Touch My Katamari Review

Touch My Katamari is a fun return to form that ends long before it has a chance to wear out its welcome.

by

There was a time when the King of the Cosmos was a colorful personality, larger than life. Perhaps his fame had something to do with a jaunt in the sky that temporarily left Earth with no stars, or maybe people just loved his absurd overreliance on the royal "we." Whatever the case, the peculiarly clothed king was anything but forgettable. According to Touch My Katamari's story, game enthusiasts have changed in the years that have passed since Katamari Damacy arrived on the PlayStation 2. Many of them no longer look at the series or its monarch as anything particularly special. In a horrifying twist, one father can't even decide for his son whether the enormous monarch is more amazing than the boy's school principal.

Even a katamari can benefit from a carrot or two.

Touch My Katamari begins with the horrified king eavesdropping on that fateful conversation. Depressed by the realization that people no longer adore him, the king decides to stage a comeback. He turns to his son for assistance. As a miniature prince in a green jumpsuit, you roll a sticky ball around the world. You gather tiny objects, animals, people, and eventually buildings as your katamari grows to a suitable size and then is turned into a sparkling star by your eccentric but powerful father. That's the only way the proper order of the universe can be restored.

The lighthearted plot is a return to form for a franchise that definitely needed it. The main story strand is joined by a secondary thread that tells the tale of a slacker named Goro who has a test coming up but can't seem to pull himself away from the lure of otaku. Goro's adventures unfold in exaggerated cutscenes that feature a surprising amount of action, given their subject matter. Meanwhile, the king's trials consist of humorous conversations that you have with him and his subjects between stages. You'll likely find yourself looking forward to each new scene before you get back to rolling a ball around to collect more junk.

There’s all kinds of flashy attire to purchase along the way, if you have enough candy.

Touch My Katamari contains only 12 environments, each with only one default assignment. Eight levels direct you to gather rubbish indiscriminately. Objectives in the other four stages provide twists on the standard mandate. In one case, for instance, you need to collect as much food as possible without exceeding a calorie count (easier said than done, since guessing at potential fat intake is difficult unless you stick to collecting only fruits and vegetables). In another scenario, you can play until you roll over either a bear or a cow, with the goal being to collect the largest possible specimen of either species. The alternative objectives make things interesting, but the limited number of unique stages hurts. Skilled players can probably work through the game in three or four hours, and then they're left with nothing to do but unlock content.

Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons to keep playing even after you beat every stage and see the closing credits. Each stage contains several hidden objects known as curios, and a missing royal cousin is lurking somewhere in each environment. The more trinkets and characters you find, the greater your rewards if you manage to complete the stage. The King of the Cosmos rates you on a 1-to-100 scale, and one of his lackeys awards you candy based on your performance. That candy serves as currency that you can then spend in the various shops.

Action stages are selected by wandering around on the giant king's right shoulder, while the left shoulder is reserved for merchants and special menus. You can head to the shops to purchase two alternate modes for each of the stages: an untimed Endless mode and a K Drive mode that reduces the time you are provided to complete a stage while also speeding up your movements. Selections from the soundtrack are also yours for the taking, if there are any that you want to hear on demand. You can then assign purchased tracks to a stage before playing through it, or just listen to your favored selections from a separate menu. Finally, you can also buy costume pieces--belts, crowns, capes, and the like--for the king (who sometimes makes requests and gives you a few days to complete them).

Your katamari has been weighed on the scale and found wanting.

If you head to another menu, the king models your purchases with exaggerated flair. It's fun to watch him strut his stuff while wearing a bridal veil, for instance. Even if those rather juvenile antics don't amuse you, the bulk of the game's trophies are tied in to the goodies you purchase. You have to play through stages a number of times to earn enough candy to buy everything and therefore earn all of the trophies, even if you're smart about how you apply multipliers at the end of levels.

Touch My Katamari retains the fun visual style that has been a franchise hallmark from day one. The familiar blocky chickens and cars and junk have perhaps never looked sharper than they do on the Vita's screen. Though there's not much to admire between stages other than the occasional cutscene, the environments are impressive and benefit from good draw distance. Objects occasionally pop into view if you pay close attention to the distant horizon as you roll around in pursuit of objects to add to your katamari, but such visual defects are minor and never interfere with your objectives. You might forget how impressive what you're seeing really is until you start a late stage on the street level and eventually find yourself rolling up the buildings that once towered above you, all without a hitch.

A flattened katamari can snag a row of halved apples more easily, don’t you know?

Touch My Katamari has more going for it than just visual charm; it's also the first portable game in the series to use twin analog sticks. The PSP installment's use of face buttons technically worked, but it didn't feel natural. Here, you have two control options that both require the Vita's right analog stick. If you choose the classic setup, the prince moves in the direction that both analog sticks are pressed, or prances around his katamari in one direction or another if only one stick is in use. If you're newer to the series, you may prefer the standard setup, which assigns camera controls to the right analog stick. You can pause the game at any time and choose the other control scheme, all without losing any progress. Touch controls are assigned to both the screen and the back of the Vita unit, letting you warp the shape of the katamari so that it can squeeze through narrow openings or flatten down like a rolling pin to more easily collect numerous small items in a hurry. To efficiently clear most stages, you need to shift between shapes depending on each situation you encounter.

Though Touch My Katamari doesn't feature a lot of unique stages and doesn't bring much to the series that's new, it at least returns to the basics in a compelling fashion. Returning fans and newcomers alike should find that the newest game in the series provides plenty of reasons to remember the King of the Cosmos again.

The Good
Quirky humor
Collectible goodies
Expansive environments
The Bad
Not enough stages
7
Good
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Discussion

46 comments
Leboyo56
Leboyo56

I think the title is the only reason this game is rated with 'Mild Suggestive Themes', ha.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

If you touch my katamari, I'll touch yours...

funkadelichika
funkadelichika

HUGE KATAMARI FAN. Too bad I won't pay the VITA price tag. I want to touch the katamari! :cry:

Raziel_0
Raziel_0

you can "touch my katamari" anytime gamespot

brad12d3
brad12d3

I didn't even read the review. I just came here for the comments :)

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

I wouldn't touch your katamari with a ten-foot pole.

petey3
petey3

For all the haters, you know you want to "touch my Katamari"

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

The Katamari games are unlike anything else -- they're "very Japanese", and that absolutely includes the intentionally funny title. I don't know how the difficulty here stacks up against the previous versions, but skill is definitely required to get the best scores.

CFritzRun
CFritzRun

I find it odd that GS has reviewed a Vita game but not the Vita itself.

thakurgaurav
thakurgaurav

Wow one hell of an euphemism. kudos to the one who came up with that. :D

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

This review might have persauded me to give it a try :)

edgewalker16
edgewalker16

Something tells me the developers didn't think through that title all the way...or maybe they did.

bronygamer
bronygamer

gettin this at launch maybe the reason they dont have very many stages is cause they're gonna bring more in the form of DLC

chazy035
chazy035

The PSP version got an 8.0 so this score for the Vita is justifiable.............. .............. ................................ o_o

chazy035
chazy035

The 3DS version will be "My Katamari in you face" and that will game will get a 9.5

paullywog
paullywog

I only have one question about "Touch My Katamari"... is it hard?

Lazerith91
Lazerith91

Good to see im not the only one a little creeped out by the name...

ShadowofSonic
ShadowofSonic

I think the comments are better than the game. :o '''next sequel : lick my katamari '' '''suck my katamari''' ''I'll be touching my Katamari soon when i get the Vita'' ''The sequel should address most of these issues, so I'll wait for "Put Your Lips Around My Katamari" to come out.'' :lol: Great job, guys.

fmobliv06
fmobliv06

And the winner is @Haasdude I just got a Vita and I've never played any of the Katamari games, so I'm tempted to give this a go. We'll see how other sites review the game, maybe it'll be worth checking out.

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

Another prime example of how Japanese don't get the US parental mindset.... what parent of a 10 year old will buy a game for their child titled, "Touch my *anything*?" ... let alone a word they've never heard of... in a parents mind Katamari can mean a bunch of things, none of them clean. Just dumb... supremely dumb. oh, and the game is depressing... it's a twofer. thanks Japan.

Decretum
Decretum

The caption of the first image on the second page reads: "Your katamari has been weighed on the scale and found wanting." :(

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@Haasdude -- Best. Comment. Ever.

Haasdude
Haasdude

The sequel should address most of these issues, so I'll wait for "Put Your Lips Around My Katamari" to come out.

FlamingFury
FlamingFury

Why on earth would they release 4 extra levels for free on the day of release? Surely they should have put it in the game to make the game longer for reviewers?

FlamingFury
FlamingFury

Not entirely sure why they have 4 levels as free DLC right off the bat instead of putting them in the game to bolster review scores, but at least there will be more content as time goes on, which is good for a portable.

Decretum
Decretum

Yea, not quite easy to translate that delicately into English. :P

ShadowofSonic
ShadowofSonic

@Decretum TOUCH MY LUMP?! TOUCH MY CLUSTER?! :lol::lol::lol::lol:

Decretum
Decretum

@ShadowofSonic 塊 - lump; mass; bundle; clump; clod; cluster

Zero_Unit
Zero_Unit

"...If you know what I mean." Every time I read "Touch my katamari", that phrase pops into my head!

Sackboy_man
Sackboy_man

Touch my Katamari..gee that sure dosen't sound wrong!

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

There is just too many games I want for this machine at the moment. I'll need to get this game when I see a price drop.

cameio
cameio

I'll be touching my Katamari soon when i get the Vita ;)

i98321
i98321

next sequel : "lick my katamari "

ad0234
ad0234

The game seems okay, however, I hope until summer I'll have more reason to buy the Vita.

64-bit
64-bit

touch my Katamari, sounds very wrong.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

But I don't wanna touch your Katamari....... Police! HELP!!!

theJBlounge
theJBlounge

You almost feel like too many games are being launched with the Vita? Like if this came out sometime after the launch when the number of games dries up, I think I would be more interested in it. But when the system is $250, memory cards $30-100, and games $30-50, I think it's just Uncharted and Hot Shots for me.

SpookyJack
SpookyJack

Another mediocre Vita launch game... Everyone grab a shovel.

RedWave247
RedWave247

I was arrested once for touching my katamari.

Touch My Katamari More Info

First Release on Feb 21, 2012
  • PlayStation Vita
In Touch My Katamari, the ever-growing ball of bits and bobs is controlled by touching the screen to roll it in any direction.
7.2
Average User RatingOut of 49 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Touch My Katamari
Developed by:
Bandai Namco Games
Published by:
Bandai Namco Games, Namco Bandai Games America, Namco Bandai Games
Genres:
3D, Action, Platformer
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Everyone 10+
All Platforms
Comic Mischief, Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes