We Love Katamari ReRoll Official Art
Image via Bandai Namco

Review: We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie Is Pure Joy

There aren’t many games like Katamari Damacy. Keita Takahashi’s fever dream series about rolling up everything on Earth was a breakout hit for Namco on the PS2, with its quirky premise and bold art style. The first game got a remaster in the form of Katamari Damacy Reroll back in 2018, and now it’s time for We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie to join it.

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We Love Katamari originally released back in 2005, expanding on the original Katmari Damacy. If you’re unaware of the concept behind the series, you play as The Prince of All Cosmos as he pushes a giant ball called a Katamari around. By rolling over items in the environment, they become part of the Katamari’s mass, allowing it to roll up even larger items. In the first game, The Prince had to roll Katamaris so his father, The King of All Cosmos, could replace the stars that he mistakenly destroyed in a drunken rampage. In We Love Katamari, the people of Earth were so enamored with the concept of Katamari Damacy that now they’re calling on The King to fulfill their Katamari-related requests.

It’s utterly strange in every way, but that’s the charm of We Love Katamari. It’s a bright, colorful world of joy and silliness that must be rolled into gigantic balls to meet the whims of your fans. Rolling up a gingerbread house for fans with a sweet tooth. Rolling a sumo wrestler over food items to bulk him up to defeat an opponent. Using a Katamari to make friends (by rolling them up). It’s all here, up to and including rolling up a Katamari big enough to capture the sun just because a dog asked you to.

We Love Katamari ReRoll Plaza

Screenshot by Siliconera

We Love Katamari Reroll is a straight remaster of the original, for the most part. The gameplay is still the same as it always was, and nothing has changed about level layouts or challenges.

Most of the more noticeable changes are in the Select Plaza, an area where fans gather and call out requests. The Prince can wander this area and talk to fans to start their levels. The area also features special locations for saving, options, viewing your item collection and viewing cutscenes. It’s a charming feature that could have easily been a basic menu. However, it could sometimes be slow and cumbersome, and the remaster has rectified this in several ways.

For a start, The Prince now moves faster, meaning that his dash is extra speedy too. There’s a pause menu where you can easily access things like options instantly. There’s also a separate menu listing all the fan requests in case you can’t remember where a specific person is. These new features speed up navigation significantly and feel like they should have always been there. Oh, and you can now make The Prince skip merrily through the Plaza. It’s useless but, more importantly, very cute.

We Love Katamari ReRoll School Level

Screenshot by Siliconera

The rest of We Love Katamari is, happily, still just as enjoyable as it was on the PS2. The gameplay is simple, controlled almost entirely by the two analog sticks in a quirky tank control setup. It can be a little clunky at times, but this feels deliberate. The Katamari is a wonky, slippery ball covered in assorted household items (and pets), so it’s not supposed to handle that well!

However, the simple control scheme makes it easy to pick up and contributes to its general addictiveness. With very few controls to worry about, you can focus on the task at hand, which is weirdly relaxing at times. There’s something extremely satisfying about seeing your colossal orb grow bigger or hearing a chorus of pick-up noises as you run over a cluster of items.

The simple joy of the gameplay is enhanced by the presentation. The game has a stylised cartoony visual style that allows the game to go to some goofy places. Every level is full of little silly events, such as a race where F1 cars are going up against people on horseback, or a group of fish watching TV underwater. It’s a game that revels in its own weirdness.

The silliness extends to the writing, which mostly features a self-absorbed King accepting any request that comes with a mild compliment and forgetting that he even sent you to roll a Katamari in the first place. Despite this, he still feels the need to mercilessly roast every Katamari you present to him. I’m doing my best, okay!

We Love Katamari ReRoll Compass

Screenshot by Siliconera

The presentation has only been marginally enhanced by the remaster. The visual style is already striking enough to work as is, but there is a nice HD sheen and a faster framerate now, which is nice. Loading times are also improved, although this does effectively kill off the Easter eggs that showed up in the loading screens, which is a shame.

A more significant improvement is a quality-of-life change to gameplay. In levels where you have a specific objective – light a bonfire, defeat a sumo, etc. – there is now a handy compass that directs you to that goal in the final minute of your time. We Love Katamari is chaotic so it’s easy to lose your sense of direction, especially since you rolled up most of the significant landmarks. So this new compass is a really nice addition that reduces some of the frustration.

We Love Katamari ReRoll King Story

Screenshot by Siliconera

Where the remaster is a bit of a letdown is in the new content. In the main game, you can unlock a series of cutscenes about The King’s childhood. In the Royal Reverie portion of this remaster, you can play as The King in these flashback moments. At least, in theory you can.

In practice, these new levels are simply remixed versions of existing levels. What’s worse is that the new objectives never feel as inventive as the main levels. If I’m honest, they have the feeling of user generated content, as if there’s some “Make Your Own Katamari Level” mode I’m unaware of. They’re not bad levels, but certainly don’t have the polish of anything cooked up by the main team. For something that Bandai Namco felt important enough to put in the title of the game, this portion feels phoned in.

This does not dampen the overall experience though. We Love Katamari is one of the most inventive and charming games ever made. It took the already great concept of Katamari Damacy and expanded on it to become the best game in the series. And despite being 18 years old, it holds up incredibly well, and can now be finally enjoyed by a new generation.

Everyone who needs some joy in their life is required to play We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie. It may be the bare minimum for a remaster, but it’s hard to deny how much we still love Katamari.

We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie is available now for the PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.

9
We Love Katamari Reroll+ Royal Reverie

The game is a faithful reproduction of the original work “We Love Katamari” released in 2005, not only in the feel of rolling the Katamari, but also in the carefully designed user interface!

The stop-at-nothing pushing prince is back and ready to reroll! PS5 version reviewed

The remaster may not add much, but it doesn't need to. We Love Katamari is still one of the silliest and most enjoyable games ever made.

Food for Thought
  • The soundtrack remains one of the greatest video game soundtracks ever made and it’s a crime that Bandai Namco haven’t made it available on streaming services yet
  • Once you gain the Camera present, The Prince gains the ability to take selfies at any given time. This is an important addition.
  • The cow and bear level is still the absolute worst though.

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Author
Leigh Price
Leigh is a staff writer and content creator from the UK. He has been playing games since falling in love with Tomb Raider on the PS1, and now plays a bit of everything, from AAA blockbusters to indie weirdness. He has also written for Game Rant and Geeky Brummie. He can also be found making YouTube video essays as Bob the Pet Ferret, discussing such topics as why Final Fantasy X-2’s story is better than people like to think.