We Love Katamari REROLL+ Royal Reverie – PS5 Review

We have to confess being a little nervous about (deep breath) We Love Katamari REROLL+ Royal Reverie. For whatever reason, its PS4 predecessor Katamari Damacy REROLL didn’t feel right. Perhaps it was the fact it didn’t particularly work for us with the Dualshock 4. At any rate, We Love Katamari REROLL feels much more at home via DualSense on PS5.

The original We Love Katamari came out on PS2 in NTSC territories in mid-2005 with as PAL release in February the following year. The PAL release was probably more significant as the original Katamari Damacy didn’t make it to PAL countries, unlike its contemporary Animal Crossing on Gamecube. Though that took three damn years to make it to the UK. This reviewer resorted to a Freeloader and an NTSC copy. So good. Anyway, we digress a little.

Being one of the few PS2 owners that didn’t resort to a modchip or imports, we grasped our copy of We Love Katamari and for a short time became as a big an evangelist for Keita Takahashi’s masterwork as we are of parkrun fifteen plus years later. Yes, we confess, we’re a running bore too. All until the fateful day we lent it to our mate Dan. Only we never got it back. The relative scarcity of the game meant that it never showed up in piles of discarded PS2 games in charity shops nor at CEX either.

We’re delighted that we can play We Love Katamari again. It’s as bonkers as it ever was and doesn’t feel like the slightly diluted Me and My Katamari on PSP or Katamari Forever on PS3. They were fun enough, but due to Keita going off to design playgrounds in Nottingham (yes, really), the games didn’t feel like they had that uniquely playful quality anymore. Not to mention that Beautiful Katamari on 360 was afflicted by some of the worst possible DLC at the time. The fact that it was impossible to get the standard thousand point Gamerscore without the DLC being a particularly horrible realisation too. Not cool.

This is effectively the same game as we played in 2006 and loved then, with the addition of the Royal Reverie levels. These are where the nascent King of Space is trying to prove he is the worthy successor to the Emperor of Space, his martinet of a father who he can seemingly never please. Sadly there’s a mere five of these levels and barring one where you have to collect wheels, they’re generally very short.

When we originally played the game, we recall one particular fan who you rolled up expensive items for had the mantra “Save the pandas!”. He’d say this repeatedly and it still raises a smile thinking about it. He’s still in this remaster, only he’s mute. No voiceover anymore. It’s a weird omission and we can only imagine its down to a beancounter deciding that text bubbles would be sufficient instead of a few bytes making up a sample. C’mon guys. We get you’re a corporation and you’re out to make profit, but when a game themed around fan service to the original won’t include something that added to the quirkiness in the first place, it seems a weird decision.

The gloriously bonkers King of Space returns as he has in the subsequent Katamari games and he transforms the Katamari you roll up into celestial objects at the end of each stage. Just as we had in 2006, there’s stages where you have to roll up cows or bears (though thankfully not Holy Cow or Kintaro Bear as for an exacting trophy in the first REROLL installment), or flammable items to make a campfire. Or items of increasing size to make an undersized sumo wrestler large enough to see off his opponents.

The trophy set yields a generous haul here and unlike the previous game is more than doable without a huge grind. For example, you only need to roll up two thousand distinct items for one particular trophy, as opposed to every single item in the game. That’s a welcome relief. Generally, apart from the collecting cousins and presents, you’ll likely get most of the trophy set by playing the game without going off the beaten track for obscure objectives. Though the campfire levels remain as exacting as ever and having to roll up every single country in the world to avoid a fiery death by giant meteor can itself die in a fire. Only this time we’ve the incentive to see it through unlike in those halcyon pre-achievement days. Can it be that it was all so simple then.

This wouldn’t be a Bandai Namco joint if there wasn’t some nickel and diming going on. It’s not as egregious as that which we previously mentioned, but when it’s twenty-five music tracks and a bonus costume that is another 60% of the purchase price extra, it feels a bit cynical. We’ve added it to our wishlist to get a notification when it goes on sale, put it that way. Given that the DLC includes Lonely Rolling Star from the first game as included in REROLL that we already own, we’re more inclined to return to that instead. Though the PSP music tracks including the maddeningly catchy Shabadoobie will require us to dig out our old console and hope it still works or resort to YouTube.

These gripes feel secondary to the fact that We Love Katamari REROLL is still bloody good fun. The original game wasn’t the largest and even with the extra content, this isn’t a particularly large offering either. The twenty-five pounds (thirty US dollar) price point is a fair price, especially when you consider the replay value.

In conclusion, this is a great port of the original We Love Katamari and is as great fun now as it was in 2006. The day one music DLC is a bit of a crappy move but it could be worse with lots of cousins only being available that way instead. If you’ll excuse us, we’re off to roll up everything we possibly can.

We Love Katamari REROLL+ Royal Reverie
8 Overall
+ Finally we can play it again after a long break.
+ Madder than a box of frogs and as much fun now as it was in 2006
+ Fair price point
- Day one DLC seems mean spirited rather than clump spirited
- Not the biggest package despite additional content
- Weird omission of character voices
We Love Katamari REROLL+ Royal Reverie is a great remaster of the 2005 original and remains as fun now as it once was. The new levels, while welcome, are a slight addition. Get to it at any rate as it’s still the last Katamari game before Keita Takahashi called it a day with Namco and the series lost the wide eyed innocence it once had.

About Ian

Ian likes his games weird. He loves his Vita even if Sony don't anymore. He joined the PS4 party relatively late, but has been in since day one on PS5.

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