When you ask about core games for the PSP many people will say Patapon as one of them. Honestly, I got this game with my PSP and I didn’t check what it is, so I got all my knowledge about the game from the manual. It looked bizarre for me. A strategy rhythm game? What kind of mix is that?! Aaaaaaand I got sucked in…
Patapon is an extremely addictive game thanks to its rhythm mechanics. You control an army of Patapons with four drums. With correct combination you order your Patapons to move, attack or defend. Sounds silly but in fact it works out wonderfully. You hit the beat, Patapons repeat it, do their job and then you continue your orders. This way you create chain until you hit fever. Fever makes Patapons get in the zone and their attacks are strongly improved. Beside regular commands you can also activate Jujus, which make special effects to happen. There are sometimes required for advancing in the game. Once activated the roles are switch and now you have repeat whatever Patapons sing. We have a strange mix of strategy and rhythm game. Those two seemingly unmixable things work really well together here.
We have to lead our army to victory with drums, but first we have to assemble it. With progres more and more kinds of patapon will available for you to use in your formation, where you can put three different kinds of Patapons. You create more Patapons with resources obtained during missions, or by playing rhythm mini games, where you can obtain some. Rhythms in those mini games do not change, and if you want more supplies, you have to play the same songs over and over, which is kind of a bummer. I wish there was more variety between sessions of the mini game. Despite repetitiveness I find them enjoyable and it is nice to do something a little bit different than missions.
Patapon’s 2D graphics are very simplistic. Everything seems to be made of geometrical shapes with solid colors. There nearly no special effects in the game. The game runs fluently, monsters look very pleasing and there is practically nothing I can complain about.
Since it is a music game I should mention the music in the game. Everything plays in the same rhythm making every single track catchy. By beating the drums, driving Patapons into a fever the music alters itself accordingly. Every new environment brings a new theme and Patapons sing differently while in fever. The fact, that the music is a crucial part of the gameplay makes Patapon so addicting.
Is it a reason to buy the PSP? Not exactly. While the gameplay is addicting and groovy, it is way too simple to call Patapon a system seller. If you already have the PSP it is a must have, because the is one of the most unique gaming experience you can find. It is a great game to play somewhere for a few minutes, but you better have headphones there, because playing without a sound is pointless, obviously. That means I can’t play it in work. Oh, and the beats will stay in your head for sure. PON-PON-PATAPON!