Review by Bkstunt_31
"Without a doubt, the cutest eyeballs I've ever seen."
Patapon is quite a cute little game, but despite the cuteness it also has a good chunk of game play to back it up. It's definitely a rhythm game, where you will control your tribe of patapon's towards their life long dream of seeing IT at earthend. What is IT? Well, you don't really know, but between you and IT is the Zigaton army, the sworn enemies of the patapon.
But now the patapon tribes have you to lead them to victory. You do this by banging on a war-drum to give your little army instructions. Each level begins with a back ground beat. You time your drum beats with the rhythm to tell your pataons what to do. For example the beat PATA PATA PATA PON means "move forward", and PON PON PATA PON means "attack". You'll than have to wait for four more beats as your units carry out your commands. As you play you'll eventually learn more moves and have quite a few options to instruct your army. Getting a string of ten combo's in a row will put your army into a fever mode, sometimes changing how they attack.
Speaking of your army, you only start with a few units at first, and the first couple of levels you'll get the chance to go hunting for money and supplies. You use these to create new patapon units until you max out your unit number. Your army will consist of different types of units (such as spear users, bow users, etc..) and you'll only be able to have so many units out to battle at once (you can only have six spear user's out at once, for example).
By finding better items you can make rare patapons that have better stats and visually look different. As you progress through the levels and battle the Zigatons, you will also pick up different pieces of equipment that you can equip on your army, such as new weapons and helmets. As you battle, your units will of course take damage from the enemy, which you can monitor at the top of your screen. Each unit has it's own HP, and when it dies it will leave behind it's distinctive cap, which your other units can recover, so that when you get back to base you can revive that unit.
You'll also discover different caps while going through the game. These caps revive special patapons that will let you play different mini-games. These mini-games are also rhythm based and will often reward you with new materials depending on how well you do. The only other part of the game is the different miracles you can acquire, which will let you control nature to an extent (such as changing the winds direction to help your archers). In fact you'll have to use some miracles to progress in some levels.
As you fight towards earthend, besides the Zigaton army you will also encounter many large beasts in your way, acting as the game's bosses. Fighting these things really illustrates how such little creatures can take down giants in numbers (sort of like pikoman). The game really boils down to how good your timing is and how effective you pick your commands and units, as well as how long you can maintain fever mode.
The audio in the game is top notch as well, as you would expect from a music game. The background rhythms seem to change their audio slightly as you progress, but they'll always be a four-beat rhythm. And than there is of course your drum beats. The best part of the game, in my opinion, is how your units respond to your commands. As you give the command they'll dance and move in response. Than they'll sing back to you in their tiny little voices, often changing their tone and fluctuation of their voices to add variety, which is really really cute. If you are doing some command that doesn't make sense (like telling them to attack when there's no enemy), or you mess up, your patapon's will even talk to you about it. Heck, I messed up once and my little guy said "This is bad... May I go home?". One of them even had the nerve to call me an amateur! Man, you mess up ONE time....
Overall, if your into rhythm games and have a PSP, Patapon is a must. It even has quite a bit of re-playability due to the fact that you can go back and replay any level and that even the bosses are still there to defeat (they get harder each time). My only other thought about the game is that it was quite hard to play in a noisy environment, and I pretty much had to be alone to play the thing. Anyway, I'll definitely be trying out the sequel, Patapon 2, shortly. Have fun and keep playing.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/06/10
Game Release: Patapon (US, 02/26/08)
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