Review: We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie

Is Katamari Damacy really that fun? That always seemed to be the age-old question regarding Namco’s ridiculously-eccentric sleeper hit. The way Katamari exploded in underground popularity led to the franchise’s continued success, and subsequent sequels. With a resurgence of the original Katamari title in 2018 with Katamari Damacy Reroll, the series is back to continue its oddball streak with a remaster of the sequel: We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie. This newly-enhanced version of the second Katamari title spruces up everything from aesthetics to gameplay content, and more. The inclusion of five new challenges starring a young King of All Cosmos, a new selfie mode with unlockable frames and filters, a new Eternal Mode for play without time limits in certain levels and overall quality-of-life improvements elevate this title past its original release. Where the original 2005 We Love Katamari felt like more of the same with limited replay value, this remaster is packed full of extra story and secrets to keep the fun rolling for a long time after the game ends. Now when the King of All Cosmos asks, “Is Katamari Damacy actually fun?,” we can say that it absolutely is.

We Love Katamari plays heavily upon the success of the first title, with this sequel’s plot revolving around the King of All Cosmos and his surprise that there are so many Katamari fans on Earth. Seeking to fulfill the wishes of these hardcore fans, the King asks that his son and various cousins assist with rolling Katamaris for humans. As you assist the many fans around the world, you’re treated to a secondary story that details the life of the King of All Cosmos and his relationship with his father. In a story as old as time, you see that the King has gone through his own set of parental issues — which explains his lackadaisical attitude towards his son and a continued cycle of fatherly disappointment. It’s a sequence of events that gives us laughter, tears and the occasional “aww” moment. This Reroll version of the title now dives deeper into the King’s backstory as each new story chapter unlocks additional content. The introduction of new side missions where you play as a young King help bridge the title’s story and gameplay — something that was missing in the original release. While these extra levels have no relationship with the main story, it’s still a nice addition for extra lore and fun when you can roll around as a diminutive King. If anything, some of these extra levels can be used for training purposes to help acclimate you to the ever-interesting gameplay mechanics.

The controls of Katamari can seem perplexing at first, especially with how busy the background can feel with all the shenanigans occurring, and even more still if you’ve never played a Katamari game. With We Love Katamari, there’s an increase of the ever-bizarre complexities by adding in a multiplayer mode so you can now drag loved ones, or enemies, into a versus couch co-op. While co-op feels just as fun as its original version, there still isn’t a lot of map variety or variety in competitive objectives so gameplay can feel redundant until the story is progressed to unlock more maps. This was a criticism of its original release, but We Love Katamari did bring fresh ideas to the franchise by introducing varied objectives. Where the first title had us rolling up Katamari to certain sizes, this sequel introduced rolling Katamari to collect certain objects or rolling them for various purposes. Now it was no longer about how big you could get the Katamari, you also had to fulfill a secondary objective as well. While a tutorial level helps players acclimate to gameplay, the side stories featuring the young King provide extra challenges for players that wish to finesse their skills while also giving opportunity to gather new collectibles.

New side levels aren’t the only extra additions, as there are extra collectibles and modes that come with this remaster. The hunt for aesthetic pieces and playable NPC cousins is still there, but extra secrets have also been added. For the completionists out there, the new selfie mode creates ample opportunity for players to get perfect angles of their Katamari character and the bizarre environmental goings-on. A new photo rally feature allows us to take pictures and collect various stickers of different Namco characters placed throughout all stages.

Taking a selfie with the sticker fills your photo book and allows you to unlock new frames and filters to play with. Continuing the way of most contemporary titles, the addition of personalization through photo modes gives players a unique layer to their experience. It also gives the treasure hunters out there something more to look for beyond the unlockable NPCs and aesthetic outfit changes. The only “downside” to this is that players must find the camera gift out in the world while rolling up Katamari. Throughout all the stages, players can find wrapped presents that yield cosmetic items. Being able to take a selfie, however, is dependent on finding that camera. It’s truly not the most difficult thing, as there’s a present on every level and levels are replayable so you can always go back and get any missing collectibles. In addition to graphical and visual overhauls, this version of We Love Katamari feels more robust than its original release.

But the new additions to We Love Katamari don’t stop here, as the satisfaction of Katamari rolling can go indefinitely with the return of Eternal Mode. Readers, have you ever been in the middle of rolling the fattest Katamari but suddenly the timer is about to run out just as you gain the ability to roll up an ocean liner? It’s a hard come down from the rush of being able to roll up an entire continent into a ball. Yet the return of Eternal Mode, never seen before in We Love Katamari, gives players the freedom to take as long as they want to roll up as much as they’d like…but only in certain levels. Just as in its franchise predecessor, there are a handful of levels that allow players to take as long as they wish to roll up a Katamari without limits, but the addition of this to We Love Katamari now puts the sequel on par with the first title. Still, it’s mildly disappointing that Bandai Namco hasn’t created a separate mode that’s just eternally rolling Katamari. This change, however, allows us to relish in We Love Katamari even more without having to constantly speed through the title – as was the case with its original version.

Closing Comments:

Oh Katamari, what a vibrant collection of randomness you are. From a funky soundtrack to colorfully-vibrant aesthetics and even its irreverent humor, it’s a game that’s never boring with all the objectives and secrets it offers. We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie is a great remaster of its original title, while still bringing something new to the game. Fresh secrets and collectibles entice players to roll around over and over for completion. Updated sound and visuals keep Katamari as vibrant as ever, while also looking better than ever. Newly-implemented UI elements that help you navigate the world create an ease of access for play. It’s now a nice assistance to see objective indicators appear when time is running low instead of having to waste precious seconds searching the map. These changes in addition to the Royal Reverie training missions elevates the title to be more than just a repeat of Katamari Damacy. While limited options in multiplayer and eternal modes hinder the variety, it doesn’t make Katamari any less addicting in its chaotic absurdity.

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