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Quis custodiet?

Who watches the Patapon?

At first glance, Patapon appears unsophisticated –a Flash game that grew a tad too big for its britches was my initial assessment — and its main appeal seems to be its veneer of J-cute.

For a 2D game, though, it has surprising depth.

Patapon is a beat-based game, a genre that’s new to me. I had meant to try Taiko No Tatsujin Portable but lingering doubts about my ability to decipher gameplay nuances put me off getting the Japanese PSP game. LocoRoco, on the other hand, was too damn cute and precious for my liking.

Though the Patapons can be a little cloying at times, they are, at heart, badass. You simply have to admire a tribe of warriors who are willing to go toe to toe with a dragon especially when said warriors lack depth perception. You see, each Patapon is a walking, talking eyeball. Deprived of binocular cues, the Patapons rely on someone to watch over them. That someone would be you. You are the Mighty Patapon, their god and saviour. At least until the PSP’s battery runs out. At that point, you go back to being a nobody. Like that has-been, Zeus. Religion is complicated like that.

To command the Patapons, you listen to the pulse of the land, get into the rhythm and pound magical drums. You start with simple commands like move forward and attack then unlock additional commands like defend and dodge. String these commands together astutely during battle, and even the mightiest of foes will fall before your valiant Patapons. Miss a beat and your subjects do a pratfall or wet themselves.

War is complicated like that.

Posted in Games, PSP.


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