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TGS hands-on: Patapon

Jem Alexander

Patapon, a PSP title which we've seen very little of so far, is proving a great hit at the Tokyo Game Show. With a line that was sometimes longer than Metal Gear Online we were curious to see what all the fuss was about. Finally we braved the Dreaded Public and got our hands on the goods.

Stepping into the Patapon enclosure a Sony booth attendee talked us through the gist of the game. We couldn't understand some of the Japanese, though we did enjoy it whenever she sang instructions to us. "Pon pon pata pon ... pata pata pata pon." Lovely.

Your tribe of one-eyed worshippers are required to go from one end of the level to the other (with two levels in the demo on the show floor). The only method of getting them there is to command them to act by performing different beats with the circle and square buttons, which correspond to the sounds "pata" and "pon", respectively. By stringing combinations of these two sounds together your minions will perform different actions.

For the demo two combinations are available. "Pon pon pata pon" will make your tribesmen attack anything that is in front of you whilst "pata pata pata pon" moves them further through the level. The buttons must be pressed in rhythm and, when linked together without error, add to your combo meter.

The demo suggests that the game gets much deeper, with more commands to enter, interactions with the environment and characters to join your tribe. Our team of three spear throwers was expanded with the addition of a sword-wielding cyclops which proved much stronger in battle. Additions such as these can potentially add so much to the tactical nature of the game.

We still have many questions about Patapon with regards to its expandability and feature list. Currently there's a danger of the game becoming a bit repetitive. Despite that, we're intrigued to see more and look forward to doing so in the near future.

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