I am a real sucker for rhythm games, but that cannot be said for my younger years. When Patapon released back in 2008, I was not drawn to the game at all. 2008 was Matric year and I had better things to do than smashing some buttons to the tune of a drum. Well, that changed over the years, as now I love a good old rhythm game. Patapon Remastered is the PS4 version of the classic PSP game and I can confidently say that it is probably one of the greatest rhythm games around and it made me regret missing out on the PSP version back in the day.
In true native 4K on the PS4 Pro, with a remastered soundtrack and some fantastic 2D visuals to go along with the package, I was immediately drawn into the experience and even after I was done I still hummed some of the combos in my mind. I was so immersed by Patapon that I could not help but let it take over my entire being.
Patapon is a simple concept. You take on the role of a godly being who controls these one-eyed black creatures with the sound of music. Now before you go all Julie Andrews on me, the sounds are simple and one key tone to them, but thanks to the back beat, the creatures singing along with you, and the various combos that you need to pull off in order to make them move, attack, and defend, it all comes together like a well-tuned song. The Patapons have been driven away from their home by the Zigoton, who clearly don't have any sort of taste for music, and their musical god has vanished along with the magical drums that these creatures worship.
You take the responsibility of finding these drums and taking over the role of their almighty by fighting back against the Zigotons. Each drum resembles a button on the DualShock 4 and each button becomes a tune. As you venture across over 20 levels, these drums then become the Patapon's beacon of hope as you learn new songs to combo together by using each drum. The Patapons follow your commands and different buttons do various things.
When I started the game a simple square, square, square, circle would create the iconic Pata Pata Pata Pon, which in turn would move these creatures across the screen. Then I learnt Pon Pon Pata Pon, which instructed them to attack. Later on, I learnt to defend my troops of Patapons which another command song. All these tunes come in handy throughout the game and the more I progressed through it, the better handle on these commands I had. I knew when to defend when to attack, and the Zigoton's movements to counter all this.
The challenging part of Patapon is keeping up with the tune in the game. As there is a beat that plays throughout each level, you have time your commands to them. Miss a beat and you will fail at your chain, and your Patapons will not follow through with the command which you missed. When you successfully trigger ten commands in a row your Patapons will enter a “fever” mode which will increase their attack speed, attack range and cause a frenzy on the battlefield. The hard part to this is that the beat sign goes missing here so you really need to focus on the tune in order to carry on commanding them while they are in this enhanced attack mode.
When I was not in a mission gathering resources or fighting off the Zigotons, then I was managing my Patapon team, creating new ones, equipping them with gear, and just overall doing admin things to make sure my squad was on point when I went on a mission. Resources are used to create new Patapons from the tree of life, and the rarer the resource, the better the stats of the little guy will be.
The issue I had is that the drop rates for these items were never clear in the game. I would head into hunting missions to try and gather meat but ended up leaving the mission without anything in the bag. This does not mean that it breaks the game, but I would have had a much stronger troop of Patapons if I knew where to get specific items and how.
Patapon is a music game at its core and everything in it has a great sense of personality. The Patapons live for your beat, and even the title's minigames have the same sort of love put into them. Blowing a trumpet to mimic a tree's tune in order to get items was a great way to pass the time and do something other than run across the screen during a mission. The sheer amount of micromanaging that goes into your team post-mission is a great break from the foot-tapping action that Patapon has on offer.
After a couple of hours, the game was over but the option to go back and farm for resources and replay those missions with new commands was always there. Patapon Remastered is a stunning musical feat that truly shines on the PS4 Pro. The game is best played on the loudest volume, preferably loud enough to irritate your neighbours. It will have you pata pata pata pon-ing all day.
Take a look at 10 minutes of 4K gameplay below as I play through some of the early missions in the game.
Available On: PS4 | Reviewed on: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 1 August 2017 | RRP: TBA