Patapon Hands-On Preview
Patapon box art
System: PSP Review Rating Legend
Dev: Interlink Studio (SONY) 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SCEA (SONY) 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 26, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

January 28, 2008 - Sony was nice enough to send Cheat Code Central a demo copy of their innovative new title, Patapon. Patapon is the brainchild of the development team that brought us LocoRoco. The game looks amazing. The unique characters, circular trees, and curving, organic lines had my wife gushing with excitement. The gameplay is like nothing you've ever played. It can best be described as a rhythm-based RTS that has you organizing battles and upgrading your armies while guiding them to victory with the beat of your war drum. Gameplay is challenging, quirky, and addictive. We can't wait to see how the full release turns out!

Patapon screenshot

Life has been tough for the Patapon race. The tribe of proud warriors has been exiled to the wild frontier of the world by the evil Zigoton army. Since their banishment they have eked out an existence in relative obscurity, waiting for the day when the "Almighty" would return to lead them back to their former glory. As it turns out, you are the "Almighty." They see you as their long lost deity who will guide them to victory over the blasted Zigotons and help them to reclaim their lost homeland. You'll take up the sacred drums of war and lead your cute, little minions into battle.


Your job as the "Almighty" is to guide your Patapon warriors by giving them specific commands with your drum. The beats are mapped to the four face buttons of the PSP. The triangle, circle, x, and square buttons are chaka, pon, don, and pata respectively. Sorry, but you won't be able to use the analog stick to move your troops. On the contrary, you'll actually have to issue a movement command exclusively via your drumbeats. This combo is pata, pata, pata, pon or square, square, square, then circle. As you progress through the title, you will acquire more and more button combinations which correspond to new drum commands. These commands include forward movement, attack, defense, power up, retreat, and magic. Gameplay is a bit tricky at first until the beat combinations flow naturally from you. After a while you'll get the hang of it, and the fun rolls out of the game as the music blasts forth from your fingertips.

There were a number of cool units from which to choose. I especially liked the mounted cavalry, but you could also select standard warriors like spearmen and archers. The prospect of playing with magical units in the full version should be a real treat. Supposedly there will be over 100 items to be found and incorporated into play, so I'm sure there will also be a large number of varied units to increase the strategic element of the game.

Patapon screenshot

The presentation is truly remarkable. Sony has enlisted the talents of renowned French graphic artist, Rolito, to create the whimsical 2D art style employed by the title. The Patapons and the Zigotons look like cute, little eyeballs with stick appendages that will completely amuse you with their spears, shields, and headdresses. The backgrounds and the huge bosses are all made up of interesting shapes and simple colors that come together in a way that is unforgettable. The visuals are very simple, but they look amazing. Equally as important to the presentation are the sounds. You'll have to beat your drums in time to the original score in order to be successful. In fact, if you can pull off a series of commands without missing a beat, your little warriors will actually become more powerful. If done correctly, you'll be rockin' and rollin' as you march through the wacky missions and funky quest.

The full game will feature over 30 missions that span a variety of settings such as deserts, swamps, volcanoes, mountains, and gorges. These missions will pit you and your faithful followers against beasts, armies, and massive boss creatures. Before every mission, you will have to outfit your tribe with the appropriate weapons and armor, as well as upgrade their skills to new Patapon levels and types. By collecting various resources and rare weapons, you'll be able to mold your lowly tribe into a potent fighting force. In addition to the various upgrades that you'll employ, you will also have to strategically place your troops in order to guile your enemies into precarious positions. The rhythmic action is challenging, addictive, and distinct.

Patapon screenshot

This title is utterly unique. It truly is like nothing you've played before. The presentation is wonderful, and the music, chants, and drumbeats will have you tapping your toes for hours after you've finished gaming. This quirky adventure is a single player journey for you to enjoy on your PSP. There won't be any online multiplayer, but there will be five unique mini-games to challenge your inner percussionist. The innovative play is sure to strike a chord (or beat a drum) with a large and loyal fan base. Look for Patapon to make waves in late February.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director

Game Features:

  • Rhythm and Action Collide - Master up to six different drumbeats to command the Patapon troops to march, attack, defend, power up, retreat, and use magic. Combine the various chains of drumbeats to address each unique level, leading the Patapons to victory over the Zigoton enemy forces.
  • Strategic Gaming - Patapon delivers a strong element of strategy by requiring players to properly customize and build up the Patapon army, arm each soldier with particular weapons and armor, and position them correctly for battle.
  • Mission Variety - Take part in more than 30 specific missions including hunting, escort, and boss battles, and explore numerous vivid environments along the way. Players will discover and access more than 100 items and weapons throughout the adventure.
  • Unique Art Style - French graphic artist Rolito, noted for his abstract art style seen in collectible toys, animation, and websites, lends his skills to create a variety of unique characters and environments, bringing the Patapon world to life.
  • Mini-Games - Five music-based minigames allow players to earn bonuses and upgrades to further customize the Patapon warriors.
  • Music - Captivating and dramatic original music builds dynamically as players march and encounter enemy battles throughout each level.

  • Screenshots / Images
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