Touch My Katamari Review

Touch My Katamari (Available exclusively on PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Players: 1
Genre: Action
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai
Release Date: February 22, 2012
Price: $24.99
Download Size: 660MB

Parent Talk: The ESRB rates Touch My Katamari E10+ for everyone over the age of ten because of comic mischief, mild fantasy violence, and mild suggestive themes.  I don’t understand why the game’s rating is that high, because you’re just rolling a ball over objects.

Plays Like: The console Katamari games.

Review Basis: Finished all twelve stages.

Katamari has come a long way since its PS2 debut.  What was originally a niche title has become a surprise hit franchise. Touch My Katamari brings the same excellent gameplay you expect, a return to form for humor, but comes up short in the content department. Don’t expect any innovations; this is Katamari as you know it.

The Great:

Controlling the Prince with two sticks. There’s “classic” mode, where tilt both sticks in the same direction to move the Prince, or “standard” mode that works as you imagine. The left stick moves the Katamari, and the right shifts the camera. Whatever your preference, the controls are perfect. For the first time a portable game functions just as it does on consoles. The new touch controls are also fun, allowing you to shape and morph the Katamari to reach tough areas.

The Good:

+ The same classic humor. The King of the Cosmos is no longer cool. Kids have moved on since Katamari Damacy.  Oh the horror!  The only way to restore the King’s powers is to roll up huge Katamaris, using animals, foods, people and eventually buildings…then converting these Katamaris to stars.  Yes, it makes perfect sense.

+ Excellent value.  The game is short, but your performances are measured on scales of one-hundred. The better your score, the more candies you can unlock, which can redeem in-game goodies like additional music tracks, clothes for the King, etc.  There are also countless hidden items scattered in each level.

+ The nicest-looking Katamari. The graphics are sharp, the environments look detailed on the OLED screen, and the cutscene art style is fantastic.  When you build a Katamari large enough to roll over building, it’s impressive to see the system easily handle the load.

+ Perfect for on the go. Quick loading and brief levels are great, and the download size doesn’t require a large memory card.

The So-So:

+/- Only twelve levels. Eight have you collect junk, and the other four give specific objects. One has you eat as much food as possible while limiting calorie intake. More unique missions like that would’ve been appreciated, as most will see all that TMK offers in three to four hours.

+/- Nothing new. Longtime fans will love the game, but a multiplayer challenge mode (online preferably) and other creative ideas would’ve gone a long way.

The Bad:

– No platinum trophy. The majority of the silvers are tied to the unlockables. That means you must finish each stage multiple times to acquire enough candies. I never deduct points for trophies though; I’m just mentioning this.

– A problematic camera. It can get stuck behind an object, and you suddenly can’t see anything. Normally the area around disappears so you can at least fix things yourself.

The Ugly:

Rolling a giant Katamari filled with children. What will the wacky developers think of next?

The Lowdown:

Touch My Katamari plays it safe, and we’d like more environments, but there’s still much fun to be had. Fans likely already own this though, and we welcome any newcomers to one of the wackiest franchises out there.

Average Score Scale: 7.0 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 7/10 (Neutral)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: You’re new to Katamari. The touch controls are fun.

Reason for -0.5 Deflation: Brings nothing new to the series, and the limited levels may make you feel shortchanged.

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