kenister's Patapon (PSP)
| [March 4, 2008 03:19:30 AM]
I love the Patapons, they’re so damn cute! Good thing they come in a variety of types. The player originally starts with three basic types of units. There are Yamipons, which are basically archers, Yaripons, spear wielding warriors who can throw their weapons a short distance, and Tatepons, axe and shield wielding warriors who take the brunt of the attacks by standing in the front of the army. There are other types of units too, some of which I haven’t found yet. The one I recently unlocked was the Kibapon, a jousting type unit, these Patapons are mounted on a horse and charge their enemies. However they are fairly weaker than the other Patapons but in Fever mode they grow incredibly strong and just knock out anything in their way. So the Kibapon are for advanced players that know how to keep a beat.
I forgot to mention that in the village you can equip your Patapons with weapons and armor that you find on the field. This in turn upgrades their resistances and attack damage and adds a whole new level of customizability. However if you aren’t into micro managing your units there is a simple “optimize equip” button which will automatically equip the best items for your Patapons in an instant. Also at Mater, when you breed new Patapons you can “brew” different kinds as well. It depends on the ingredients you give the tree, for example tender meat is much more better than cafeteria meat which will give you a stronger Patapon if you create him with that material. And if you want to take a break from fighting you can just watch your Patapons dance around and drink at the center of the village.
Patapon is very different from your average game. Most games seem to stay to a common formula which is action, adventure, and RPG. Patapon combines these elements while adding its authentic style, the drum beat gameplay mechanic. This game is addicting, and it has something to do with the drum beat game style. There is something about music games (i.e. Guitar Hero, Rock Band) that hooks a player to keep playing. It might be our natural musical instincts to stay near something that sounds good or there is just an addictive trait hidden in rhythm matching game mechanics. Patapon copies that addictive trait while establishing itself as a different and unique version of the rare music genre.
The tone of the game world is very cutesy. Everything is in 2D and all sprites have a cartoony look about them. The level scrolls to the right as the Patapons march, I can see in the background that trees and mountains imitate that they are farther than they seem which is a good use of textures given it’s a 2D game. The colors are very bright and there are almost no shadows which can give a negative tone which means this is a game made for little children as well as adults. When the Patapons march they throw their weapons and twirl them in the air to show that they are happy when listening to rhythm of the drum beat and it really makes player feel like he is in control of them, leading them to slay giant beasts and the like, which is very satisfying I must say because some of the beasts are larger than all of your Patapons combined.
This game has definitely made me think about my game design project, not for this class but for my senior game project next year. Instead of creating something formulaic like a shooter or RPG, why not create a rhythm/musical game. The only problem I can see is finding good music that is liked by a large demographic. Music is incredibly relative, and not everyone will like all kinds of music, but if I can find something that caters to most of the audience, then I can make a game that not only has a unique game mechanic but it also has music that attracts people and make them play even more.
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| [March 4, 2008 02:17:33 AM]
In Patapon, the player is assumed the role of the Mighty Patapon, the leader of the Patapon tribe of cute little eyeballs armed to the teeth of small but deadly weapons. In battle, the Patapon tribe will only react to the rhythm of a drum which the Mighty Patapon commands. The core game mechanic is to make the player “drum” to the beat of the game using the triangle, x, circle, and square buttons to command the Patapon army and lead them to victory.
I think it’s important to note that the game is only $20.00, and after playing it for the first time on the PSP, I really am quite impressed. I’ve read a couple of reviews about this game and many of them were written differently but said the same thing: this is one of the best games ever made for the PSP by far. So after assessing the price and the reviews, I was quite ecstatic when I started to play the game. The game has a small learning curve, the player is supposed to mimic a drum on the PSP so sound is obviously an important factor here. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play the game without sound, there is a small rectangular frame around the screen that appears and flashes mimicking the beat. You could beat the drum this way but I personally feel it’s better to hear your little minions dancing and fighting and going into Fever mode.
The first level was also a tutorial. The player is taught two drum beats, one to make his army march forward and another to command his army to attack. It works as a call and response similar to real tribal music. The player must drum the beat that will make his army respond, for example the player will drum the march beat and the army will respond to that by marching and singing along to that beat, after their response the player can then initiate another command with another beat. In the first few levels of the game I’m pretty much just marching forward until I see an enemy then I initiate the attack beat. It may sound boring just describing it on paper, but the music in the game is a mix of cutesy (think of Loco Roco or Katamari) and tribal sounds and they blend pretty well together. One cool feature I found in the game is having the Patapons go into Fever mode where they are pretty much unstoppable. Their attack power and defense increases, and if you have the archer type units, they will fire multiple arrows instead of their usual single one. To get into Fever mode you must drum to a climactic part of the drum beat or just get ten drum beats in a row without failing or losing tempo. This mode adds more dimension to the game as the player will want to use Fever mode to defeat his enemies quickly and for some boss battles, fever mode can definitely turn the tide of a losing battle.
After a mission, the Patapons return to their village to celebrate and you, the Mighty Patapon can look around the village by checking inventory, creating new Patapons, or blowing a trumpet to make a gigantic tree dance (which will also give you items). One cool aspect of the Patapons is that if they die in battle, they will leave behind their helmet called a cap. Your other Patapons can grab the cap and if the mission is successful the cap will be brought to the Tree of Life called “Mater” in the village and the Patapon will be reborn ready to fight again. However if you don’t claim the cap or say a gigantic creature swallows up a Patapon whole, including his cap, then the Patapon will be lost forever. This makes fighting bosses extremely dangerous and the player needs to think strategically to slay the beast.
This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Mar 4th, 2008 at 03:24:12.
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kenister's Patapon (PSP)
Current Status: Playing
GameLog started on: Tuesday 4 March, 2008