Wattam, the new project from Katmari Damacyand Noby Noby Boycreator Keita Takahashi, is really coming into its own. The last time I went hands-on with it, I described it as "more toy than game," but noted that it was infectiously joyful and that I'd still very much want to play the full thing.
Two years later, Wattamhas more of a recognizable structure. It's a little easier to pin down, conceptually, though try telling that to Brett. He rolled up on my PAX West appointment midway through and was utterly baffled. He didn't know what I was doing, or why. "Making friends!"
The game -- or at least the beginning of the game -- is about finding new pals. You're the bowler-hat-wearing boxy green Mayor, and you're lonely. Wattamhas a silly but graspable logic to it, and through interactions with the world and characters around you, you'll prompt the arrival of new friends, which you can then swap between and directly control. By the end of my playthrough I had somehow amassed a rock, flowers, meat, broccoli, a toilet, a few turds, and too many others to recall.
You'll need to experiment to figure out where and how characters fit in. A hulking tree can swallow folks up, pooping them out and transforming them. Easy enough. But the tree can also be cleverly positioned and climbed to reach a balloon, shifting Wattaminto an intimidating arcade-like game of spike avoidance. That new gameplay element came as a huge surprise, as did my eventual Street Fighter-esque game-over screen. Wattammay be cute, but it can still kick your ass, I've learned.
I'm super curious to see where things go from there. It's been a long wait, but I'm feeling better and better about Wattamevery time I see it. This is going to be such a weird, silly, endearing little game.
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