Review – Touch My Katamari

When I first laid eyes on Katamari Damacy on the PS2 I never in a million years would have guessed how ubiquitous the series would become.  In fact I would have guessed that it wouldn’t have had a sequel at all and in ten years time we would be like “hey remember that weird game where you rolled around and picked stuff up and a rainbow came out of the king’s crotch?”  Thankfully though, my predictions were wrong.

One of the most impressive things about Katamari is the scaling. While this room looks gigantic now by the time you’ve created a huge rubbish ball all of this will look tiny by comparison.

Katamari games are everywhere. PS2, PS3, 360, iPhone, PSP… and now the Vita.  Because there are so many of them it definitely has a bit of a ‘been there, done that’ feel to it – probably even more so for people who have actually played all of those versions.  I came into this game having not played one to completion since the PS2 days.  I bought the iPhone version but LORDY LORDY that thing controlled like a wet sack of walrus corpses.  So even though the Vita version felt instantly familiar, it did also feel fresh – like watching an old favorite movie and picking out new folds to the story that your younger brain seemingly ignored.

So how fun/fresh you’ll feel Touch My Katamari is depends directly on how much Katamari you’ve played. Touch My Katamari does not reinvent the wheel in any way.  You are still a weird little prince, you still get missions to go roll a ball around and get trash, you still get bigger and bigger as your ball picks up more objects and you still get mocked by the king when you’re finished.

So why “Touch?” The main use of the touch controls is to stretch your ball in whatever direction you need to get into really tight spaces. It’s a small change but it adds new layers to the strategy of finding the best scoring line a level. Thankfully, though, touch doesn’t mean touch controls – as this game controls wonderfully with both analog sticks.

There are a few things that were new to me (though may not be new to the series, since I skipped a few).  The missions now come from people (who live on the King’s shoulder?) and beyond the standard goal of “get your trash ball to size ____ cm” they also add secondary goals like “I want candy!”. This gives you the added option of trying to find as much candy as you can in the level.  It adds replay value, for sure, as there are now two objectives to work on to improve your scores.

Replaying levels is something you will have to do to get a long life out of this game.  It is appropriately priced at $25 on the US store, as it’s rather short.  You can see all of the levels in 3 or 4 hours.  Mastering them all takes far more time, of course.  Katamari is a puzzle game after all, as weird as that may seem.  And puzzle games aren’t so much about how long it takes to see all the content – if they were, Tetris would clock in at about 15 seconds.

Are those cats fishing? Katamari certainly is a strange game.

Katamari is a lot of fun though, and replaying the levels to find better lines to get better scores is as addictive to me now as it was a decade ago.  Given the bargain price (relative to other things) on the store, it’s hard to think of a reason to not pick this up unless you’ve completely played out the series already.  And for those of you who have never played one before – jump in.  It’s really weird fun.

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2 thoughts on “Review – Touch My Katamari

  1. Could you comment a bit about the overall difficulty of the game? Some reviews have said that later levels are frustratingly hard.

    • There’s two scoring systems to each level… the size of your katamari and your ability to get a bunch of whatever the quest giver wants (like, say, coins).

      You only need to get the size requirement to move on and I found that to be of normal difficulty. It’s the secondary objectives that get pretty tough. I had no issues just ignoring the ones I thought were absurd though.

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