Back in 2008, PlayStation was still producing weird and quirky titles that not even the likes of Nintendo could touch. Although, there’s an argument that these titles didn’t pay off in the end, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a dedicated, passionate fan base for each of them. One such title that not many were too hopeful, yet still clamored passionately for, was Patapon.
Patapon features little, black eyeball creatures that wish to reach Earthend, which is their version of Valhalla. In order for them to get there, you’ll have to lead them, not by courage or wisdom, but keeping a steady beat. It’s a unique concept of a game, and one that definitely deserves the second chance it’s getting on the PlayStation 4.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4
Developer: SIE Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: August 1, 2017
This review is based on a review copy provided by Sony PlayStation.
Patapon has one of the most interesting and unique genre combinations, even by today standards. Of course nowadays it’s mostly common to find such unique genre blending, especially in the indie space. However, for the realm of AAA publishers and big corporations, such as PlayStation, the last time we got something quirky was Katamari.
Japan Studio combined rhythm gameplay with the real-time strategy genre, while staying on a 2D plane. This mishmash of genres has produced what we now call as Patapon. And for something on paper to seem like combining oil and water, it’s definitely a lot of fun, especially once you get into the rhythm of things. This rhythm is the key to surviving and making sure your troops can take on the threats ahead. There were reports that the game was experiencing some input lag, thus throwing players off. However, based on personal experience, everything played fine and I was able to keep a steady beat.
If you’re not one of the few having input lag issues, there is one thing that may throw you off: the way the game teaches you to play it. As a first timer to the series, I was mostly left in the dark on how to proceed after the initial tutorial mission. This isn’t something that lingers on throughout the game, however I do feel that the game doesn’t do a great job of leaving bread crumbs for the player to follow. At first I did have to look up a couple of Patapon Wikis to get the gist of certain mechanics and where to go, but after a while I did get used to it, despite it’s obtuse design. Luckily, the remaster includes a digital manual, which contains explanations of most of the game’s mechanics, which were absent in the initial tutorial mission.
During my playthrough, I couldn’t help but feel that the pacing of the game would definitely benefit by being played on a handheld. Of course, the original was released on the PSP, and it’s game design and pacing shows having the handheld in mind. Although the PS Vita has been basically pronounced dead as of 2015, Patapon Remastered would have been a better fit on it.
What Patapon Remastered does benefit from is the power of the PS4 bringing those little eyeballs into HD. Everything is crisp and bright, while popping off the screen. Although there is a weird, out of place intro video that is basically ripped straight out of the PSP version, with no retouching done, the game overall is still great to look at. The game’s simplistic art-style has helped it to age well, especially after the HD treatment.
Overall, Patapon is a game that deserves its second chance and HD treatment. It’s a game with a unique concept, while managing to pull it off. It’s both a great RPG and rhythm game. While this entry shows it’s initial design flaws, especially with teaching its mechanics, it’s still a game worth playing. It doesn’t hurt too that those little patapon creatures are so cute with their dancing and musical chants.