Touch My Katamari

touch-my-katamari-box-art
8 Overall Score

Lots for Katamari fans | Stretching and squeezing Katamari adds something new

Touch controls are a mixed bag | Not a lot different from other Katamari games

Written by on March 15, 2012 in [, , , , , , , ]

It’s been eight years since the King of All Cosmos first gave his son a Sisyphus complex in the original Katamari Damacy game. Now the Prince is rolling his way onto the PlayStation Vita, courtesy of the appropriately (albeit somewhat suggestively) named Touch My Katamari from Namco Bandai. But is there still enough momentum to keep this Katamari rolling forward, or is it time for the franchise to pull a Dick Van Patten and say, “Eight is Enough!”?

Touch My Katamari starts off with a young boy being told the about how a cosmic accident (and certainly NOT the King of All Cosmos getting hammered after wild party) once caused all the stars to be wiped from the sky, and how the King of All Cosmos (and certainly NOT his overworked and underappreciated son, the Prince) collected all kinds of random materials and magically turned them into new stars. When the boy starts to question if just how “awesome” the King of All Cosmos is, the King overhears and decides to wonder if he’s gotten complacent over the years. Of course, the King blames the Prince for this and sends him out to roll up brand new Katamari to appease lapsed fans.

Waitaminute … “appease lapsed fans”?? Do I detect a hint of self-referential humor? I think I do. Hmmm …

Moving right along, if you’ve never played any of the Katamari games before, the idea is about as basic as they come. Your goal, as the Prince, is to roll your Katamari (a sort of super sticky ball) around each stage, picking up assorted odds and ends in an effort to get it to a minimum size before time runs out. While you might start off rolling up paper clips and loose change, eventually your Katamari can get large enough to roll up people, cars, buildings, and even small land masses. After each stage, the King scoops up your Katamari, where it is measured, judged, and deemed worthy or wanting before being turned into a new celestial body to impress us mere mortals or blasted into stardust.

One of the unique things about the Katamari franchise is that it’s succeeded in spite of itself. The premise is simple, the plot is like something dreamed up during an LSD acid trip, and the presentation has never been accused of pushing the technological envelope. Somehow, though, everything comes together just right and makes it hard to put down. Short of a few minor tweaks here and there, Touch My Katamari is no different.

As the name would suggest, the most changes in Touch My Katamari involve the use of the Vita’s touch capabilities. In the biggest of these changes, you can use the front or rear touch functions to stretch out or pinch together the Katamari like a ball of dough. This one change makes a world of difference, making it easier to pick up items strung about or to squeeze into some of those tight, hard to reach places. And if you’re feeling particularly touch happy, you can forego the thumbstick controls completely in favor of navigating the Katamari along with their fingers. It’s not exactly the best control scheme, particularly when you try rotating two fingers to turn the camera, but it’s technically functional. Most likely, you’ll find a happy medium using a combination of the Standard or Classic control schemes together with the touch capabilities.

How much you’ll get out of Touch My Katamari is going to be directly related to how much you’ve enjoyed any of the previous games. If you were never a fan, there’s truthfully nothing here that’s going to change your mind. However, if you catch yourself humming the theme song every time you see a beach ball, then Touch My Katamari is definitely your game. It’s more of everything that you’ve seen before in every other Katamari game, but condensed into a travel-sized Vita package.

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Author: David Chapman View all posts by

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