After playing the Klonoa remasters last year I felt pretty underwhelmed by their quality and lack of care, and after hearing that Monkeycraft would be in charge of this too I was pretty concerned. Fortunately, this remaster is definitely a competent way of experiencing the game, even though I have a fair amount of nitpicks.
Graphic quality has overall increased while some of the original artstyle is not maintained nor preserved correctly. Some examples for this are de-strawberrying Ichigo’s body, having an Incorrect lighting at some levels (especially at night and sunset) or changing the default music for some of the levels. This last one isn’t really a problem per se but I don’t really get why bother changing it in the first place. Some of these were really magical to me, like hearing Angel Rain on the flower and firefly stages or hearing Everlasting Love in the F1 stage. The majority of them are the same between the original and Reroll so it isn’t that bad.
I wasn’t expecting much of the new levels either but left me disappointed anyways. These levels being copies of other existing levels with a skin and color pallet change wasn’t the thing I was expecting at all. The only one I enjoyed was the ghost one I’d say.
But still even with all this I had a blast playing it because after all, it’s still the same Katamari game I fell in love, and I really, really fucking love Katamari, and you should too <3.
After so many years of wanting to play this game and I just had to accept that I couldn't play it and my only memory of it was playing the Wii version when I was a 9 year-old, I was so glad to find out that the game was completable in Xenia (outside of a few visual glitches). Still, I’ve played Unleashed Project some time ago and I thought it was outstanding, but that was only (almost) half of the experience.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, since I heard an incredibly high amount of different opinions about every part of this game, and to my surprise, almost none of the major problems everyone has with this game affected my experience in any way. The Werehog being the biggest surprise for me. I found these God of War-esque, exploratory, toned down levels incredibly enjoyable in tandem with the superb boost formula, which I think peaked here.
Big reason for these stages to capture me so much are the visuals and music presentation. Finishing a battle, calming down to take a breath, or just admiring the scenery with the silence that follows for a few seconds, and having the music slowly fade in again is one of the small joys that I found playing this game. There were some levels that this was more prevalent than others, Jungle Joyride Night was the prime example of how breathtaking the visuals of this game can be. A far away corner of the world where the night still has a little bit of spark of light, where the deep blue transforms into a thin purple and you are guided by the torches and green lanterns by the docks and little islands, it feels magical. I stopped more than a few times to just see the beautiful world that Sonic was exploring, and the small platforming bits with cool set-pieces like the clock tower you climb in Rooftop Run or the ice slides of Cool Edge were so fun to experience, I just felt mesmerized by this world. This helped me clear the night stages with almost no medal misses, and I didn’t need to replay any stage to get the requirements, even though I think that's probably me having a collectionist problem of wanting to collect everything in every platformer (I cannot replay Banjo without 100% it again). Still, I think the medals required to beat the game should be lowered, the game wouldn’t suffer from it.
Although I wanted to stop and explore the world with the Werehog stages, I didn’t want to stop at all in the day stages. 7th gen aesthetics are at its prime here and it shows, even if the frame rate was sacrificed for it. Every shader possible applied to every piece of terrain making ShinyGrass™ or ShinyRock™ , the primitive real time shadows, the comically high amount of bloom and blur, I just found it cozy and weirdly nostalgic, even having never owned a 360 or a PS3. I doubt I have something interesting that hasn’t been said about these levels, but I still want to say that these are the most fun I had with a Sonic game in a veeeery long time. I'm still on the way to beat every day stage in S rank but the few I've done made me wish this ranking system was present in more boost games.
The biggest pillar of the game is definitely the music. It’s more than obvious that this game’s music is something special, with every piece crafted with an extremely unique vibe that matches the part of the world it tries to represent with a unique twist, this truly is something special. The bossa-nova flair mixed with DnB of Windmill Isle Day with clear blue skies and white and blue greek architecture, the trance induced tropical track of Jungle Joyride Day running across the bluest-est water I’ve seen in a game with falling ruins, the punk rock violin of Rooftop Run Day grinding a rail to the bottom of the clock tower while having a 360º view of all of Spagonia. This game is such a vibe man. The night stages are not far behind the quality of the day stages, giving these cozy, smooth jazzy tunes like the acid jazz groove of Windmill Isle Night or Savannah Citadel Night, or the powerful bass and tubular bells of Cool Edge Night with its shiny blue ice illuminating the cold frozen lands. I just love this soundtrack to death and enhanced a TON my overall experience and it clearly wouldn’t be the same without it. Shoutouts to Endless Possibility for being one of the best vocal themes in all of Sonic and almost making me cry upon hearing it because it made me come back 9 years ago to when I finished Unleashed Wii and hearing it over and over on Youtube.
I obviously have some nitpicks about the game, like Eggmanland being kind of underwhelming and weirdly designed and also too long if you don't know the stage beforehand, or Tails and Amy disappearing from the story despite being there at all times. But I don’t really mind them, this is a clear case of the positives outweighing the negatives by a long mile, at least for me.
This is one of the most important pieces of media I’ve experienced in a long time, blasting with style and soul in every corner of its rough edges, crusted by the media at the time of its release and held together thanks to a passion for the blue blur.
Thank you, Sonic,
I really REALLY didn't think i would like this at all. after just having played sonic's story and dropping it there cause ive been told that the rest sucks, years later i started it again and fell in love with the overall vibe and aesthetic. even though i see every problem that it has i just want to embrace it with love, because i really do see the love that the devs had in this project and that love and care that i feel it has doesn't match with the quality of the final product. we could say the same with a lot of 3d sonics but yeah i can see crystal clear why a lot of people hate this game, but i really fuck with it.