Lemmings Touch introduces touch screen controls making use of the Vita’s 5-inch screen and, for the most part, it works splendidly. After selecting a Lemming, a skill wheel is shown providing players with the skills that are available at any given time. This doesn’t take up too much real estate and the icons are differentiated from each other sufficiently. The wheel doesn’t obstruct the view, even when zoomed in. However, there were occasions when commands didn’t respond, possibly due to a lack of accuracy or because the input wasn’t picked up, which can be a little frustrating after carefully navigating a tricky level only to be undone at the final hurdle.
Control scheme aside, Lemmings Touch remains faithful to the roots of the franchise. It’s certainly more visually appealing than some of its predecessors with a wonderful hand-drawn art style and a colourful new Candy Land environment. But don’t let your guard down for a second; this is still a game that is just waiting for the opportunity to crush, burn, electrocute, and otherwise maim your mindless crew.
The tutorial may lull many into a false sense of security with its overbearing need to handhold, going so far as to pause the game until you select the correct skill, but Lemmings Touch will put even the most experienced Lemmings player through their paces after that point. The game is broken up into four skill blocks, each of which must be unlocked by hitting a certain star requirement, while each block has a number of chapters to overcome. On top of that, players can earn one to three stars per level based on their performance, which is based on the amount of time taken to complete a level and the number of Lemmings successfully guided to the exit.
While the Easy levels can be overcome without too much stress, Tricky levels are exactly what it says on the tin, and it only gets more difficult from there. Even completing some of the later levels is an accomplishment in itself, but if you’re in the mood for punishment you can always replay levels to bolster your star ranking. Lemmings Touch will make you think and test different approaches, so if you enjoy a puzzle, which may look intimidating at first glance, you're in for a challenging treat.
There is a lot to like about Lemmings Touch. It’s delightfully cute and colourful, which hides its more sinister gameplay mechanics and, at times, crushing difficulty. On the whole, the touch control scheme works quite well, but there will likely be some moments where you’ll question if a Lemming simply ignored you or if you missed the required skill input. Lemmings is one of the original tough and punishing games that forces you to learn from your mistakes. Perhaps Dark Souls players should embrace our cartoon heroes.