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Patapon October 11, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Video Games.
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Patapon was practically the reason I bought myself a PSP. At a time when rhythm games seem to be all the rage on the portable platforms — Ouendan or Elite Beat Agents, anyone? — everything about Patapon looked to be heads and shoulders above the rest. War drum-driven tribal warfare? I’m so there!

Overall, it’s easily become one of my favorite games of all time. To begin with, the mechanics are simple enough: beat your drums one way and your Patapons do one thing, beat them another way and the tribe does something else entirely. In spite of this the game has plenty of depth, what with enough customization (and what weapons shall we equip this time?), mission objectives (die nefarious desert sand worm!) and gameplay related elements (will the wind send my arrows far enough?) to rival the best that the real time strategy genre has to offer (because it’s war baby!). The graphics are surprisingly impressive on the strength of artist Rotilo’s stylish designs. But the best part? The Patapons worship you as a deity possessing great juju.

A sequel’s already in the works, and hopefully the folks at Sony will iron out the kinks — the overly random and sometimes unreachable item drops, the inability to replay skirmishes aside from big game hunts, how it’s far too easy to lose one’s beat and doom the tribe to certain death — before the game hits later this year. Nonetheless, believe me when I say that Patapon is a gem and, for the price, a steal. If you haven’t yet, go out and give it a try. Lose yourself in the rhythm — pata-pata-pata-pon! — and discover that maybe you, too, have great juju.

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