Patapon Remastered is a remastered version of the original Patapon for PSP (PlayStation Portable). This remaster, developed by SIE Japan Studio, recently released. It provides an updated audio and visual experience to the rhythm based gameplay.
At first glance, Patapon appears to be a very strange experience, due to the eyeballs walking around on legs. These are Patapons. However, after playing for a few minutes the game revealed its addicting rhythm gameplay and kept me engrossed for hours.
You can purchase Patapon Remastered from the PlayStation Store.
The story of Patapon Remastered is simplistic; however, this doesn't detract from the experience. You are Almighty, the deity of the Patapons. You are the Patapon's guide. You guide them on their journeys through the power of four talking drums. By performing various songs, via a combination of these drums, you can command the Patapon Army. Your task is to guide the Patapon army across dangerous terrain and against dangerous foes so that they can finally arrive at Earthend, the promised land of the Patapons.
This story is nothing special and simply serves as explaining why the gameplay exists the way it does. However, it serves its purpose and is an enjoyable backdrop to the addicting gameplay that follows.
The gameplay in Patapon is where the game truly shines. As mentioned above, Patapon is a rhythm based game; the majority of the time gameplay involves sticking to a rhythm of four beats. This rhythm can be heard, as well as seen via a white border flashing on the edge of the screen. You follow the rhythm by using the four types of drum: Pata, Pon, Chaka, and Don. These drums are attached to the face buttons, and each drum is a beat. For example, I would input the following in time with the beat: "Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon". Also, this rhythm is in the form of call and response. So, you, Almighty, input the first four beats and the Patapons repeat them back to you during the next four beats. After that, you input another four beats, and the gameplay repeats from there.
These drums are vital, as different combinations of them allow you to command the army in different ways. So, the combination I mentioned above, allows me to move the Patapon army forward. Whereas this combination: "Pon-Pon-Pata-Pon", allows you to tell the army to attack enemies and animals. As the game progresses you unlock different combinations of these drums, allowing you to command your army in different ways.
Maintaining a constant rhythm builds up your combo meter; and, after holding the rhythm for long enough you will eventually enter 'Fever Mode'. This mode makes all of your commands more effective. The most apparent way this is shown is through the increase in damage attacks do. 'Fever Mode' is something you should always be striving for and maintaining.
If you think this gameplay is shallow then I am not surprised as it isn't the rhythm that is particularly special. It is the combination of the rhythm and other aspects of the game that makes Patapon so addicting. Whilst maintaining this rhythm, the game throws a variety of things at you, such as animals and an alternate tribe of creatures known as Zigotons. The need to maintain this rhythm whilst attacking enemies, or defending against them, is what makes Patapon's gameplay so addicting. Following the rhythm whilst seeing if your enemies are attacking is surprisingly hard. This combination brings a level of intensity and focus I have never felt in a game before, and I loved every second of it.
The Patapons that fight for you come in a handful of different forms. There aren't a wealth of different types; however, there is a fair amount. You can take three different types of Patapon into a mission. Above you can see Tatepons who wield swords and shields up close, Yaripons who throw spears from a mid range, and your long range archers are known as Yumipons. There are also a few other types that are unlocked as you progress through the game such as Kibapons. These guys ride horses and can charge forward pushing enemies away.
Each of these types of Patapon also has different statistics. Tatepons have fast attacks but low health, whilst Yumipons have more health but are slower to attack. Luckily, Patapon offers different armour and weapons that can be equipped. These can quicken your attacks or bolster your defence, depending on the type of Patapon. This adds a nice sense of progression, especially during the end-game.
The main missions I mentioned above mainly involve you fighting against the tribe of Zigotons. These missions are enjoyable and provide a good challenge. However, there are a few late game missions that spike in difficulty and can come as a shock to those unprepared. Some of these were extremely tough, resulting in me consulting a walkthrough on how to beat them.
Other than the main missions mentioned above there are of course bosses. And unlike the main missions, these fights were nicely balanced. These bosses are all very unique in design and attacks. A giant crab and a dinosaur-like creature, for example. These battles reward players who learn the attacks and know when to attack themselves or guard and run away. This back and forth, almost dance-like, combat is something I usually feel doesn't translate well into two-dimensional games. Yet in Patapon, it is pulled off excellently making these fights the most enjoyable and memorable in the game. Stunning a boss as it is prepping an attack is hugely gratifying.
Some bosses are hidden behind secret pathways that require an item to unlock the level; however, these bosses are usually the same boss as the last one you fought, except with a different colour scheme. This is slightly disheartening. The rest of the game is so unique that the same bosses with the same attacks can feel uninspired. As well as that, bosses can also be replayed at a harder difficulty for better gear and crafting items (I will talk about crafting in a bit).
As well as bosses there are hunting missions. These provide you with items and currency that can be used back at the Hub. These items are needed for the later game, so you can create stronger Patapon and make stews, that buff your Patapon's stats. They aren't challenging or fun. They purely allow for grinding in the late-game.
Hub and Crafting
The hub of Patapon, Patapolis, is an integral area of the game, allowing for a multitude of things. Firstly, it is where you return after every mission. It also houses five different mini-games ranging in difficulty. However, you have to find the items that allow the Patapons who host these games to be revived. Some of these items are insanely obscure that consulting a guide was once again needed. Anyway, all five of these require you to follow a rhythm like the regular levels; however, it is not necessarily a rhythm based on four beats. For example, the Blacksmith's game is based on two beats.
Some of these minigames are very easy to learn such as the tree, Ubo Bon's, mini-game. However, others such as the Blacksmith and Farmer's mini-game are incredibly frustrating and difficult to learn, to the point where I still haven't learned the timing for the Blacksmith's game. It doesn't help that these games offer vague instructions, leading to frustration and anger as I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong.
Your reward for performing well in these mini-games is a variety of crafting items that have a few uses. Some are used for other minigames; such as the Farmer's Eyeball Cabbages, which are used in the Cook's game. Whilst others, such as Meat and Alloys, can be used to create different types of Patapon.
The creation of new Patapon can be done from Patapolis as well. This is a vital thing to do in the late-game as bosses get harder, and the base level Patapon can not hold out against them. In order to create new Patapon, you need a combination of currency, earned throughout the game and on hunting missions, and the aforementioned crafting materials. The rarer the crafting materials, the more currency you need; although doing this grants you stronger types of Patapon that grant unique abilities. These abilities can include increased movement speed, attacks that hit harder, and a few other things.
Superficially Patapon has very little micro-progression; however, this creation process adds a nice layer of micro-progression. It also allows the player to customise their game to their liking, allowing for you to craft the army you want.
VISUALS AND AUDIO
The visuals and audio of Patapon are without a doubt the most polished aspects of the game. Rightfully it should be as this is a remaster. The visuals are extremely pretty with the backgrounds being vibrant and pleasing to the eye. The enemies have interesting colour schemes and designs, particularly the animals and bosses.
Although, the intro and outro cutscenes are both not remastered. They are ripped from the PSP version and upscaled. This makes it looks terrible and sets a bad first impression. Luckily, these scenes are the only ones like this in the game, not impacting the game greatly.
Patapon's audio is perfect. It needs to be as this is what makes the game enjoyable or not. Without the audio being perfect, the entire experience is ruined. Luckily every beat, every sound effect, every piece of music is stellar. This undoubtedly contributes to the enjoyable gameplay experience.
If you have been longing for a new game in the sparse Rhythm genre then Patapon Remastered is a great experience. It provides an addicting gameplay experience. The rewarding boss fights make up for some of the weaker levels. The excellent sound and visuals fully cement Patapon as a great remaster. However, the bad first impression, occasional difficulty spike, and lack of instructions hold it back from being outstanding.
If you are craving a new rhythm game, then Patapon Remastered is worth picking up.
|+ Great visuals and audio||– A few difficulty spikes|
|+ Addicting gameplay||– Intro and outro cutscenes not remastered|
|+ Unique Enemy Design||– Lack of instructions can become frustrating|
|+ Suitable level of micro-progression|