Touch my Katamari preview

Touch My Katamari for Vita still doesn't feel "new" or "fresh" to me, but it does add a number of key features that make it one of the most novel Katamari games I've seen in a long time.

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"Oh, another Katamari game?," I quipped as I saw the PlayStation Vita demo station equipped with Touch My Katamari. It's hard to get excited for a Katamari game, especially after countless sequels have failed to reignite the spark that made the original PS2 games so charming. Perhaps rolling an ever-growing ball o' stuff is just a one-trick pony.

Touch My Katamari still doesn't feel "new" or "fresh" to me, but it does add a number of key features that make it one of the most novel Katamari games I've seen in a long time.

The title should make it evident that touch is the biggest twist to the game. Although Vita comes equipped with gyroscopic sensors, Namco Bandai has opted not to use motion controls for this portable iteration. Instead, the game offers two control methods: an entirely touch-based method, and a more traditional control scheme that takes advantage of both analog sticks.

Katamari was designed with two analog sticks in mind, and that's arguably the best way of playing the game. It didn't take long for me to navigate the world, collecting a number of doodads. It felt like classic Katamari all over again. There is a novel Vita-exclusive twist, however. Touch My Katamari takes advantage of the Vita rear touch panel--and it actually works! (Unlike most other titles I've played so far...)

The rear touch panel, used in conjunction with the front touch screen lets you "pinch" the Katamari, letting you flatten the Katamari and pick up more objects. You can also squeeze the Katamari vertically, making you less capable of picking up objects, but faster. By manipulating the size and shape of the Katamari, you'll be able to navigate the environment in new ways, and try to discover secret areas. This mechanic added an extra layer of depth that's easy to appreciate.

While Namco Bandai has expanded the gameplay in this latest iteration, ultimately the game involves you rolling a ball. While I Love Katamari is downloadable for $6.99 on iOS, Touch My Katamari is a full retail release on Vita. Namco Bandai argues that this is the biggest Katamari game to date, and with a number of psychedelic videos included on the cartridge, it's easy to see the production values behind the title. But, do people really want that much Katamari? Especially since--in spite of Namco Bandai's best efforts--Touch My Katamari doesn't feel like an entirely "new" experience.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    December 28, 2011 2:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Touch my Katamari preview.

    Touch My Katamari for Vita still doesn't feel "new" or "fresh" to me, but it does add a number of key features that make it one of the most novel Katamari games I've seen in a long time.

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      December 28, 2011 2:08 PM

      i love me some katamari. da da da da da da.

      • Ebu
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        December 28, 2011 3:20 PM

        I loved the first one, but it's really not a game that needed to become a franchise.

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          December 28, 2011 8:58 PM

          The treasure of katamari damacy was its charm and innovation, what I wanted to be a franchise is the mere idea of wacky ass japanese games with fun arcade style gameplay at reasonable prices.

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      December 28, 2011 7:52 PM

      touch my "katamari." is that what the kids are calling the cock these days?

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      December 28, 2011 8:44 PM

      Show me on the Katamari where he touched you...

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      December 28, 2011 9:00 PM

      I still can't tell if "Touch My Katamari" is a bit of Engrish or some clever word play.

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      December 28, 2011 9:36 PM

      Previous worst game name was probably DOFUS but this one is close. Oh you silly Japanese game developers, will you ever learn? :)

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      December 29, 2011 5:50 AM

      I don't know about any other soulless unhappy people, but I for one am delighted to have another Katamari game! It's the only reason I'll be picking up a Vita at the launch window instead of waiting.