Game Recs

You need to play the most relaxing puzzle game ever before it leaves Xbox Game Pass

Unlike anything you've ever played in the best way possible.

We’ve always had a love affair with the stars. Our ancestors gazed up at the night sky and created myths to make sense of all that wonder. We do the same thing, but use telescopes and call it science. We don’t have much use for myths as a result. They’re seen as old, quaint stories, not a living, breathing narrative. But what would a new myth look like? Would it be as charming?

Yes and yes. Katamari Damacy: Reroll is as close as we’ll get to experiencing a myth in real-time. And like any good tall tale it’s equal parts simple and bizarre. You’re the prince of the cosmos, tasked with rolling around a katamari ( a big, sticky ball) to collect junk. You give the junk to your father, who accidentally broke all the stars in the sky and needs the junk to build replacements. What?

If you’re looking for a cohesive celestial father-son epic in the vein of God of War, keep looking. Katamari Damacy: Reroll takes its ridiculous premise and rolls with it (pun intended). The aesthetics are somewhere between a psychedelic fever dream and Office Space. The Prince rolls the katamari around, picking up mundane household objects from paper clips and mahjong tiles working his way up to appliances and cars.

And on the eighth day, God asked you to smush up some deck chairs so he could use them to make gas giants.Bandai Namco

Katamari Damacy: Reroll is a game that thrives on solid fundamentals. Controlling the katamari takes some practice. The controls are nuanced, but not necessarily intuitive. It would’ve been possible to make a simpler game with Super Monkey Ball style analog controls where you just push the sticks and that’s it. Instead, you have to work both analog sticks in tandem, and must reposition The Prince often so that you’re moving as efficiently as possible.

If this sounds annoying, it kind of is at first. The game is so bright and colorful and fun you just want it to be this super easy thing. It doesn’t take long to adjust though, and as the difficulty increases you begin to appreciate the little bit of challenge the controls deliver. Don’t misunderstand, Katamari Damacy: Reroll is not a hard game. It takes about five hours to finish (triple that if you’re doing completionist things) but the katamari is wonky enough that the challenge keeps you engaged.

This is a game for every person who combined playdough with floor debris as a child.Bandai Namco

The challenge is dictated by two things: the size of the katamari and the time you have to make it. Each level begins with a diameter goal, say 3 meters, and a set amount of time to reach it. If you hit your target before time runs out you keep playing until it does so you can run up your score. This is where the real fun happens because the katamari is all about momentum.

Run into something thats too big and you bounce off and lose a little mass. But get bigger and come back and suddenly that pesky soup can is part of the katamari now. The last few minutes of a level can get absolutely wild as you start ripping things off the walls and ground that seemed like permanent fixtures before. The bumpy, lumpy wobble of the katamari begins to feel more chaotic as it becomes harder and harder to control.

Bigger is better.Bandai Namco

Katamari Damacy: Reroll is absolutely worth your time. It doesn’t ask much. There’s no big lore dump to get through, just some very quirky scenes with the nonsensical King of the Cosmos and some of the most addictive video game music you’ll hear anywhere. Like any good myth, it doesn’t make perfect sense. But you’ll never look at the night sky the same way again.

Katamari Damacy: Reroll is available on Xbox Game Pass until July 31. Its also available for purchase on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and PC.

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