You can Touch my Katamari any day of the week
The Prince returns in a welcomed return of the King of the Cosmos. As always, the quirky story, unique art style and truly original gameplay helps set Touch My Katamari apart from most other games, bringing with it an addictive experience driven by challenging mechanics. Can you help bring order back to the cosmos?
What Touch My Katamari Got Right
Same ol’ quirky Katamari humour - Silly, bubbly and confusing, the story in Touch My Katamari is about as coherent as the gameplay is generic. Just like other games in the Katamari series, this strange tale has plenty of kind-hearted moments, complimented by its fair share of childish humour and mature undertones. As always you will end up in control of the Prince, the King of the Cosmos’ energetic and ever-faithful son, rolling around a ball and collecting anything in your path. Once you reach the minimum size, the ball will be transformed into a star, and only then can the right order be brought back to the Universe.
Yep. Doesn’t make much sense to me either. But it really doesn’t want to. The game is called, “Touch My Katamari” after all, and it’s in its quirkiness that makes the experience so memorable.
Challenging but fun gameplay- The objective generally sounds simple enough: roll a large ball around one of 12 environments collecting as many items as possible, slowly increasing so as to collect larger items. For a majority of the stages you simply move around collecting a whole bunch of everything, while a handful give you set objectives that prove to be a little more challenging. One, for example, dictates that you collect the largest of the cows and bears scattered around the place, a harder task than one might imagine.
While the limited number of unique objectives is disappointing, there are a number of collectibles scattered around each level, including a lost cousin, and your performance will determine what score out of 100 you get from the King. Your score determines your candy count, with candy being the game’s main currency for purchasing new costumes and the like.
Unique design - The Katamari series has never really set out to wow you with its visuals. Instead, it relies on a decisively unique design that is specific to the franchise. Blocked, jagged characters give it a nostalgic retro feel, while scattered items look cool and give the environments a unique feel.
What Touch My Katamari Got Wrong
Over too soon - It’s a shame that there isn’t more of the unique stages to play through. The game doesn’t take very long to finish, and you’ll initially spend most of the time reading through text as the game’s tedious introduction forces you to read the King’s never-ending blabbering. The missions are fun on their own accord, and there is definitely incentive to go back to collect every cousin and curio scattered around the place, but the more challenging objectives mix the experience up enough to make their lacking a disappointment.
Not especially accessible - Touch My Katamari is the first game in the series to use two analog sticks, which certainly makes the gameplay a lot easier than it was on the PSP, but doesn’t fix many of the issues that have plagued other portable versions. The classic setup has both analog sticks acting as the control for the Prince, while the standard control setup has the left stick as the controller and the right as the camera. Neither seem as though they would be especially accessible to newcomers, and often the movement and camera make the experience feel a little stiff. The touch screen allows you to change the shape of the ball, sometimes to fit into certain areas so as to complete an objective, but the size of the Vita’s screen often makes this more of a chore than any sort of intuitive gameplay implementation.
The Final Verdict
Fans of the series will be pleased to know that the trademark Katamari quirkiness is retained in this latest portable outing. It’s just as challenging and addictive, although the frustrating camera and stiff movements might make gameplay a deterrent for those not especially familiar with the series.