TA Playlist Wrap-up: Katamari Damacy Reroll

The TA Playlist Team - July 12th 2022

Welcome back to another month of TA Playlist, the monthly gaming club for the TrueAchievements community. For June, we reached out to the winners of the GTASC (Great TrueAchievement Score Challenge) to nominate some games that helped them dominate the competition.

The result was a bit of a different mix of games than we might typically expect for the Playlist… games with less focus on narrative, but with some higher-ratio achievements that helped bump up the scores of the GTASC competitors. The winner, which rolled to an easy 44.12% victory in the poll, was Katamari Damacy Reroll.

Katamari was nominated by PRTM CLUESCROL, one of the members of “Is This Team Casually Winning?”, which took first place in the team event with a combined overall total of 1,060,478 TAD over the course of the competition. PRTM CLUESCROL finished in second place in individual scoring, with an impressive 372,841 TAD, some of which came from Katamari Damacy Reroll.

Charming, humourous and very fun, this game will rope you in quick with its addictive (in my opinion) gameplay. An insanely good soundtrack and full of personality. Rolling all items might look extremely daunting but it's honestly a full roll around the entire time.
Katamari Damacy was originally published in 2004 by Namco for the PlayStation 2, and became a surprise hit due to its novel gameplay, simple controls, and quirky story. Actually, “quirky” may be putting it a bit mildly…
Flumptigan said:
Absolutely bonkers in a good way
That’s probably more on point. You play as the Little Prince, the 5-cm-tall hammer-headed son of the King of All Cosmos. The King apparently had a bad night and accidentally destroyed the moon, stars, and constellations that make up the cosmos. Rather than fix things himself, though, the King sends his diminutive son to fix the problem.

In order to recreate the celestial objects, the prince must take a sticky ball called a katamari down to Earth, and roll the ball around through various levels. Anything smaller than the ball will stick to it, causing the ball to grow. At first you can only pick up small objects like thumbtacks and ants, but as the ball grows, you can collect larger and larger objects.
Lanceride said:

I just want to gush for a moment about how immensely satisfying I find it to start out with a tiny katamari rolling up small objects and working over the course of 20 minutes to grow it at an exponentially increasing speed until you're rolling up people, then cars, then buildings, then the very islands and mountains those buildings rest on. It's a lovely journey, especially when accompanied by such vivid colours and lively music.
Katamari Damacy (which translates literally to “clump spirit”) was initially conceived by Keita Takahashi, who was working for Namco as a graphic artist at the time. Since he was an artist, not a developer, it took some doing to bring the game from the concept phase to active development, and he eventually brought the project to the Namco Digital Hollywood Game Laboratory, a development school run by Namco to train future video game artists and developers. As part of a class project, the students at the school designed many of the 3D models that eventually populated the game world. Humble origins for a game that would eventually spawn a franchise encompassing more than a dozen sequels, spin-offs, and remakes.
Allgorhythm said:
It’d be nice to get We Love Katamari remastered as well. Takahashi had to fight an uphill battle with the first game. It had a small team mostly of students. The sequel was just the reverse. It had a large team of experienced members. Takahashi didn’t even want to lead the sequel being against sequels in principle but eventually succumbed.

Even after Katamari Damacy was in active development, Takahashi had to continually resist pressure to add more complexity to the gameplay and stick with the simple concept he envisioned. He wanted the game to focus on four core concepts: novelty, ease of understanding, enjoyment, and humour, and most of the commenters in our forums seemed to feel that Takahashi achieved that goal.
Jaigoro said:

Great game. Relaxing and stressful at the same time.
ASUnknown1 said:
What a slice of mad genius this game is. Very creative and off-kilter whilst also having intuitive gameplay that you can get the hang of in no time. And you have to give special mention to the soundtrack which is just a joy to listen to; more than providing the perfect backdrop to the wackiness on-screen, it's also legitimately great music that comfortably works outside the context of the game, not something you can say often about video game soundtracks in my opinion.
The music was indeed one of the game’s highlights, earning multiple “Soundtrack of the Year 2004” awards. There are a mix of different tracks with a bouncy, Japanese-pop aesthetic known as shibuya-kei, popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The Noto said:
Four days since I last played the game and I still found myself humming level themes while getting ready for work this morning.
With such a quirky and unique concept, though, it’s no surprise that the game didn’t exactly click with everybody in our forums:
HawkeyeBarry20 said:
Very odd game and not particularly enjoyable for me. The only difficulty is fighting the controls. I can only play a level or two at a time and then all I want to do is turn it off. I've read a bit about the grinding needed for the final achievement and I'm definitely not looking forward to it.
Cylon 118 said:
This is one of the strangest games I have ever played! Having fun with it but having a really hard time getting on with the controls even with the simple controls on. I mean why does the camera not rotate with the right stick like nearly every other game I have ever played in third person!
The controls were a point of consternation for several gamers in our forums, although others felt that the control scheme was integral to the experience.
Lanceride said:
It's because the game purposefully has a kind of "tank controls", wherein both sticks must be used together to properly move the ball. It would have no challenge or real sense of momentum if the ball just rolled wherever you moved the left stick. Instead, you use the sticks in tandem, pushing them both in the same direction to move in that direction, and pushing them in different directions to turn yourself. It's not an easy control system, but once you get it down, it tends to be pretty consistent. The dash is the only thing that is truly finicky from a control standpoint.
Aside from the sometimes wonky controls, the biggest complaint about Katamari Damacy Reroll had to do with achievements, specifically the final achievement of the game, King of Katamari Damacy. This achievement requires you to collect all 1438 objects in the game, and while most of the objects are easy to find in the normal course of completing the levels, there are a few that are hidden out of the way or are only available in certain levels, which will probably require you to go searching them out after you’ve completed the rest of the game. But there are two objects in particular that make getting this achievement a more significant challenge.
Trombonafide said:
Oh man catching the Kintaro Bear and the special giant cow took me longer than most of the other levels combined. I don’t miss that aspect of the game. Loved everything else though.
I Like Drinkin said:
I'm currently going for full completion, collecting cousins at the moment. Still, the thought of having to carefully play Taurus for that stupid cow haunts me...going all the way back to the days of the PS2, when I rolled everything just to do it.
The problem with the Taurus and Ursa Major levels is that they’re actually easy to complete… too easy. You simply need to roll up any cow (on Taurus) or any bear (on Ursa Major) to complete the level. However, there is one item in each level that appears only there, and only after you’ve grown your katamari ball to a certain size, which means you have to carefully roll your way through the level avoiding all the objects that you could accidentally pick up to complete the level.
I can’t count how many times I accidentally bounced off a wall or hit a car and rolled the wrong way, picking up the wrong object and ending the level before I could get those final two items. It's no surprise that many gamers give up before getting all the objects, resulting in King of Katamari Damacy's whopping 8.60 TA Ratio, compared to the game's overall ratio of just 3.44 (console version).

ManicMetalhead said:

I have that last achievement to get for collecting everything, but I'm really not sure if I want to do it [laugh]

Osmo76 said:
Fun concept, but those two levels (bear and especially cow) and a few items kinda made the experience more painful than it needed to be.
ASUnknown1 said:
In terms of the completion, it's nice and simple for the bulk of the list, but it's obviously that King of Katamari Damacy achievement, which requires some serious effort. Not really something I'd describe as hard (other than getting that damn Kintaro Bear; the cow level I found significantly easier in comparison), it just took following a bunch of Youtube videos and different lists for me to try and get it done efficiently. It can definitely be quite a slog at times, but the ratio makes it seem like a more extreme task than it really is, trust me!
As we saw with LIMBO last month, though, most gamers in our forums who were willing to push through the one difficult and frustrating achievement came out feeling pretty good about the game afterwards.
The Noto said:
And I finally finished! Such a great sense of satisfaction with this one. I'm almost tempted to do the Windows stack. But I just don't think I want to try getting those bears again anytime soon. Katamari Damacy really rides the balance between joy and frustration. It was only just barely starting to wear out its welcome as I completed the collectables. They should remaster We Love Katamari next — and make a new game. Come on, Namco. Give it up!
Given the difficulty of that last achievement, it’s no surprise that only 39 gamers managed to complete Katamari Damacy Reroll this month – 30 from the Xbox version and nine for the Windows stack. That’s a fairly low number, but it’s actually a pretty decent showing when you consider that’s almost 7% of the total number of tracked gamers on TA who’ve completed the game. To date, there are only 582 completions out of more than 38,000 tracked gamers across both versions.

During June, a total of 1,190 tracked gamers earned at least one achievement in Katamari Damacy Reroll, with the vast majority of those gamers (850) starting the game for the first time (although several said they played the original PlayStation 2 version in the past). A total of 6,237 achievements were unlocked in June, earning 224,910 Gamerscore and 457,780 TrueAchievement Score for the month (a TA ratio of 2.04).

Of the 39 people who completed the game this month, more than half also started the game in June, earning themselves a spot on this month’s shout-out list. 17 gamers played the console version from start to finish, while three gamers tackled the Windows version. Special shout-outs go to TheVicVoss, who was the only player to fully complete both versions during June; ASUnknown1, who was the first to earn their spot on the shout-out list, starting the game on June 1st and completing it on June 3rd; and Geoffistopheles, who earned the fastest tracked completion time at just 16 hours and five minutes from first unlock to last.

So, where do we stand after our month of ball rolling and item collecting? It’s clear this game wasn’t exactly for everyone, but for most of those who chimed in, Katamari’s eccentric characters and simple concept provided a unique experience compared to many other games. Hopefully, you found something to enjoy, even if the game wasn’t exactly your cup of tea.
RiBoP said:

Never played the Katamari games and honestly didn't know what to expect except for what is also mentioned by some others: crazy/whacky gameplay. Must say the last thing is definitely true but after playing the first few levels I am not yet too crazy about this game myself. Perhaps it will come though.
Anyway, a good choice for a TA Playlist game as the game is obviously unknown to quite a few here and the game is recommended by quite a few others. To me, that's also something TA Playlist is about: exploring some new games or returning to hidden gems from the past! [smile]
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves, RiBoP! As always, we want to thank everyone who participated this month, either by unlocking achievements in the games or by commenting in the forums (or both)! The July playlist is well underway with this month’s underwater-themed game, SOMA, so feel free to drop by this month’s Spoiler-Free and Spoiler Discussion Threads to let us know how your thoughts as you explore the murky depths of the PATHOS-II research station. We’ll see you there!
Thanks to BetaSigX20 for writing this awesome Wrap-up!

Track My Progress in Katamari Damacy Reroll