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Katamari is an obscure Japanese delight, fully aware of its oddball visuals and utterly mental personality. It's become a cult favourite amongst fans, drawing in thousands with its fabulously catchy music and addictively simple gameplay formula. Tap My Katamari takes this experience to mobile with some unusual changes.
I was initially concerned how Tap My Katamari would translate a predominantly 3D experience into the realm of 2D. I'm usually rolling my sticky otherworldly balls through an open space, free to cause chaos however I like. This sense of freedom is gone here, replaced by an idle experience that feels completely different yet strangely familiar.
If you've played a clicker on your smartphone before the usual trappings of Tap My Katamari are nothing new, and do little to alleviate the usual frustrations that accompany such a genre. Luckily, the sheer wackiness of Katamari shines through brilliantly here, injecting enough charmful fun into the experience it's very easy to overlook.
The charming nature of Katamari is complimented by an almost blistering pace. I was constantly barraged by new skills and upgrades as I escorted my unstoppable sphere through a range of colourful environments. Whether I’m gaining extra coins or adopting a temporary burst of speed, the idle of act of tapping away at the screen rarely felt monotonous.
Rewarding gameplay isn’t something I’d normally praise a clicker for, but Tap My Katamari deals in such laughable extremes it’s hard not to feel invested. After an hour or so of play my screen was filled with a swarm of stupidly high numbers. Every tap added billions to my score, pushing me through to the next stage with a feeling of overzealous pride.
One of the highlights of this neat little clicker are the army of katamari occupying the bottom half of the screen. These colourful creatures are gained through individual upgrades that feel neverending at first, but quickly fall into a rhythmic pattern of tapping, upgrading and bursting through to the next level.
Tap My Katamari marks the end of each stage with a time-attack challenge that can feel like a needless grind, forcing you to spam abilities to make even the slightest dent. Times like this aren’t helped by the rare drops of candy currency used for enabling premium powers reserved for microtransactions. It muddles up the pace of the status quo and simply feels frustrating.
Despite how catchy and novel it may be, the soundtrack of Tap My Katamari is bloody repetitive at times. For minutes at a time it will drill the same tune into your head. It’s fun at first, but doesn’t change it up often enough to stay impressive.
SCORE: 8/10 Microtransactions: Yes