Beneath its charming exterior is a complex, deep game. Patapon is not as simple as its childish graphics may lead on. The dying tribe of the Patapon need their God to command them, and after a mysterious absence, you are ready to return to their lives and lead them.
We've been spending some time with a localized near-final version of this PSP exclusive, and we have to say we're impressed. We wouldn't expect any less from the team that brought us LocoRoco. It's hard to pinpoint a genre to this innovative title, as it fuses elements from the music and strategy genre. At its core, it's a rhythm title, as you're required to input commands using various drums at your disposal. At first, you only have two: the Pata and the Pon drums. By inputting notes on the beat, players will be able to command their growing Patapon army. For example, by pressing Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon, the creatures will advance forwards. Then, attacks can be executed by inputting Pon-Pon-Pata-Pon.
There are a number of drum entires possible, and we've yet to learn them all. Eventually, you'll be able to tell the Patapon to hold, or retreat. We're certain that more advanced moves will be unearthed when we unlock the other drums. (Each drum is assigned to a face button, for four drums in all.) Crucial to successful gameplay is keeping with the beat. As you input commands in sequence, the combo meter increases. When a 10 combo is reached, the Patapon enter Fever mode, which greatly increases their killing power. The spears they throw, for example, can traverse from one side of the screen to the other (as seen in the image above). Timing is crucial, as telling the Patapon to advance at the inopportune moment can lead to a number of unfortunate deaths.