We Love Katamari might be the perfect video game sequel. Dialing just about every beloved mechanic and detail from the first game up to 11, all while ditching some of Katamari Damacy’s less beloved aspects, it’s no surprise that this entry is the fan favorite. For better and worse, its re-release, We Love Katamari REROLL + Royal Reverie, asks you the question, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” With a handful of remixed levels, crisp HD graphics, and a smattering of quality-of-life features, Reroll + does its best to avoid stepping on the original’s toes while bringing the nearly 20-year-old game into the present day in clean, vibrant HD.
That new facelift might actually be We Love Katamari Reroll’s most significant addition. That’s not to say that the game didn’t look great back on PS2. In fact, its visuals have aged remarkably well compared to many of its contemporaries. It’s just that compared to modern consoles the PS2’s color palette and graphical capabilities lend a dim, washed-out look to even the brightest, most vibrantly multicolored games. Anyone who played the original back in the day might be shocked to hear that, but even a cursory search or glance at a Let’s Play might surprise you.
Jumping 18 years and roughly two-and-a-half console generations into the future, the difference is staggering. Even on a non-OLED, launch edition Switch, We Love Katamari’s rainbow shines with bright colors that pop almost as much as the game’s charming writing and absolutely incredible soundtrack.
For the uninitiated, We Love Katamari is the second game in the Katamari Damacy franchise. Introduced on PlayStation 2 back in 2004, Katamari Damacy made waves thanks to its eclectic soundtrack, kooky writing, visual design, and genre-defying gameplay. Your father, who also happens to be a flamboyant god, the King Of All Cosmos, has a bit too much fun and drunkenly destroys the stars in the sky. It’s up to you to repopulate the night sky with new stars. To do so, you’re tasked with rolling up everything on Earth, which is the entire gameplay loop of the Katamari franchise. Think of it like a dung beetle rolling its ball of… well, you know; or a snowball rolling down a hill. As your ball (or Katamari) grows, you can pick up bigger and bigger items. You might start rolling up ants or pencils and end up collecting entire continents.
The proof here really is in the pudding: while it doesn’t sound all that special, an indelible sense of scale and progression permeates every single challenge before you. Before you know it, the game’s kinetic nature will have you hooked as you jam out to some of the best soundtracks in the pantheon of video games.
Like 2018's Katamari Damacy Reroll, this rerelease doesn’t touch or take away from anything that makes the game great. It still feels great to roll up all sorts of weird odds and ends, people, animals, and the occasional cousin, which serve as additional playable characters. The soundtrack is still a banger for the ages (too right we're mentioning it again — it really is that good), the writing is laugh-out-loud funny and tinged with some clever commentary on what it means to be a sequel, and a number of challenge levels add some welcome diversity to the types of levels you'll encounter as you roll up everything in sight.
Beyond some sharp new visuals, this punched-up remaster does roll a few new features into the mix. The biggest get comes in the form of five “new” levels; the titular Royal Reverie. These additional challenges aren’t exactly what we’d hoped. None of them are bad by any means, but they’re all remixed versions of existing levels, and some are just straight-up reskins of challenges from the main game. While the act of rolling up a Katamari will always scratch an itch not quenched by many other games, anyone expecting wholly new levels might wind up a bit disappointed.
It’s a tough spot for remaster developer Monkeycraft to be in. On one hand, without the involvement of the original game’s development team, wholly new levels would be a big ask and could very easily lead to backlash from fans if they weren’t up to snuff. On the other, this re-release prominently boasts its new levels. Again, these entries are still great fun, but they’re not entirely as new as the marketing for Reroll + Royal Reverie would have you believe.
Other welcome additions vastly improve the game’s quality of life, however. You can create playlists with your favorite tunes to jam out to while rolling. There’s also a new hint feature that makes progression much easier, especially for newcomers who haven’t nailed the ebb and flow of a Katamari level.
In rounding off Katamari Damacy’s rougher edges and upping the ante with more diverse mechanics and challenges, even goofier writing, and a terrific soundtrack, We Love Katamari cemented itself as a high watermark for video game sequels in 2005. Even without the remaster treatment, the game’s maintained its luster remarkably well but Reroll + Royal Reverie is (an admittedly thin layer of) icing on an already decadent cake. With a number of solid quality-of-life updates and sharper, brighter visuals, this is undeniably the best way to experience the 2005 classic.