't make the greatness that is Katamari Damacy Reroll worse than its PS2 original; it just makes it the same game only with touched up visuals, which is a tad disappointing. By no means a deal-breaker, however. You'll just have to roll with the punches, and after you're done doing that, you then use your Katamari to roll UP those punches as well!

[SPC Says: B]

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