The strategy within Patapon becomes apparent after several hours of playing. By now, the commands should be second nature and thus calling upon defensive stances and timed attacks should be a breeze. I’m not sure if this is actually part of the strategy of Patapon, but I’ve broken ‘Fever Mode’ just so I can hastily pull my army back from utter destruction on a few occasions. Those who worry about the complexity of the strategy element should put their fears to rest; Patapon is by far a rhythm game first and hardly requires deep tactics.
It’s not all musical military mayhem with Patapon, though. The game also features a unit creation and customization meta-game which I quickly obsessed over. With enough money (prepare to grind for it) and materials, new units could be created for your Patapon army. These new units add an additional layer of strategy since some missions will work better with certain unit types. Again, don’t worry too much about it since the game will make it quite obvious as to which type of unit you will need.
At first glance, Patapon resembles another Sony PlayStation title, Loco Roco. They both employ clean 2-D visuals with heavy use of contrasting colors to accentuate the important elements of the game. Despite having to retread several levels repeatedly, the simplistic and subtle backdrops did not grow old. With the help of weather effects and background transitions, the levels stayed relatively fresh and even managed to mesmerize me on a few occasions.
Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon. Even the most hardened individuals will find it hard to resist Patapon’s charms. It lured me in with its colorful and whimsical presentation, but in the end it was the simple and satisfying execution which convinced me to stay. It’s surprising how the developers managed to combine rhythm and real-time tactics together, but they did. The added strategic elements gives the game longevity and intrigue beyond anything ‘high score’ boards can do. Patapon is one of those games which just leaves you smiling when everything clicks. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself tapping your feet and muttering the songs to yourself in an effort to keep the rhythm going; you’re going to get into Patapon and that’s fine. So don’t let this $20 PSP gem slip away! It’s one of the most unique and brilliant games to date — you won’t regret it.
For more information, check out Patapon’s official website.
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