Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 4
Rating: E for Everyone
After years of waiting when it was first shown at PSX 2017, the game we have all been highly anticipating is finally here. Patapon 2 Remastered has finally been released into the wild, and it’s time to see if it was worth the wait. Pata-pata-pata-pon!
Violence: Swords, bows, and spears are used to dispatch various enemies. Enemies drop materials used to upgrade and create more Patapons for use in combat.
Crude Humor and Language: Hell is used on occasion in dialogue. Creatures sometimes produce brown and green fart-like clouds when attacked. These clouds will knock out any Patapons in range. A mission involves avoiding falling bird poop.
When it comes to rhythm games, most default to games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and for good reason due to their use of popular instruments and music. This is a shame because games like Patapon are swept to the side when they should be celebrated and considered part of the genre’s best offerings. Patapon 2 Remastered is a delight.
From the launch of the game, the chants of the little one-eyed creatures invade your ears in the most innocent way. That is when they have you. As soon as you hear the little “pata’s,” it will stick with you like an earworm song. All the babbling, cheering and excitement is more infectious than you think.
The story of Patapon 2 is centered around the titular creatures trying to recover their homeland after being wiped out during their pilgrimage to Earthend by a Kraken. After washing ashore on their homeland Patapolis, you as “The Almighty” must lead them, using music to defeat their foes and reclaim their land which has been taken over by the tribe calling themselves Karmen. Could these Karmen be the worst of their problems or is there something more sinister at play here?
Gameplay in Patapon 2 consists of performing songs on drums mapped to the face buttons. Square is pata, Circle is pon, Triangle is Chaka, and X is Don. These songs are four beats long and last for the same duration. You enter pata-pata-pata-pon and the Patapons will march forward. Chaka-chaka-pata-pon will make them take a defensive decision. Pon-pon-pata-pon is the attack chant. The beat is displayed and synced with a flashing border around the screen. Timing the beat with the songs in succession will trigger Fever, mode where attack and defense power are amped up.
However, how long it takes to trigger this depends on precise timing. I have had Fever happen sometimes after three songs and sometimes after nine. Sometimes, I will have entered and lost it because my timing was off just enough to not keep it going. The song will have been successful, just not good enough to let me keep my streak. It can be really frustrating, especially when being thrown for a loop after a beat I could have sworn was on cue but was not. This led to precious time and attack power wasted because I could not regain my rhythm again, as the game would not let me regain my momentum. Thankfully, the missions are short—each one finishes in less than ten minutes—so they are great for a quick jaunt. And if I was ever unsure on what song to use next, I could hold the Options button to see which button combinations did which command. Sadly, this means there is no way to pause the game. If I had to stop to take care of something, my Patapons were under attack and defenseless if enemies were nearby. Even if they were not, their expressions would be filled with contempt when I got back. It is crazy how expressive one eye can be.
Even when I had issues getting back on beat after messing up, it was usually my fault because I would get distracted by some other thought that popped into my brain. I think this is a testament to the gameplay, as the adorable sounds would lull me into a trance. Button presses and timing were almost second nature without any hesitation, and if I did hesitate I would be off beat. Any attempts to play command song off beat would result in such things as unenthused soldiers and units tripping all over themselves. Things are certainly helped by how simple it is to play.
Everything else outside of the missions is the opposite. As with any game about raising an army, I had to strengthen my ranks and level up my one-eyed friends. All of this is done by earning the main currency “Ka-ching” and various resources like bones and meat in missions. These upgrades have an affect on how strong they are, what resistances they have, and the elements they can use in combat. While these are what to expect from the genre, what I did not expect was how little would be explained when it was introduced. I would not know that I could both level up a base unit and take it further down the evolution tree. I thought I could only go down the line and did not discover this was not how it worked until I really read what it said. I was not expecting any hand-holding, but some guidance would have been nice.
When it comes to games that get mentioned and forgotten, Patapon is the exact kind it comes to mind. Filled with trance inducing gameplay and adorable world, Patapon 2 Remastered is a rhythm game that came in and got me right when I was not expecting it. With something as simple as pressing the face buttons, almost anyone can pick up and play this and get some enjoyment out of it. Even with some mild complaints, I still enjoyed myself. Whether you range from lots to little skill keeping the beat, Patapon 2 Remastered should make its way to your music stand.
The Bottom Line
Lots of rhythm or not, you should pata-pata-pata-pon your way on over to download this game.