Wattam (PS4, PC)

Those of you who know me may also know that I’m a huge fan of Katamari Damacy.  It was my Game of the Year back in 2004 and aside from a couple of early mobile offerings, I’ve played every game in the series since.  And I’ve also played other games from the Katamari creator, like Noby Noby Boy and I really want to get the Play Date handheld for his other game, but it may be too expensive.  So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I visited Annapurna’s booth at PAX South and found out they were publishing another game by the Katamari creator, and it’s every bit as weird and charming as his other works.  And I was even more happy that I get to review it!  The game is called Wattam and it’s available on PS4 and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

When I asked about Wattam at PAX South, the lady at Annapurna said it was hard to describe.  And after playing it, I’d have to agree, but I’m going to try anyway!  So you start in a world that has been ravaged by an apocalyptic event.  You play as a walking green cube with a bowler derby hat called The Mayor.  As the Mayor, it’s your job to make friends and help others so you can grow the world again.  As you make friends and bring happiness to them, you’ll open up more flat areas you can explore that represent the four seasons.

You’ll make friends and bring happiness in one of two ways.  Your Mayor character has the ability to tip his hat, and make a present come out.  This present will explode and send anyone around it sky high.  But don’t worry, the residents of this world think that’s fun and great, and will become happy.  The other way is to do fetch quests for other characters.  Sometimes you may need to switch out a character with another special ability to fulfill a request.  Once you befriend someone, you can play as them, by the way.  Some characters, like trees, can eat other characters and turn them into walking fruit.  And there is a walking mouth that can eat that fruit and turn it into living poop (think the poop emoji on your phone).  And then a walking toilet can flush the poop down and turn it into golden poop.  But don’t worry, you don’t hurt anyone when you do any of this. In fact, the characters seem to enjoy it as they’ll say stuff like, “Yay!  I’m poop now!”  There are ways to change characters back to normal as well, by the way.

One of the problems with this game is that since it’s so weird (as you can probably tell by now), that sometimes the goals and objectives may be a little unclear.  For instance, you may have to make a crying island happy by surrounding it with water.  But the only way to do this is bring an onion to it so it can cry harder to make an ocean around it.  So you have to play as a tree, eat someone and hope it randomly turns into an onion, and then bring the onion back to the island.  But to me, the onion looks like half an apple, so it was a bit confusing at first.

Other problems the game has includes problematic camera angles and play control.  Adjusting the camera can be frustrating sometimes, and actions like switching out characters is also annoying.  Way late in the game they tell you that you can switch out characters via a menu, which I wish I would’ve known about that earlier!  Other actions, like climbing on characters and holding hands with them, is also harder than what it needs to be sometimes.  And finally, the game is awfully short and you can beat it in a couple of days.  Although there is some replay value to be had in finding all the missing friends.

But even with those problems, I still enjoyed playing Wattam.  If you are like me and enjoy silly and wacky games such as Katamari Damacy, then you’ll definitely want to check out Wattam.  The Prince from Katamari even makes a cameo appearance in this game, too!  How cool is that?

Kid Factor:

Wattam is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Crude Humor and Mild Fantasy Violence.  So yeah, you can turn characters into poop and play as them, so that’s where the crude humor comes in.  But they just look like rainbow colored poop emoji and have flies around them and when you play as anyone turned into poop, they play farting noises in the music.  There are also only two accounts of violence in this game.  You can blow up other characters, but it doesn’t seem to hurt them and they say “Wheee!” as they fly through the air.  In another instance, you play as a piece of sushi and throw fish eggs at a giant rampaging doll.  But aside from some light reading required, I could see young kids goofing around with this game and laughing at all the silly characters that giggle and babble as they wobble about.  The game can even teach some intrapersonal skills as you must find characters who are sad or mad and figure out how to make them happy again.

2 Responses to “Wattam (PS4, PC)”

  1. This game feels like the equivalent of Death Stranding — a weird, creative guy that made a bunch of neat stuff before has totally escaped from any kind of oversight or control and just made whatever crazy stuff came into his head. I might give it a shot at some point but it feels like it may have gone past a tipping point on the scale between “fun weird” and “crazy weird”.

  2. Looks good for kids.

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