Game Info:

Katamari Damacy REROLL
Developed By: Monkeycraft Co. Ltd.
Published By: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Released: December 7th, 2018
Available On: Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4
Genre: Puzzle, action
ESRB Rating: Everyone (Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Mild Fantasy Violence)
Number of Players: Single player
Price: $29.99
(Humble Store Link)

The original Katamari Damacy was released on the PS2 in 2004, and it was quite the eccentric game. Filled with zany characters, loopy gameplay, bizarre settings, and quirky soundtrack, it went on to become a hit. REROLL is a re-release of the original title, preserving all the charm while adding some higher definition to the graphics.

The scenario isn’t particularly deep. Your father the King of All Cosmos has just had a tantrum and knocked all the stars out of the sky. Now it’s your job as the Prince to help the King undo his mistake by rolling up all sorts of random objects into a ball to create the foundations of a new star. Sometimes you’ll just help roll the biggest ball you can. Sometimes you’ll help with rolling up specific objectives. And by “help” we mean do all the “easy” rolling around while the King does the heavy work of “supervising.” That’s the intro, and oh boy does that dialogue clue us in on what sort of comedic adventures are to be had for the 6 hours of this game’s length.

Katamari Damacy REROLL

Strong Points: Uniquely comedic aesthetics; simple and intuitive mechanics
Weak Points: Game feels too short 
Moral Warnings: Alcohol and tobacco items lying around; policemen shooting at you

The game is very much straightforward – you have a ball and roll it around to collect smaller objects, thus increasing your size and allowing you to gradually add ever larger objects to your ball. It’s best played with a controller – the two thumbsticks are used in unison to control movement like you’re directing a set of tank treads. It takes a bit of getting used to, but feels completely natural once you do. This weird control scheme matches the gameplay perfectly. The motions for rolling the ball are similar to the motions you would use to roll an actual ball, and the cumbersomeness of trying to steer a ball many times your body size is reflected in the two thumbsticks. It’s a strange feeling to play such a light-hearted, flippantly comical game where movement has the weight you might expect from a much more serious game such as Dark Souls or MechWarrior.

There have been other games in the “collect things to get bigger” genre over the years, most notably Agar.io, but I don’t know of any that have pulled it off with the same charm as Katamari Damacy. People run around frantically as your giant ball barrels down the road for them, the bright colours juxtaposing the primal terror of being chased by a huge, all-consuming thing. I imagine this is what Godzilla would look like as a comedy movie. All the meanwhile, the soundtrack feeds into this silliness like a dopamine rush given musical form. It’s all very synergistic, and this madness just drives the game ever onward to bigger and bigger things.

Katamari Damacy REROLL
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 92%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 92%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

There are some moral concerns, to be sure, but it’s all very minor. Policemen shoot at you once you grow to size, as if they’re trying to stop a giant monster, although nothing ever really gets hurt. You play as a spirit, but the supernatural elements are never really dwelt upon. Cigarettes and alcohol are among the items that can be rolled up, but no characters in game actually use these objects. Frankly, the single biggest moral concern I can level against it is one of fridge horror, but it doesn’t really make sense to deduct points for things that only matter when deconstructing the work. (Namely: what happens to the people rolled up into katamaris? In particular, the family in the cutscenes.)

Katamari Damacy REROLL is very much a unique game, and it’s hilarious to roll around the stage gathering up random objects like lint. There’s an infectious joy to be had from it, and once you’re done you’ll be singing its song. This game is easily NANA-NANANANANA-NA-NA-NA, NA-NA-NANA-NA.

About the Author

Elvin Ong

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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