I’ll never forget the first time I played a Katamari game. I was simultaneously weirded out and horribly intrigued. While the series stopped getting new releases over a decade ago, I’ve still harboured a lot of love for it. We Love Katamari REROLL + Royal Reverie is another remaster, much like the one the first game received. However, this port is notably better and, more importantly, the game easily stands the test of time as one of the strangest, most creative games that has ever been released.
If you’ve never played a game in the series, you play as the Prince of All Cosmos, who is charged by his father, The King of All Cosmos, to go cause mayhem by using a sticky ball to roll up anything and everything. Your main goal? Create enough of these to roll up the Sun. It also has cutscenes detailing the King’s backstory. Why are you really rolling things up? Because of memories or something. Listen, it doesn’t matter. Just hum the songs and do ridiculous things.
While the first game’s levels mostly just focused on the core gameplay loop of rolling up items to increase the size of the Katamari (to then roll up even larger items), We Love Katamari REROLL + Royal Reverie’s levels focus more on gimmicks. You’ll build a bonfire, a snowman, gather fireflies to help a student study, and even roll a sumo wrestler to food to fatten him up to beat his rival. There’s an enormous amount of variety in the game that never really lets up.
Of course, there are more typical levels where your main goal is to simply roll everything up, including people, cars, buildings, and more. The challenge primarily comes from the fact that levels are timed, sometimes fairly strictly.
“Whether you’re a fan or getting your roll on for the first time, there’s plenty to love and enjoy in We Love Katamari REROLL + Royal Reverie.”
The port here is solid, offering an uncapped framerate, whereas the first REROLL’s animations were mostly capped at 30 fps. It’s a substantial difference. On PC, the mouse cursor is constantly visible, which is somewhat vexing, but far from a big deal. The game offers either the standard dual-stick controls or simplified ones that allow you to rotate the camera via the right stick. You can also play with a keyboard only, although I definitely don’t recommend this.
The game doesn’t take all that long to complete, but if you want to complete levels with higher scores and the like, it can take a lot longer. The game’s difficulty also varies considerably, with most levels being easy enough to complete on your first try while others (looking at you, campfire) require some route planning.
As for the Royal Reverie itself, it’s a handful of new scenarios (using existing levels) where you play as the young King of All Cosmos who follows the orders of his father, which is neat to see as a longtime fan. One of these scenarios lasts only a single minute, and the others mostly feel familiar, although one offers a fun permutation on the main game’s racing level. My least favourite is one where you have to roll up five instruments while avoiding ghosts in the school at night. Touch a ghost, and you have to restart the whole level. It’s probably my least favourite scenario in the entire game.
Whether you’re a fan or getting your roll on for the first time, there’s plenty to love and enjoy in We Love Katamari REROLL + Royal Reverie. The port is solid, the high framerate is a joy, and the game itself remains as quirky and enjoyable as it ever was. There are some issues here and there with the sound (some are improperly synced, don’t loop correctly, or are missing), but everything else is above board, and there’s just nothing else out there quite like this game. Hopefully, we’ll get a REROLL of Beautiful Katamari next.