Wattam is the newest game from the mind of Keita Takahashi snd similar to his previous two games of Noby Noby Boy, and Katamari Damacy, it’s hard to describe, bizarre, and unique.
Wattam feels mostly like a story where the player has to act out some actions to see the next part. The actions are usually quite simplistic, but it’s the story that brings out the usual charm of Keita Takahashi. Everything in Wattam is colorful and friendly, and it often feels like you’re reading a children’s storybook with bright characters that are always helpful and seldom mean. Even the way Wattam brings up challenges to the character feels similar to the storybooks, such as a telephone base that has lost its telephone receiver, and players are expected to track it down.
Much of Wattam involves finding out who is having an issue, and a quick chat that will switch between a subtitled request for help, and a few pictographs when they are appropriate. Players then take control of their characters, tasked with doing whatever goal the game has planned out. Most tasks will take only a few minutes at most between the player talking to a character, understanding the goal, and then completing it. Soon after that, the next task will appear and the cycle repeats.
If this sounds like a game for young children, you might be right, but as an adult man with my own teenager, I still found myself falling for the charm of Wattam’s style, characters, and actions. Every character is bright and colorful and having characters say hi to each other, or even cheering for joy after being blown up by another character and asking for more, puts a smile on my face.
Wattam isn’t a very long game, and with the game reaching an end after around three to four hours of content, most players will be left wanting more. The way the story can draw the player in and make them care about the objects at the heart of Wattam is magical, but yet the story told in Wattam is perhaps the perfect length as the final parts of the game struggle a bit.
By the end, players will understand that it’s the journey that matters. The result of “beating Wattam” rings hollow even as it resolves the story, but that is due to Wattam’s “brilliance” not being in narrative design, but in the childlike innocence it evokes in the players who are drawn to it.
Yet it wouldn’t be right to say that Wattam is perfect as it is. Three hours fly by as players enjoy the game and while many of the tasks from the characters are interesting, many characters are quite useless, even the tree that can eat objects and turn them into fruit, or the toilet that can turn objects into poop feel like they are out of place since the game really doesn’t explore that concept outside of one or two requests.
Most characters in the game are there to be looked at and accumulated but have no interactions or purpose in the story, they become another trinket to collect and then quickly move on from.
While some players might search for deeper meaning there, the more I played Wattam, the shallower some of the requests become, with the game ending with the original main character being the only one who could do specific tasks, and a strange “Figure out which object we’re thinking of” puzzle being presented as the last task.
These tasks sadly don’t make Wattam stronger and leave the player not just wanting more, but wanting a return to the original parts of the game that felt more like a fun celebration of making friends with a purpose behind each appearance and introduction, rather than meaningless guessing puzzles and characters who show up just to be shown off.
Ultimately Wattam is a satisfying game. For ten dollars, it’s not a very expensive game, though, at three hours, players may expect a little more, however coming from the mind of Keita Takahashi, fans probably should expect more experimental and bizarre games rather than narrative or action-filled video games. Players of Keita Takashi’s previous games of Katamari Damacy, or Noby Noby Boy will find an interesting and unique experience here, but new players may not understand the silly strange style of Wattam.
I give Wattam a bizarre but arbitrary
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