Everybody loves Katamari Damacy, right? Keita Takahashi’s silly, quirky creation -- classified by publisher Namco Bandai in the genre of “rolling action” -- is, by now, a beloved series. But for many fans, the franchise has grown stale, even as it has expanded to mobile platforms. It’s all about rolling up the universe, and while it has still retained that trademark Katamari charm, there are perhaps only so many items to roll up before you’ve had your fill.
Touch My Katamari (PlayStation Vita)
Touch My Katamari is also the first Katamari game to tweak the now-familiar gameplay mechanic of rolling up everything in sight into a ball of ever-increasing size. Now, you can horizontally stretch the Prince’s katamari into a rolling-pin-like form, or squeeze it into a disc-like figure. These aren’t merely aesthetic changes: altering the katamari’s shape allows the Prince to reach areas he might have been previously unable to access, or roll up objects more easily.
To stretch, you put your fingers in the middle of the Vita’s rear touchpad and pull them apart; to squeeze, you make the opposite motion. Double-tapping the touchpad resets your katamari to its original spheroid shape. The gestures are simple, and I found the pad to be responsive. I didn’t get to play more than one stage, so I can’t say for sure if the overall level design actually makes these gameplay changes meaningful, but they made a difference in the cluttered bedroom.