This 2004 PlayStation 2 game enjoyed a re-release in 2018. A university project by Keita Takahashi, Namco took it up and published the thing. And it was a sleeper hit!
Its creator has since set up Funomena in America and is still launching new games—such as the lovable Wattam just the other week.
Katamari Damacy Reroll
Okay, so this is a rather unique and weird one. Very Japanese, you could say, with a focus on kawaii and arbitrary madness.
The plot is really something. The planet-sized King of All Cosmos has a drinking spree and goes on a rampage across the universe, destroying many planets.
With much celestial devastation, the King demands his 5cm tall son go to Earth with a katamari.
It’s a large magical ball he can roll around and smaller things will stick to it.
The goal is to collect enough stuff together so the King of All Cosmos can recreate the universe with the things you find. As you do.
As you roll about creating an ever more massive ball, you must remember to not “collect” any objects larger than you.
Otherwise you’ll bounce back violently and lose a few objects you’ve collected.
The controls are a bit fiddly to begin with, but once you’re up to speed you’re away and rolling about listening to the upbeat music.
It’s a chaotic but controlled experience, kind of like Crazy Taxi on the Dreamcast—in an odd way. There’s an arcade gameplay style as you’re up against the clock each stage.
It’s great fun. Eventually, you end up rolling over huge cities and your katamari is packed with skyscrapers, cows, and pencils. Quite the sight!
Even Alex the Honking Bird‘s son Dominic reckons so.
Na naaa nananananana KATAMARI DOMINIC pic.twitter.com/LSNsv6SB2d
— Alex The Honking Bird (@AlexTheHonk) December 28, 2019
What makes it even more fun is the dialogue. The King of All Cosmos is pretty snappy with you, providing feedback of what you’ve collected.
He’ll often dismiss your findings in comically pompous fashion, suggesting your efforts to clear up his miss are a bit lacklustre. Charming!
We got it on the Nintendo Switch, but it’s also available on your PC—plus PlayStation 2, if you still have yours.
How did such a weird and wonderful game came into existence?
Whilst at Musashino Art University, Keita Takahashi reached a personal philosophy. His projects should embrace practical elements with humour and other fanciful attributes.
He joined Namco as an artist in the late 1990s, but his job wasn’t to come up with game ideas.
A colleague suggested he join Namco’s game development programme. After that, with technical skills to complement his artistic abilities, Takahashi was able to pitch his idea.
And the result is Katamari Damacy—a vibrant, bizarre jaunt based on the popular Japanese school game tamakorogashi. It’s where kids push a massive ball around.
Takahashi has since moved to California and has the Funomena indie game studio running, which has just launched the equally surreal Wattam.