A lot of video games are about explosions. Wattam, the latest game from Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi, has a very different take on blowing things up, one that focuses on joy, discovery and surprise.
The game takes place on the last cube-shaped chunk of an exploded Earth, where the only living creature is a green, cube-like person known as The Mayor. He soon discovers that the world around him isn't as lonely as he thought, but full of sentient clouds, lawnmowers and trees that can do all sorts of things: hold hands, poop, and have dance parties. The game is about making friends, making those friends interact in unexpected ways, and then blowing them up.
Developed by Funomena, Wattam is full of the distinctive whimsy you remember from Katamari Damacy, although it's a far more free-form game rather than one with specific goals. After you stack your vertical party of pals, who can be everything from coffee cups to turntables to sushi, you make them explode, sending your characters soaring into the sky like colorful flares. That attracts more characters—whom you can name after your real-life friends—and can expand the level.
"One of the things Keita says about the game is that the world is full of different kinds of people," said Funomena CEO Robin Hunicke at the recent E3 event. "If we were all the same shape, if we were all just blocks, it would be pretty boring. On this planet, what causes the most explosions between people are the differences between people... our religions, our color, even our favorite games. But if we were able to see past our differences and work together to create awesome things, wouldn't the world be a better place?"
The idea of Wattam was originally inspired by Takahashi playing blocks with his then two-year-old son, who wondered what it would be like if the blocks came alive, and how they would connect to each other. The original prototype for the game was created by Takahashi and his friend Vikram Subramanian, and the word "wattam" is a portmanteau of the words for "making a loop" in the languages they speak, Japanese and Tamil.
Since the release of Katamari Damacy in 2004, Takahashi has designed innovative playground equipment (canceled for budgetary reasons), new games like Noby Noby Boy and Tenya Wanya Teens, and a 3D version of Pac-Man at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City.
Wattam is slated to come out on the PS4 in 2016.