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10 May 2009

Patapon [PSP]

Plot Synopsis: 7/10
At the start of a new game, you become the new god over the Patapons. It is your task to use your drum to issue commands that will ultimately lead them to their former land-conquering glory, and lead them to Earthend. In order to do so, you must defeat the evil Zigotons, who have conquered the land in the Patapons' absence.
I'll give the story a 7 out of 10. It's pretty simple, really. But then, it's just a music game, along the lines of DDR and Guitar Hero, so the story doesn't need to be terribly complex.

Game Play: 8/10
The most important part of Patapon is the sound. This game is rhythm-based, and you have to be able to hear what is happening in order to get anywhere. In fact, it's so important, that one of my cats started yowling, while I was playing, and I had to calm him down before I could continue in the game, because I couldn't concentrate on keeping the beat.
You play the part of the Patapons' god, armed with a drum with which to command them. As you play, you gain more drums. Playing different combinations of drums will make the Patapons do different things, like walking, attacking, defending, among other things. The catch is, you have to play the drums to the beat of the music that's playing in the background. If your timing is off, the Patapons will trip up, and your command will fail. There is a visual cue, as well, but it can be very hard to sync up with just that. Personally, I have an easier time playing the drums to the beat of the music.
For the most part, the game is a side-scrolling platformer, without the genre's usual jumping. Again, this keeps the game simple so that you can concentrate on keeping the beat to accomplish your goals.
I think the biggest challenge in the game is getting the materials you need to create stronger Patapons. It can be difficult, at times, as well as a bit time-consuming.
I'll give the game play an 8 out of 10. I would have liked to see some of the materials necessary for the creation of certain types of Patapon be a bit more readily available. Otherwise, this is a fun, relatively easy to manage game. Though, admittedly, a good sense of rhythm is necessary to really excel at the game.

Graphics: 8/10
The graphics are very simple, which is good. You have characters that are, essentially, just black graphic images on simple, relatively flat backgrounds. This is good because, as the game is rhythm-based, and you have to concentrate on the sound, you don't want to get too wrapped up in the visuals. For what the game is, I think the graphics are ideal, personally.
I'll give the graphics an 8 out of 10. They keep the visuals simple, allowing you to pay attention to what you need to pay attention to: the sound.

Audio: 9/10
The Audio, in Patapon, is very fun. The music has a very tribal, almost primal feel to it, as it is very drum-heavy. You almost can't help but bounce and dance a bit to the music as you play. More often than not, i found that tapping my foot along with the beat helped me to keep the beat better, and kept me in better control of my Patapons. The voices, meanwhile, tended to sound somewhat child-like, which was also quite fitting, for the somewhat immature nature of the Patapons personalities. My only issue is that the voices are a bit loud in comparison to the music, to the point that they can sound a bit grating at times. But for the most part, they're just fine.
I'll give the audio a 9 out of 10. The music and voices blend together to make a near-perfect soundtrack for what the game is.

Overall Score: 8/10
This game was insanely fun, for me. I often found myself playing for a couple of hours at a time, as I tried to build up my army between missions. The game designers kept the visuals and the story relatively simple, so they wouldn't get in the way of what the game is really about: the music. It's a lot of fun, and I'd gladly recommend it to anyone.

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