What You Should Be Talking About: Patapon

“PATA PATA PATA PON!” the general commands to his troops as they chuck spears at the imposing dragon blocking their path. It groans and lurches forward, smacking your battalion of soldiers with his humongous maw. It’s not wholly unlike the Battle of Thermopalye if King Leonidas and his Spartans were mostly eyeball.

Patapon

Weakpoint, Massive Damage, etc., etc. (Image courtesy of GPara)

Patapon made about a five second appearance at Sony’s E3 conference, a very small chunk of the PSP video montage they showed. Blink and you could’ve missed it. It’s still a mystery why Sony chose not to elaborate upon it or even formally announce the game, but even that itsy bitsy snippet was instantly appealing to those that caught it. The clean, stylized 2d graphics might remind you of LocoRoco, but Patapon is a shade darker and you’ll be fighting, not rolling, your way through each stage.

Patapon smacks of originality. It’s quirky and surprisingly elaborate visual styling is accompanied by a very rare brand of gameplay. From what little Sony has actually let us see, it comes off as a sort of side-scrolling RTS with light role-playing elements and a bevy of different “squads” and weapons to choose from.

Rhythm is reported to play a big role in dictating the attacks that your eyeball army can perform and staying in time with the beat will allow you to execute those maneuvers with both power and grace. Think of yourself as the little drummer boy. Though a separate E3 trailer was released and flew equally under the radar, it lacks background music, which is surely integral to the final product.

I wish there was more to say about Patapon at this time. Thankfully, it seems that we’ll get some more details on the game (maybe even hands-on impressions) at the Tokyo Game Show over the next few days. Regardless, it’s one of those titles that is symbolic of Sony’s newfound willingness to take risks. Remember that Patapon comes from a company that outright rejected games in previous generations for being two-dimensional. But with faux-innovative gimmicks like WiiFit out there soaking up public attention, I figured it was only right to do my part and give a little gem like Patapon some more exposure.

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~ by Cavin Smith on September 19, 2007.

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