Patapon was first published as a PSP handheld game console way back 2008. On August 1, 2017 Patapon Remastered was released on Playstation 4 console for the masses to fall in love with again. The title is created from Japanese onomatopoeia; pata (marching) and pon (drumming). Another PSP classic which was also released this year was LocoRoco. LocoRoco and Patapon share similar features like the cartoonish art style and an affection for music that viewers get easily hooked to. But totally a different game altogether.
The player takes the role of Almighty, their god, and lead a tribe of Patapon warriors, which pint-sized one eyeball-shaped creatures. To command these warriors, the player inputs specific combination using the face function each representing a ‘talking drum’ in musical accordance to a drum rhythm. The Patapons rely on you for hunting, gathering food and defeating monsters and rival tribe such as the Zigotons, a squarish creature with red and black eyes. The idea is that you enter a pre-set sequence in the face buttons and they carry out different game tactics/movements; to march in linear attach, to attack or other actions. If the player enters a wrong sequence, the tribe becomes confused or stops whatever they are doing. A Patapon in the front line may even tip over if you don’t do the ‘marching drum set sequence’ correctly which is really cute and cracks me up everytime. Drum sequence chants is not yet complete at this point, so you would have to explore the lands, defeat enemies to complete them.
Harapon, the leader of the Patapon, bears the flag of the Patapons and leads the tribe with your rhythm tapping sequence. They will march to the ends of the world with you so they can find ‘IT’, whatever that is. Patapons have no idea what that even looks like but they sure would know if they see it. This is considered as a sacred relic to the Patapons and will help them achieve eternal contentment and happiness. From this point on, you will be thrown to more than 20 missions and a gameplay that will not stop you from tapping not only your head but your feet as well.
The control scheme seems really easy, a simple rhythmic tapping of the face buttons that does a lot of things; especially as you progress along the game. The game will even give you musical aid and a beat to play to, but pressing them in unison could be very complicated to some. Especially when you are attacking enemies, you get engrossed on what to do next as you strategically choose what’s the next best move but fail to input the sequence in tune because of such distraction. This will make your warriors stop midway. Not only that this is futile to your warriors but you will be missing out on a chain action command. The goal here is to achieve a ‘FEVER’ mode after you have successfully chained multiple sequences. In this mode, although Patapon warriors are hard to manage and aggressive, their attack is doubled! Meaning, high level monsters will take less time to kill. Powerful drum sequence changes weather conditions which also help out your ultimate victory. Storms to hide the Patapons presence, wind that makes spear travel longer and using rain to cool off the ground and many more.
As you progress through the game, you will also have the capability to enhance your warriors. Although you start with Tatepon, axe-bearing warrior that is usually in the front lines, eventually you will have 6 more different Patapons. Each having their own unique skill set and strengths. Projectile based warriors are Yumipons and Yuripons. Other attainable Patapons are Megapons, Dekapons, and Kibapons – very powerful Patapons that can be very useful in later battles. One of the unexpected things about Patapon is the ability to outfit your little soldiers with loot items from fallen enemies that makes them so much stronger, or could summon more powerful warriors with heightened stats. Another battle strategy that is featured on the game is troop deployment. Yes, you will have gained multiple types of Patapon warriors. But you can only deploy three kinds of them and only 6 units for each warrior type. Meaning, you have to think up that perfect combination of troops that works best with one another to not only create a powerful army but to ensure that the battle is won.
Gameplay itself is unique for me as I never had any experience with the original PSP Patapon original. I thought it was unique on its own, I never thought I would love it. The downfall for this game is that you would need to repeat certain levels, especially the Hunting levels. In order to create that perfect army, you need to create the perfect warriors – thus, needing Ka-Ching which is the Patapon’s money counterpart. You would need to grind and repeating these levels is a bore and at times will only yield trivial Ka-Ching amounts. Not worth it.
Other than fighting enemies, giving birth to new warriors and collecting loots and resources, the player is also treated to mini games. These mini games are quite addictive and fun. My favorite mini game is to make a tree dance! The tree will play out a horn sequence where the player plays in unison after. If you succeed in perfecting the sequence, the tree dances the night away and give you supplies that lets you create Patapons – a very helpful feat vs grinding.
The graphics are really catchy and very impressive given it was released years ago. Sound effects are highly addictive, hours after playing the game – PATA PATA PATA PON drum sequence still plays on your mind and it’s not even irritating to say the least! Big things does come from small packages, with these little guys – there is really more to the gameplay than meets the eye.
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