LocoRoco had massive amounts of hype, but fell flat during a time when the PSP needed another Lumines. But the developers of LocoRoco are back with a new title called Patapon, a mix of rhythm game, RPG and RTS that's even more beautiful than its predecessor.
Oh, and apparently it's amazingly good.
So hit the jump for our Frankenreview on Patapon—every review you need to read before deciding that it's time to dust off that PSP after all.
Your band of Patapon are controlled by issuing commands, which are nothing more than rhythm-based drumming performed with the four main PSP buttons. Want to move your Patapon forward? Press square-square-square-circle. Want to attack? Press circle-square-square-circle. Your ability to maintain perfect rhythm while issuing a variety of commands is the essence of Patapon. Now add to this mix that you have three types of Patapon, including close-combat axe-wielders, mid-range spear-throwers, and long-range archers and you now have strategic elements to consider...
It might sound a bit burdensome, especially if you don't usually get your kicks from strategy games, but this is not a game that gets bogged down in the details. You will have to do some management between levels, but the interface is clean and fun to use. Furthermore, the battles themselves are a delight, and using music to perform all of the commands is such a unique and enjoyable experience that just about anyone can get into it.
While music is the blood of "Patapon," the game's art direction, which combines cartoon silhouettes with a shadow-puppet look at times, helps make it captivating. The screen fills with these little one-eyed creatures as a gamer progresses through 30 levels, culminating in sweeping battles that are nearly as fun to watch as they are to orchestrate.
Patapon is like a cleverly designed trojan horse, built to sucker you in with cute graphics and then beat you down with its primal, rhythmic challenge. It's great fun, but you may find it tough to actually play the game on the go considering the amount of attention it requires.
Patapon is unlike any game that has come before it, and with a retail price that's half of what many PSP games sell for, our recommendation of this ingenious recipe that has been masterfully realised is a no-brainer.
It's good to see software titles that do the PSP's excellent hardware some justice. At $US 20, it seems like a must-buy.