The King of the Cosmos is back in Touch my Katamari from Namco, but this time he’s all about breaking the fourth wall and talking about how fans are upset with the more recent games in the Katamari series. It’s a nice setup. However it is not exactly welcome when this game doesn’t make up for six weak sequels.
So much of Katamari’s status was due to the original game’s surprisingly fun and original gameplay. When I first bought the Playstation 2 game I had no idea what to expect, my local retailer had only one copy and they were surprised anyone was going to buy it. But I’d caught word that it was something special. Not much has changed since then despite sequels for every platform. Rolling up every object in sight into a huge ball is still your overall objective.
The few unique levels in the game don’t really stand out, but there is a new gameplay element that is actually kind of fun. Or it would be, if there were more opportunities to use it while playing. For the first time you can stretch or squish the Katamari using the front or rear touch screens while rolling to fit into places the regular ball-shaped Katamari couldn’t.
Like the game’s few unique levels, this touch feature is underutilized. The most time you’ll spend using it is during the tutorial. Sure you could use it during regular gameplay, but there aren’t enough situations to do so. I’d hate to be forced to use touch features, but it’s almost worse that Namco actually came up with a good idea and then didn’t use it.
I wouldn’t really mind the lack of innovation in this iteration if there were more stages to play in. This is really the crippling blow to the game. I saw everything there was to see in a little over an hour.
That’s OK when there’s some kind of amazing narrative or replayability, both of which are missing from this game.
Katamari games have always had this great colorful texture palette that is a nice change from most every other game out there. It’s combined with fairly simple graphics which is why it’s a surprise when the game can get a little choppy in the frame rate department while you’re rolling your Katamari on the larger levels.
I had a few laughs at the King’s expense and enjoyed what I played, but I just wish there was more of it. Katamari games have never been super challenging, and they shouldn’t be so all the game really needs is more stages. I’m usually hesitant to equate gameplay hours to money, but in this case it’s impossible to ignore. King of the Namcos, lets put a little bit more effort in next time.
3 out of 5 Calamaris