Touch My Katamari is such a strange mix in my head. On one hand it is a competent game that has most of the flair of the series. On the other hand it is not a great Katamari game when compared to the others. Touch My Katamari is such a strange step for the series and maybe not the best one.
So first a little back story just in case you have never played a Katamari game. You are the Prince and your father is the King of All Cosmos. As the prince it is your job to roll up stuff to make stars and it is the Kings job to tell you how poorly you rolled. You roll using your Katamari, which is sticky ball that grows larger the more you pick up. The larger your Katamari becomes the bigger stuff you can collect. Repeat this cycle until time runs out and the King lets you know that you are a failure. That is the basic premise for any Katamari game.
In Touch My Katamari you have the same basic gameplay but with a few twists. The most notable new addition is the ability to squish your Katamari horizontally or vertically. This allows your to squeeze into otherwise unreachable areas. It also lets you spread out and collect more items at once. Outside of the actual rolling a currency system has been added. Every level will net you a certain amount of “candies” which can then be spent on songs, modes, and the King. The amount of candies depends on your performance and several types of boosters present.
The classic gameplay of Katamari games is there and it just as fun as it has ever been. However it seems like Touch My Katamari is much shorter than any other in the series, even the PSP title. There are a grand total of thirteen levels with two more currently downloadable. All except for the last level feel just like the tutorial stages for prior Katamari games. The entire game could easily be completed in about an hour.
There are attempts to keep you hooked and coming back for more though. Every day that you play consecutively you are given more candies. There is a “High Rollers Club” which will boost your candy multiplyer the longer you play. Occasionally levels will give you a candy boost or will have a “Fan Damacy” inside of them, more on that later. All these things sound great but after only four hours of playing I have gotten a score of 100 on 80% of the levels. My drive to go back and play more just to buy the king more ridiculous costumes is extremely low without more levels. It seems like instead of spending time giving the king silly dances somebody could have focused on making more playable content.
As I mentioned earlier there are items called “Fan Damacies” spread randomly throughout the game. You can trade them in for a candy booster or you can save up ten to get more levels for free. At least that is how it is working so far. When you download the two free available stages from the PSN a character in the game offers to trade you ten Fan Damacies for them. If you want you can also purchase Fan Damacies from the PSN at 2$ for 5 Fans. That means that if you were impatient these two new levels would cost you 8$. What it also means is that, hopefully, as they release more levels you can just unlock them with your time. It is good that there is an option to unlock content through play but the addition of Fan Damacy would not have seemed like such a cash grab if there had been more content to begin with.
My last real point of contention is the story. When you look at Katamari games you might not imagine that story actually plays a part and if it were not for their ability to give a great one in the past I would agree. The first two Katamari games actually had small but heartwarming stories of family and love. Touch My Katamari has a story of intentionally bad animation and self indulgence. The entire storyline is maybe eight minutes long and feels more like promotional material than anything that should be in a game. It is silly, cooky, funny, and totally throwaway.
As far as the actual game is concerned Touch My Katamari is a fun and decently designed game. The problem lies in the fact that there is not enough of that core gameplay. Everything else wrapped around it is just padding that could have easily been stripped or refined. Getting the King new clothing only holds water for a little while. You will also probably finish this game way before you start seeing the benefits of playing for multiple days. Even though Katamari started off as a budget title it has grown to have quite a following and quite a reputation. Touch My Katamari had a bar to hit based on it’s pedigree, it failed to hit that bar. As the King would say “Are you trying to disappoint us Prince?”