There was a time when the King of the Cosmos was a colorful personality, larger than life. Perhaps his fame had something to do with a jaunt in the sky that temporarily left Earth with no stars, or maybe people just loved his absurd overreliance on the royal "we." Whatever the case, the peculiarly clothed king was anything but forgettable. According to Touch My Katamari's story, game enthusiasts have changed in the years that have passed since arrived on the PlayStation 2. Many of them no longer look at the series or its monarch as anything particularly special. In a horrifying twist, one father can't even decide for his son whether the enormous monarch is more amazing than the boy's school principal.
Touch My Katamari begins with the horrified king eavesdropping on that fateful conversation. Depressed by the realization that people no longer adore him, the king decides to stage a comeback. He turns to his son for assistance. As a miniature prince in a green jumpsuit, you roll a sticky ball around the world. You gather tiny objects, animals, people, and eventually buildings as your katamari grows to a suitable size and then is turned into a sparkling star by your eccentric but powerful father. That's the only way the proper order of the universe can be restored.
The lighthearted plot is a return to form for a franchise that definitely needed it. The main story strand is joined by a secondary thread that tells the tale of a slacker named Goro who has a test coming up but can't seem to pull himself away from the lure of otaku. Goro's adventures unfold in exaggerated cutscenes that feature a surprising amount of action, given their subject matter. Meanwhile, the king's trials consist of humorous conversations that you have with him and his subjects between stages. You'll likely find yourself looking forward to each new scene before you get back to rolling a ball around to collect more junk.
Touch My Katamari contains only 12 environments, each with only one default assignment. Eight levels direct you to gather rubbish indiscriminately. Objectives in the other four stages provide twists on the standard mandate. In one case, for instance, you need to collect as much food as possible without exceeding a calorie count (easier said than done, since guessing at potential fat intake is difficult unless you stick to collecting only fruits and vegetables). In another scenario, you can play until you roll over either a bear or a cow, with the goal being to collect the largest possible specimen of either species. The alternative objectives make things interesting, but the limited number of unique stages hurts. Skilled players can probably work through the game in three or four hours, and then they're left with nothing to do but unlock content.
Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons to keep playing even after you beat every stage and see the closing credits. Each stage contains several hidden objects known as curios, and a missing royal cousin is lurking somewhere in each environment. The more trinkets and characters you find, the greater your rewards if you manage to complete the stage. The King of the Cosmos rates you on a 1-to-100 scale, and one of his lackeys awards you candy based on your performance. That candy serves as currency that you can then spend in the various shops.