Author’s Note: This review was originally published on June 26th, 2008. Like other reviews around the time, it has “witty” taglines that separate each section. I was bracing myself for some nasty feedback after this review was published. You can imagine my surprise when I received praise instead.
Never let it be said that I don’t give games I review a chance. Be it the best game ever or the worst game ever, I have given each game reviewed by me a good amount of game time. Patapon is no different. Most people consider it to be one of the best games of all time. I, however, felt entirely different.
Patapon puts you in charge of little critters with the same name. The Patapon were driven into exile by an evil army, but now are back and ready for action thanks to you finding a magic drum that guides them. It is up to you to guide them to the ends of the earth in the hopes of finding IT. Whatever IT is, only time will tell.
The premise of Patapon is interesting even though there is nothing thought-provoking or deep about the story. Besides, who really looks for a deep tale when it comes to rhythm games?
A Camp Classic.
Patapon’s game play is divided into two parts. The first is the camp, and the second is the battlefield. First, we will look at what you do at the camp. Here, you can here what your Patapon have to say, create new Patapon soldiers, give them equipment with the little amounts of money you have, and play mini-games. Really, there is not much to do on the camp site other than outfit your team and get ready for the next mission. As I said, money is a huge problem in this game. I never got far enough to see if the mini-games held any monetary rewards, but as far as I can tell, they did not. Money is needed to give your Patapon the best equipment. Without it, they are a weak lot.
Missing the Beat.
The next part of the game play is the battlefield. This is the part that everyone seemed to enjoy. They enjoyed it so much, they would talk, write, or even sing about the wonderful, rhythmical battles that take place in the amazing game of Patapon. Well my friends, I can tell you that I am not one of those people. I am not saying this to be a sensationalist, either. I am saying this because I did not find the most important part of the game fun. Period.
When you start a mission, you are given an objective. Regardless, you have to do the same thing: guide your Patapon army using the powers of drums and keeping beats. Each button corresponds to a different drum. By hitting the right sequence, your army will move, attack, defend, or create a miracle. Timing is everything, and understanding the nature of each beat is what brings you to victory. If there are enemies, drum the attack beat. If you need to defend, drum the defense beat. Simple, right?
Right, it is. It is also repetitive. Very, very repetitive. Doing the same thing over and over and over again, despite how catchy the tune is, gets really old, really fast. Drumming also gets hectic. If you are able to drum 10 beats in a row and not miss, you will enter fever mode. This not only makes your attacks and defenses more powerful, it allows you to create a miracle. However, things have a tendency to get hectic in Patapon. If you need to create a miracle and there are enemies everywhere and you are trying to defend or attack but still keep the beat…yeah, you get the idea. Entering fever mode can be annoying.
Now, let us get a few things cleared. I am quite capable of keeping a beat. In fact, I am good at any music game I have ever played. Hell, I was good at Patapon. That does not mean I enjoyed it. Drumming the same beats and grinding for money AND trying to keep your little army alive was not fun in any way shape or form. I am unable to see why people found such repetitive, uninteresting game play to be fun.
Drumming and Humming.
While the game does revolve around music, the tunes mainly consisted of drum beats. At times, I found myself humming along and tapping my foot. Other times, I found myself getting annoyed with the same songs over and over. The songs aside, the Patapons make sounds themselves. My goddess, are they ever annoying. I would love to be able to turn the sound off, but that would totally make me unable to play the game. Then again, considering how lame the game play was, that might not be so bad.
An Eye for An Eye.
The graphics in Patapon are interesting, to say the least. The critters themselves are giant eyeballs with little legs and arms. Often times, they are seen carrying little weapons. As they march on the battlefield, you will see that the animation was done well. The bosses and enemies you face have the same fluidity, but their actual design by some French artist was unimpressive to me. The graphics were not bad, they were just there.
Pata Pata Pata Done.
I never bothered to finish Patapon because I was too annoyed with it. It was repetitive, it lacked reward, and for a music game the music was not that great. Most people found the game to be a good one. Well, more power to them. Everyone’s taste is different, and now readers of this review know that. Thus, I do not recommend Patapon to anyone. Sure it has a cheap price, an interesting look, and interesting concept, but the rest of the game’s features make it a game not worth anyone’s time.