Wattam hands-on at PAX East 2019

We played Keita Takahashi's latest game.

Wattam

Wattam is a game about the simple things life, or at least I think it is. It might be. Though regardless of what it may be (based on the 20 minutes I got to play at PAX East 2019 this past weekend), Keita Takahashi’s newest title certainly manages to capture the same feeling he gave us 15 years ago when he introduced the world to Katamari Damacy. It is a game designed purely with the intention of bringing a smile to your face. And in that it succeeds abundantly.

The demo kicks off with the Mayor, a little green cube-shaped fellow wearing a bowler hat. He wanders around full of tears and loneliness until he meets a sentient Pebble. They become fast friends and prance around together across the flat square land that makes up the game’s world. Soon after they uncover a sentient Boulder that joyfully runs around the space with them. Moments later you discover the Mayor’s secret ability, the bomb, which is a present-shaped explosive that he cleverly reveals from beneath his bowler hat. The bomb does not cause any damage—it instead jettisons all three characters across the screen with fits of laughter.

Wattam

Do this enough times and eventually more characters are introduced into the mix, such as a Nose, Flowers, an Acorn that can grow into a Tree, eating Utensils, a Mouth, a Toilet, a Chimney, and likely many more.

Each of these characters has a unique role to play, much like the Mayor and his bomb. The Nose can sniff things, and it is through that action that players uncover the Flowers and the Acorn. The Acorn can becomes a Tree that can eat anything in its path, converting them into various Fruits. The Mouth eats the Fruits and produces Poop. Flushing the Poop down the Toilet gives rise to Golden Poop from out of the Chimney. Make enough Golden Poop and… Who knows what happens next? Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to uncover what mysteries lie deep within the resplendent excrement, but damn if I am not curious to find out.

Wattam

Adding to the aesthetic is of course the music. Asuka Sakai, composer of the Katamari series (and Takahashi’s wife) returns with a score of vocals and instrumentation recognizable to anyone familiar with her previous work. As someone who still jams out regularly to Katamari‘s music, I eagerly await to hear Wattam‘s full soundtrack while discovering what happens after the Golden Poop phase of the game.

As great as all of this is, the best aspect of the game is how easy it is to pick up and play. At the end of the day, a game is a game and how it is played is the most important aspect. Thankfully, whether it is one person or more, anyone can pick up Wattam and immediately dive into its wonderful weirdness. Characters are not really controlled so much as borrowed. You jump from Mayor to Acorn, to Fruit, to Mouth, to Poop with an easy flick of the right joystick. No matter who you are, grab hold of a friend’s hand, jump around, and dance with them until the Mayor comes by and bombs everyone away into the sky as they roar with laughter.

Wattam is due out for PlayStation 4 and PC in 2019.

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