Kata­mari Da­macy REROLL

Kata­mari Da­macy REROLL fi­nally brings a cult clas­sic to PC.

PC GAMER (UK) - - CONTENTS - Ata­mari Da­macy By Philippa Warr

Kis ridicu­lous. It’s a vast amount of good ridicu­lous, with a smat­ter­ing of bad ridicu­lous, which serves to re­mind you that it’s a game that’s very much from a pre­vi­ous con­sole era. You, the mi­nus­cule Prince of the Cos­mos, must help your fa­ther, the in­cred­i­bly buff King of the Cos­mos (also un­sub­tly well-en­dowed thanks to a pair of spray-on trousers) re­pair the night sky.

There is no proph­esy to ful­fil, no mon­ster to thwart. In­stead, the sky was ru­ined by your fa­ther par­ty­ing a lit­tle too hard the pre­vi­ous night and now he’s grumpily press­ing you into ser­vice to fix it.

If you stop to ex­am­ine the story, it’s pretty bleak. The King treats his son ter­ri­bly, gets out-of-con­trol drunk, and won’t face up to his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. But

Kata­mari Da­macy isn’t a moral les­son or an ex­plo­ration of that ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s an ab­sur­dist roll-’em-up. The King is a tod­dler, di­rect­ing your mis­sions, and the Prince is a si­lent cur­sor which you use to push a ball in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions around the world.

The Kata­mari se­ries’ whole schtick is us­ing a knob­bly ball – a kata­mari – to col­lect stuff. You start off rolling the ball over draw­ing pins, caramels, stamps and other doo­dads, adding each one to the ball. As you ac­cu­mu­late this mix­ture of trea­sure and trash, the kata­mari gets larger and can start to roll up even big­ger ob­jects. A snail which ear­lier in the level sent me fly­ing is now jammed in

amongst the mess with the pen­cils, mag­nets and cher­ries.

While your ini­tial out­ing starts with match­sticks and coins as the fod­der for your ball, by level five you’ve skipped for­ward to quail eggs and nine-volt bat­ter­ies, and by level nine it’s hams and kids’ wellies.

The main mis­sions all take a sim­i­lar form; roll a cer­tain size kata­mari to re­pair a star and then spend the rest of the level’s time limit be­com­ing as large as pos­si­ble. I par­tic­u­larly love spot­ting weird sce­nar­ios be­fore I roll them up – two crabs with water pis­tols hav­ing a stand­off on the porch was one, the me­chan­i­cal mon­key­with-cym­bal ensem­ble was an­other.

In­ter­spersed with these are the con­stel­la­tion mis­sions where you have to ful­fil a themed ob­jec­tive. In the Pisces mis­sion it’s rolling up as many fish as pos­si­ble, in Cancer it’s crabs, and in Cygnus it’s swans. Tau­rus and Ursa Ma­jor are trick­ier. In these you need to col­lect just one cow (or bear) but you want it to be the largest pos­si­ble. That means col­lect­ing ob­jects for a big kata­mari while avoid­ing rolling over any­thing cow (or bear) re­lated un­til you’re large enough to take on your tar­get. I hate these mis­sions be­cause it’s not just the ac­tual crea­ture you need to avoid. In the case of Tau­rus, you also need to dodge car­tons of milk and signs which are protest­ing against cows be­cause they both have cow print on them.

All of the lev­els are re­playable so you can retry them over and over again to beat your own scores. They have gen­er­ous time lim­its so it’s not the fran­tic score-beat­ing you get in some games, it’s far more sooth­ing.

The lev­els are re­playable so you can retry them over and over again

Drop­ping the ball

On the neg­a­tive side I have a short list of gripes: the two-player bat­tle mode is bor­ing as hell. You have to go through the tu­to­rial be­fore you can fid­dle with the res­o­lu­tion, so on a mod­ern mon­i­tor you’re stuck with a win­dowed dis­play un­til then. I also couldn’t switch to a con­troller un­til I got past the tu­to­rial and the key­board con­trols are… re­ally quite some­thing. I mean, for a speed boost you need to al­ter­nately tap W+K and S+I quickly. I re­ally do not ad­vise us­ing the key­board con­trols.

I mostly felt the game’s age when­ever gen­der popped up, though. There’s a Virgo level where you col­lect maidens and en­cy­clo­pe­dia de­scrip­tions of men and women hinge around out­dated stereo­types – a wo­man di­et­ing for a bikini body, and men ban­ished from the house for golf prac­tice.

These gripes aside, Kata­mari Da­macy still feels fresh and fun. It’s weird in a way that doesn’t feel forced and the joy of rolling up a cat which pre­vi­ously tow­ered above you, watch­ing its lit­tle legs kick­ing about, is as pure now as it was in 2004.

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