Three, two, one, go!
I was a Nintendo fangirl right through the GameCube. But in 2005, I needed a PlayStation 2. How could I resist? That year saw Shadow of the Colossus, Guitar Hero, God of War, and We Love Katamari. All of them were platform exclusives, and I couldn’t pass up any. I didn’t actually like God of War, but the rest of them? Those were the halcyon days.
We Love Katamari was my introduction to the series. I had wanted to play Katamari Damacy, but again, I was a GameCube jockey. It was also at a time when I was just learning that Japan is a place that exists. My frame of reference at that time was an anime called Sexy Commando, so it would take me about a decade to realize that Japan isn’t just this isolated land from space.
What am I getting at? I don’t know. It’s probably that We Love Katamari is awesome. It took Katamari Damacy’s relatively simple concept to its terminal location, which it would continue to spin on for each subsequent game. I mean, I love Katamari Forever, but the series definitely hit its peak at We Love Katamari because it couldn’t really go anywhere new from there. So, with that, the best version of a legendary series is here in We Love Katamari Reroll+ Royal Reverie.
We Love Katamari Reroll+ Royal Reverie (PC, PS4, PS5 [Reviewed], Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch)
Developer: MONKEYCRAFT Co. Ltd.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Released: June 2, 2023
You could just tell me that Bandai Namco was doing an HD re-release of We Love Katamari, and I’d take it. What’s the price? Doesn’t matter. Gimme.
To be clear, We Love Katamari REROLL+ Royal Reverie is mostly just that. Very little about it is remade, and it succeeds mostly in giving We Love Katamari some modern comforts. There is some new content in the form of levels where you play as the King of All Cosmos back when he was just a prince. However, these are largely just remixes of stages from the main game with some cosmetic differences.
More disappointingly, however, is the fact the King of All Cosmos levels don’t count for much. You don’t even get some sassy comment saying how well you did, which makes them feel unsatisfying. The King just sits there. They’re not bad, but the complete lack of feedback makes them feel tacked on.
Hop on. We’re going to space!
Meanwhile, the main content is still there, and it’s still great. We Love Katamari’s greatest strength was its tangible progression. As you advance through the levels, it teases you by letting you build bigger and bigger katamari. This is drawn out by stages where you focus on soaking up fireflies, but eventually, you make your way to amassing Katamari of epic proportions. It’s all fed at such a pace that it feels earned.
This is all set against a backdrop of oppressive strangeness. Are you new to Katamari and wondering what Katamari is all about? It’s about Katamari. The narrative is literally about that. Katamari Damacy was really popular, so everyone is asking the King of All Cosmos to give them more.
So, as usual, he sends his son to give the people what they want.
This is actually a slight step down from the previous game’s story, in which the King of All Cosmos gets drunk and destroys the universe. To make up for this, we’re occasionally given vignettes of the King of All Cosmos growing up. His rebellious phase, his first romance, and even his relationship with his abusive father. It’s, uh, more charming than it sounds.
The game itself involves rolling a ball over garbage. As you amass trash, your ball of filth grows, allowing you to suck up more refuse. There are different objectives to this, such as trying to amass fireflies.
The absolute best is one stage where you roll a sumo wrestler over food until he’s heavy enough to defeat his opponent. Humans and animals don’t count as food, but just try and tell me that it won’t become your priority to get your sumo-man big enough to absorb people. Truly, the real appeal of Katamari is to amass a wad of catastrophe to devastate the world with.
We Love Katamari Reroll+ is definitely the best way to do this. But not by a lot.
It’s in higher definition, and it runs real well. It’s less blurry. Weirdly, though, smaller objects still pop in, which is just more noticeable in high definition. I don’t know how to illustrate this anymore clearly. This is absolutely the same game. The extra content is just kind of there.
But you know what? That’s a win. We Love Katamari is still a timeless and terrific game. A spit shine is really all that it needed to get me excited to play it again. If you’ve never played it before, you definitely should. If you have, it’s everything you loved about the PS2 release but less blurry. It’s one of the few games that allows you to weaponize a sumo wrestler to absorb bystanders on the street, and that’s very important.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]