Wattam Review: A whimsically weird adventure full of positivity, friendship, and forgiveness
Played On: PlayStation 4 (Original)
Keita Takahashi, the creator behind the legendary Katamari Damacy series, has carefully crafted a whimsically charismatic experience that’s drenched in good vibes and colorful characters with his newest game – Wattam.
Wattam takes players in a world that was once thriving with uniqueness, joy, and color, but has since fallen into a barren darkness that leaves a strange and sad green square named Mayor all alone. However, after he meets a personable rock and other anthropomorphic characters with unique personalities, Mayor begins to uncover elements of his own past as well as what happened to the world. So, with the help of players and every strange character he comes across, Mayor embarks on a wild, wacky, and whimsical adventure full of friendship, explosions, and handholding to rebuild the world.
Fans of the Katamari Damacy series know that Takahashi is no stranger to creating weird characters and stories that players can’t help but get sucked into. With Wattam, he once again creates a colorful cast of characters with unique roles in moving things along and that instantly make an impression the instant they pop up on-screen. The designs of each character really stand out and every time a new character is welcomed into the world, it’s hard not to find yourself jumping for joy like everyone else is on-screen. From a bowling ball that’s hilariously taking a bowling pin out in a sudden fashion to a bunch of tiny Ikura sushi that need to reunite with their roll, there’s plenty of wacky characters that players will gush over. Players can even invite their real-life friends along for a co-op experience that allows everyone to take control of a medley of strange characters.
A lot of the best moments of playing Wattam don’t come from players completing linear tasks to eventually figure out what happened to the world, but rather in embarking in a trial and error experience that allows players to figure out what certain characters can do. Players will take control of things like towering trees that can be climbed to see a new perspective of things, a toilet that turns anything that it flushes into a golden piece of poo, and even big ships that transports characters to different islands that are based on the four seasons. While switching between characters can be a pain in the ass at times, especially when there’s a big group of characters all clumped together, there’s a strong variety with Mayor being the best of them all.
While there’s plenty of great things about all the character you come across, Mayor is just always the most fun to play and see interact with other characters. Maybe it’s the way other characters huddle around him to cause a fun explosion with his hat. Maybe it’s because it’s really his story as he uncovers the parts of his past that caused the world to go dark. Maybe its even because there’s just something special about his genuinely innocent nature that’s completely infectious and makes you instantly care about him. Regardless, he’s the best and a perfect main character to navigate players through Wattam’s strange story.
Wattam might be the most positive minded game I’ve ever played as it’s a story about friendship and regaining life. With players completing linear tasks that have them do things like dancing in friendship circles to bring characters back to life, transporting characters to different islands with strangely happy ships, and even creating having characters climb on top of each other to create tall towers, there’s plenty of great and simple tasks that give out all the positive vibes that players will love. There’re even some really funny moments, like Mayor becoming a detective and honestly every time a new ship comes in, and the game really strikes player’s funny bone in all the right ways.
I will say that will the linear storytelling works for the most part and stays pretty easy to follow even with the game’s trippy nature, things became a little tough to follow towards the end of the game. There’s just so much that happens and so many things to keep track of that I was actually a little lost in getting to the game’s final moments. However, the game’s ending more than makes up for any flaws in Wattam’s formula as it’s a genuinely touching finale about forgiveness.
Without spoiling it, all the buildup and emotion comes to a satisfying peak in the game’s final moment when it’s finally uncovered what actually happened to the world and who’s behind it all. The idea is giving players a final dialogue choice is perfect and kind of cathartic in delving into how to forgive someone. Wattam really saves its most emotional moments until the end and it’s incredibly effective in leaving a mark on players just as the credits roll. Not to mention, the game is animated beautifully and the music is just stellar so its as much of an enriching experience, both visually and auditory, as it is emotionally.
Takahashi evokes an immense amount of positivity and cathartic emotion that makes the whimsically weird adventure of Wattam genuinely great. In a current time of doom and gloom, Wattam reminds players what matters in life and offers them an enriching take on friendship and forgiveness that players will never forget.
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