|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: NAMCO Bandai|
|Pub: NAMCO Bandai|
|Release: February 22, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p||Comic Mischief , Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Katamari is one of those franchises that just shouldn't work. It introduces some galactic royalty with some funky head shapes and makes players roll would-be junk into a huge ball. Sounds crazy, right? But if you've already sampled the insane genius that is a Katamari game, you know that this formula equals hours and hours of over-the-top fun.
So what's new in Touch My Katamari? Not all that much, when you look at the big picture. The game still features a crazy story, this time about a popularity contest between The King of All Cosmos and a local school principal. Of course, it is left the The Prince to help boost his father's reputation by through rolling what looks like junk into bigger and bigger balls in the hopes of creating some stars. None of this seems out of the ordinary in the Katamari world, but you can bet there will be some interesting and off-the-wall sequences that will either confuse or delight you (or maybe both).
Though much of Touch My Katamari will fall in line with fan expectations, interacting with your Katamari will be easier thanks to the Vita's interface. As you might have guessed based on the name, Touch My Katamari will use the touchpad in some interesting ways. For the first time, your Katamari will be able to change its shape to fit the landscape around you. In order to duck low-hanging obstacles, you can simply stretch your fingers on the PS Vita's rear touchpad to make the Katamari flat for a few seconds. The same logic applies if you need to get into a tight space: simply pinch your fingers on the rear touchpad to get your Katamari to suck it in.
The new touch-based control element looks like it is going to be implemented quite pervasively in the game, which is a good thing for those who want something a little different from their handheld Katamari experience. The controls here also look like they are going to be very intuitive and familiar for smartphone users, which is another big plus.
Outside of the new stretch and pull controls, it doesn't look like much else is going to change for Touch My Katamari. Obviously, the dual analog sticks on the PS Vita will make controlling the Katamari a much easier affair than The Prince's previous outings on portable platforms, and the PS vita's hi-res output ensures that the look of the game will be sharp and crisp. Early trailers show that the game will feature some serious level variety, though it's not yet been confirmed to include one of the series' infamous planet-rolling levels (fingers crossed).
If you are a Katamari fan, Touch My Katamari will give you more of the crazy humor and fun roll-up gameplay you've come to expect. Though franchises that have been around for as long as Katamari tend to reinvent themselves when a new console comes around, Touch My Katamari looks to buck that trend. The ball-rolling gameplay is going to be almost exactly the same as you remember, with only a few minor tweaks to take advantage of the new hardware.
If you've never played a Katamari game before and don't mind a crazy nonsensical premise, Touch My Katamari looks like it will be the perfect place to jump in to the series. And if you already love Katamari, there's not much else to tell you. Touch My Katamari is already out in Japan, but North American players will need to wait for our own stateside launch of the PS Vita hardware before we can get all touchy-feely with a Katamari.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
Date: January 16, 2012