Patapon, a peculiar mix of rhythm action and real-time strategy, was a refreshing hit when it launched on the PSP back in the day. The game blends the unusual & unique, which makes it simply charming and in all honesty, wins in the most unlikely genre mash-up category.
For years the Patapon tribe has lived in the desolate frontier, driven from their home by the evil Zigoton army. Behind the Patapons’ cute exterior, lies a fierce warrior spirit that can only be commanded by the beat of their God’s war drum.
In this game you play a God tasked with outfitting the Patapon, cute little eyeball-shaped warriors, to collect resources and using strategy to grow the tribe into a devastating fighting force for hunting, dealing with monsters and rival tribes.
Consisting of a series of 2D side-scrolling levels, you control your Patapon through the power of music and rhythm action gameplay by tapping out pre-set sequences on the face buttons. Completing those in the right order makes your loyal little followers perform different tactics, from marching to attacking to defending.
There’s also the combo bit called “fever” which happens after you’ve chained together multiple commands successfully. This, in turn, makes the Parapon a little more aggressive in their attacks and helps tighten their defense. Fever mode also unlocks a mini-game which you’ll learn more about when you get there, ha!
Although the game was cleverly thought out, the mission structure tends to get frustrating. You’re constantly encouraged to repeat levels, much like level grinding in RPG games, to collect loot for expansion or upgrading your army. Though not compulsory, the game’s high difficulty makes it all but a necessity.
I also did experience a bit of input lag in the game, but it is not anything major that makes the game unplayable. So don’t fret if you feel you can’t groove to the beat just right. The lag does not affect the gaming experience.
I did have my doubts about how it would look scaled to the 1080p output of the standard PS4 or 4K for PS4 Pro since the original design was with the PSP in mind, but the game’s assets appear to have been completely redone. Now, the little Patapons look better than ever.
The audio was another thing I was concerned about, but each drum was crisp, and the Patapon still sound as adorable as ever with voices which border on the annoyingly-cute range. The audio was also on par with the new graphics reboot.
Patapon could probably be the cutest and funkiest strategy game I’ve ever played; they deserve time in the spotlight once again. Patapon retails at SGD 19.60 (Digital version) and SGD 28.90 (Blu-Ray Disc version).