I’m all for getting to play classic games I loved years past on modern day systems, especially when they’ve been revamped and made to look this good.
We Love Katamari is a bit of a classic. a game with a simple enough premise but one that has universal appeal. That would absolutely account for the success of the franchise all those years ago on PS2.
It was often regarded among the best 20 games on the system and on the surface you may wonder why. The aim is simple, you roll a ball around a sandbox environment, each different from the next, to make the biggest possible object that you can.
You might find yourself in a classroom, rolling up test papers, telescopes and protractors, or down at the local mall picking up hifis, TVs and billboards. But this is a game that always wants you to think bigger, so before long you’ll be taking people along for the ride, tall buildings and eventually, if you’ve done everything right, even the sun itself.
REROLL is a remaster of the second Katamari title, still filled with the trademark quirkiness and wit that made the game so special to begin with, but expanded upon with new additions and remastered with stunning new graphics which gleam in 4K.
The core loop is still as enjoyable as ever, though. There’s nothing quite so therapeutic and nonsensical about just hoovering up anything and everything you see in your path, gradually growing all of the time as you try to fulfill objectives, but equally, you have to be aware of your size, knowing you can’t just bump into anything.
Over time, you’ll build in size and grow, which enables you to pick up bigger objects, building upon your size, allowing you to roll over all sorts of things.
The UI has had a bit of a revamp so you can now traverse a mini, side-scrolling world where people pop up with new quests for you to take on. It takes a little bit of getting used to at first, with so many things popping up left and right as you move between screens, but the game highlights all the latest quests for you to tackle and things to look at making it easier to know where to go.
Quest givers often give you more than one option as well, tasking you with emerging difficulty, shorter timescales but bigger goals. It keeps the replayability going, but it also feeds into your wider objective, which is populating the solar system enough so you can build a katamari big enough to eat the sun.
But also new to this game is Royal Reverie which adds new challenges where you can play as the king when younger. These challenges are brutal and are absolutely for Katamari pros, but it adds a bit more to the game outside of just being a like-for-like content rejig.
The game also has a photo mode now because, well, everything else does so why not?
But the bread and butter is the We Love Katamari base game and it remains as fast paced as ever. I do take some issue with the controls which, in this day and age, just feel really clunky and difficult to get to grips with.
Turning feels super slow – though, one could argue that’s par for the course when trying to roll an oversized bunch of objects, but it can be really hard to get to grips with in 2023.
As a fan of the series in general, though, between the layers of strategy and simplicity, the quirky humor and offbeat references, even the ways each environment make the challenge feel uniquely different – whether you’re eating gingerbread houses or cute doggos – this is as close to perfect a Katamari experience as I’ve played on current gen.
If you’ve been pining for more, want the excuse to look back, or wonder what everyone’s been talking about all these years, this is as good as it gets as far as Katamari is concerned. And a joy to play in between some of this years big, bold, immersive and intense experiences.
We Love Katamari REROLL + Royal Reverie takes the best bits of the series and bundles it all together in a wonderful little package. The creativity in environments is delightful, the updated visuals look stunning and the trademark humor and style is clear for all to see. While I definitely struggled with the controls and feel movement is really dated and clunky, this is just such a wonderful little gem that everyone should try at least once.
+ Pure, surprising, simple fun that’s satisfying as you grow and pick up more objects
+ Nice environment variety lets you pick up almost anything
+ Visuals look great and UI is an improvement
– Controls can feel really cumbersome and clunky
We Love Katamari REROLL + Royal Reverie is out now on PC, PlayStation, Switch and Xbox.
Code Kindly Provided by Bandai Namco for review purposes
Played on Xbox Series X