Patapon 2: 5 Hours and 26 Minutes Later

Not Metroid Prime

Well, I really wanted to have a marathon play session of Metroid Prime. I just felt like a console title would work better for Backlog Week, and last time did get me to play more Assassin’s Creed than I ever have would normally. Still, despite my getting-things-stolen abilities, I was able to choose Patapon 2 over Lunar, and log a few hours in this week.

For the billions of you that don’t own a PSP, Patapon is the bizarre little franchise that uses a combination of rhythm, strategy, and RPG-elements to create a vibrant, unique adventure. It’s full of energy and weird little songs that drive the entire concept of the title. There’s a lot to love about the game, it has charm and personality out the wazoo, and it’s ridiculously addictive as well. Still, I find myself a little lost at points although I’m told the sequel is far more clear in explaining its mechanics.

First, the good. Patapon 2 looks great. The backgrounds are fantastical and the enemy design is equally wonderful and strange. None of that is to mention the hordes of jumping Patapons and enemies without a hiccough in the frame rate to speak of. The music is tribal and fun-loving at the same time; able to make the rhythm-based gameplay easy to understand while still giving each cue its own personality. Also, so far I’m already seeing signs of how just having a few simple commands can translate into strategy that will greatly influence the result of every mission. The split second decisions before entering the next command based on enemy patterns and subtle differences in Patapon behavior make the gameplay exciting and satisfying. Finally, as a RPG fanatic, I love constantly updating the Patapons’ equipment and seeing how far I can level up in the evolution tree.

Woah! You can get birds?!

However, that’s also when I get a little confused. I get that I need different resources to level up, but unless I’m missing an obvious mechanic or tutorial, it’s a little unclear in telling me which missions will provide what types of drops. Maybe I need to research that myself, and that’s fine, but the names of all the different colours of bones and fangs is a little confusing. In that vein, I love that there are all sorts of hint pages, but when they just involve about 6 different names of Patapon evolutions, it doesn’t help much. I’m not going to remember the difference between Hatepon and Popopon and Takepon and Kamepon. I’m making those up, but I’m sure most of them actually exist, and even if I had the whole tree memorized, I’m not sure if leveling up one form helps another form become more powerful, or if I should be hording my resources. Don’t get me wrong, resource harvesting is a blast, and Patapon 2 does a good job of changing up old missions so that it’s not the exact same thing over and over again, but I’d still like to know if I’m being entirely inefficient.

Anyway, despite being a bit lost on some keys points, I absolutely love Patapon 2. It’s wildly addicting, looks great, and has a great personality to boot. Not only that, but I can tell that I’m just starting to get a grasp on what’s to come. PON PON PATA PON!

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