Earlier this week the lovely folk at Sony let me touch the PlayStation Vita, and I spend a majority of my time touching their Katamari. Err, Touch My Katamari, that is, the latest addition to the wacky puzzle-action Katamari Damacy franchise.
The King of All Cosmos and his shiny spandex bodysuit have fallen off the wagon, sinking low into depression over the loss of his “cool” factor. So back to star-creating it is, with the Prince doing all the rolling work of course. This time around Katamari makes use of the Vita’s read touch pads, allowing players to smoosh their katamari into a vertical or horizontal flat disk. This allows the katamari to roll up narrow ramps or pick up a large number of objects off the ground at once.
PlayStation Portable owners already know that while holding the system, your non-thumbs are already resting against the back of the system — therefore adding and using a rear touch pad seems only natural. After several practice-squishes I was flying through the levels easily; my fingers effortlessly adapted to the touch pad like the reconnecting of old friends. Having all hands on deck — or all fingers on buttons — is a good choice for a Katamari game, which bases itself on constant, almost frantic action. The normally fast-paced game is more intense and immerse thanks to the simple inclusion of one more button and four more fingers. Another great thing about Touch My Katmari is that you don’t have to use the dual analog sticks at all; the front touch screen can also comfortably be used when rolling your katamari.
The story of Touch My Katamari is a akin to a dramatization of the franchise’s own saga. After a successful series launch, the Katamari games took a roll downhill. Every game felt the same, just under a different name and for a different console. The King of All Cosmos’s jaded fall from glory and his renewed fervor in rekindling the love of his fans is exactly what Touch My Katamari wants from its own fans. They won’t be disappointed: with all-new stylized artwork reminiscent of anime and a King fully rendered in glorious 3D, it’s hard not to be drawn to the game’s beauty.
Longtime fans and newbies to the series won’t want to miss out on Namco Bandai’s latest foray into the world of the star-rolling Prince and his flamboyant father. The game fits the Vita like a glove, as though the series was made for and has been waiting for this moment to unite with the system perfectly crafted for its shenanigans.
Touch My Katamari is a launch title for the PlayStation Vita, releasing alongside the console on February 22, 2012.