Very few game developers are as creative as the super-talented Keita Takahashi and he's at it again with yet another quirky experience.
Before booting up Wattam, I didn't quite know what to expect but being a big fan of Katamari Damacy, I definitely wanted to give it a try. For the first half an hour or so, I couldn't help but keep a puzzled expression on my face as I tried to wrap my head around just what it was I was playing. That being said, it all started to click shortly after that and I found myself hooked for hours upon hours.
I kind of don't want to describe how Wattam is played because most of the fun is contained within unwrapping the ridiculous world for yourself but this is a review so I guess I should. You play as a character known as Mayor who keeps a bomb under his hat. Whenever you want, you can detonate this bomb which sends everyone who's caught in its blast radius into the air and into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. The goal is to merely wander around and help characters by accomplishing a variety of tasks. Sounds simple, right?
The first thing that you'll notice upon starting a game of Wattam is just how cheerful and creative its world is. It basically consists of 4 season-themed islands above the clouds that gradually reveal themselves as you progress plus a bunch of large vessels that can take you between the islands. The inhabitants of this world consist of a large variety of objects with faces on them such as trees, telephones, the sun, and even poop. You can control almost every one of these inhabitants by flicking the right stick and many of them have distinct attributes and abilities that may help with solving puzzles. You can also hold hands with your fellow things and even form circles which allows you to spin around, burst into laughter, and perhaps grow a tree as a result. No, I'm not making any of this up.
What makes the gameplay feel fresh even though it has a rather quirky and simple premise is the fact that you'll end up accomplishing a vast assortment of tasks. For example, you may need to stack things up to become exactly as tall as a bowling pin, fly a balloon who's scared of heights up to the sun, return a telephone receiver, become a detective and find a piece of sushi's children, fill a house with silly objects, and much, much more. It's this collection of downright hilarious and lighthearted goals that kept me hooked so if you have an off-the-wall sense of humour like I do then you'll absolutely love your time with Wattam. I know I definitely did.
With all of the substantial elements out of the way, I'd like to discuss an aspect that I feel is incredibly underrated about Wattam which is its attention to detail. As you interact with different objects and traverse the goofy world, you'll likely notice tons of very specific reactions and such that can really elevate your feeling of immersion. For example, if you walk by an onion, your character will start crying. Also, some characters will excitedly run away from you and once you catch up and hold their hand, they'll appear very happy. Heck, you can even control a mouth to eat things (including Mayor), turn them into poop, and then flush them down a toilet.
Even though Wattam impressed me a great deal and is one of the funniest games that I've ever played in my life, it does have its shortcomings; the most notable of which is its clumsy camera. Often, you simply can't see what's going on because some large object is obscuring your view and after you manually swing the camera around, you may have missed a crucial piece of information or even worse, a hilarious moment. Finally, some of the tasks can be quite tedious such as having to repeat a similar feat over and over again or you can turn off the game only to boot it up again and have no idea what you were in the middle of. It can be pretty irritating.
If you have even a sliver of child-like wonder left in your heart then playing Wattam is a must. Uncovering its exceptionally imaginative world as you interact with a diverse collection of oddities makes for one captivating and hilarious adventure.
- + Colourful, imaginative, and joyful world
- + Good variety of tasks to complete
- + The attention to detail is phenomenal and makes simply walking around a treat
- - Camera can be exceptionally annoying
- - Some tasks are rather tedious