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SummaryUnique silly epicness
The GoodThis is the first game I've finished on my PSP and it was an overall enjoyable experience.
Of course the idea of commanding little eyeballs via drums, versus mythical monsters and ruthless armies of red evil eyeballs, caught my attention even before buying my PSP. So it was only natural to get my hands on it as soon as I got the portable polymachine. And as I state in my first sentence, it didn't disappoint.
The graphics of this game are quite good, thanks to the simple but clever and imaginative art of Rolito on one side, the other being the great hardware and screen of the PSP. They are crisp, detailed and colorful, giving the right flavor for every encounter.
The sound also gets the job done with some good but also some annoying moments. More on that later.
The gameplay is simple and fun, mostly taking part on 3 types of quests: hunting for resources, battling the Zigoton army and defeating huge monsters and evil demons. All these are done by a simplistic rhythm command pattern, entered by the right control pad of the PSP. So at first the main goal is to learn a few drum beats and master repeating them in the right time so that you can exploit the powerful combo attacking mode called "fever". The second main goal is to gather enough resources to built a fairly strong army and the third is to watch and learn the attack patterns of the most difficult bosses in order to use the right rhythm command against them at the right beat. Added to this is the moderate difficulty in maintaining the "fever" mode when things in battle get tough and you've got a nice, easy to learn strategy game with a rhythm twist.
A very good aspect of this game, making the experience a lot more fun, is the whole epic -silly concept of it. While it's nothing new (cast-away tribe battles its foes in order to reach the land of promise) it's pulled off masterfully. Most of the bosses are awe-inspiring the first time around, being well drawn and becoming more and more demonic as the game advances with edgy graphics dripping lethality. The Zigoton officers have always some threat to make or say something evil in a silly-funny manner and wanting their blood back every time you defeat them, not able to believe they lost.
Lastly the game has a bit of replay value since hunting and monster-bosses can be played again and again, yielding rewards and advancing in level each time they are defeated.
The BadThe game is a little on the short and easy side. I finished it in about 16 hours while much of this time was going to hunting grounds to get resources, so leaving about 8-9 hours of advancing the campaign quests and plot. Only 4-5 quests took me a second time to finish and only the last boss took me 4-5 times to kill, all that without having the strongest army I could make.
Patapolis, the city of Patapons, has some nice funny mini-games, but after you play them 2-3 times they get pointless. Also hunting every once in a while can be annoying and feels like filler.
The singing of the Patapons and drumming patterns are very awkward and Japanese resulting in dizziness from my part (like after listening to their fever song for some time), making me want to put the game down to take a break and calm my head. It could be better if it was less childish high-pitched and frenzied and more like a Roman warship deep drum song enhancing the epicness of the game and not its absurdity.
The style of this chanting, combined with the need to keep a steady rhythm, make the game a difficult one to play on trips or lying on a bed. It's more of an empty-room-and-straight-sitting-position-while-keeping-rhythm-with-leg type of game. That makes it a bit more hardcore which may be a good thing, but also detracts from he portable value of the PSP.
The Bottom LineApart from being a bit easy and having strange music that may appeal or not to some, this is a great gaming experience for the PSP and everyone bored of all the big shooter titles out there, should try out. I'm happy that crazy titles are still being in production, along with strange ideas
and strange hardware (like Nintendo's Wii controller, or DS) keeping the old school gaming idea of having fun with some innovation alive. The world would be a more boring-grey place if all those "gear", "bio-", macho games for "hardcore" gamers took all over the place.