Patapon «

Patapon is about as charming a game as you could imagine. Packed with cute little characters who sing even cuter choruses, Patapon uses its tribal theme to tap into some vestigial gene that appreciates cuteness for cuteness’ sake. The singing and dancing of these little folk are simply entrancing. So mesmerizing is this effect, that Patapon lulls you into a state of zen focus as your every synapse locks onto the rhythmic pulses, never allowing you to rest for a moment. In some ways this makes Patapon a bit of an endurance test, capable of inducing a special brand of Tourette syndrome that will have you sporadically shouting out “PON,” “PATA,” “CHAKA,” and “DON” in perfect rhythm. Some gamers may be turned off by by the odd combination of cuteness and challenge, but those who give it a chance will be rewarded with a game that is beautiful in its simplicity yet staggering in its depth and difficulty.

Pata Pata Pata Pon

As the lord god of the Patapons, it is your duty to bring the tiny tribe of one-eyed warriors back to their former glory. See, the Patapons used to be the biggest deal in the world, but years of laziness have lead to a tribal decline, their once-great armies atrophied and afflicted with malaise. This is where your divine drum comes in handy, because the Patapons are extremely susceptible to its rhythms. Your goal is to bang out a beat that will get the little guys moving and ultimately enable the little Patapons to overcome their enemies and retake their place as the greatest warriors the world has ever known.


You quickly learn the basic commands of advance and attack: pata pata pata pon (Square Square Square Circle) and pon pon pata pon (Circle Circle Square Circle), respectively. If you issue these commands in perfect rhythm, then you’ll complete combos that stack up until you have completed ten consecutive commands, when your troops become inflamed with the lust for battle and enter into fever mode.

The benefit of fever mode is that all of your Patapon troops will be more effective in combat (some, like Yumipon the archer, are at their most lethal in fever mode). The trouble that we ran into was that whenever our Patapons entered fever mode, they issued a rhythm-jolting battle cry that interfered with our ability to maintain the beat that we’d worked so hard to master. Keeping a fever going beyond that initial cry was a bit difficult, though we were able to master it after some serious effort.

 

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