Battle to the drum beat in Patapon Remastered

The Patapons respond to familiar drum rhythms and, by hitting specific four-beat sequences, you will rally and lead them to war.
The Patapons respond to familiar drum rhythms and, by hitting specific four-beat sequences, you will rally and lead them to war.PHOTO: SONY

If you own a PlayStation Portable or Vita, you would have heard about Patapon.

First released in 2007, the series spawned two sequel titles in 2008 and 2010. Now, nearly a decade later, the debut title of the series is finally enhanced for PlayStation's current console.

The premise of the game is simple - you play as a deity of a lost tribe of eyeball-shaped figures known as Patapons. They respond to familiar drum rhythmsand, by hitting specific four-beat sequences, you will rally and lead them to war.

Each controller face button is assigned to one of the sacred war drums (Pata, Pon, Chaka and Don).

For example, hitting Square- Square-Square-Circle translates to Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon, which rallies them to march forward.

Hitting Circle-Circle-Square-Circle means Pon-Pon-Pata-Pon, which instructs them to attack. If the momentum is broken, the Patapons would lose their footing and faith in you.

The idea is to string together 10 sequences of perfect four-beat key presses so that your minions can attain Fever Mode. As long as Fever Mode is active, you will be accorded buffs such as attack and defence bonuses.

  • RATING:  8/10

    PRICE: $19.60 (PS4 exclusive)

    GENRE: Rhythm strategy

There are essentially three types of missions that can be unlocked and replayed. The first is hunting, an activity to scour for resources, enabling you to replenish lost subjects or conjure up stronger troops based on the loot. The second, going to battle, will have you up against the Zigotons, an enemy race of square-shaped eyeballs. It is also a great opportunity to train against a mildly responsive threat, and a way to acquire more treasure. The third type of missions, boss fights, is the most challenging since there are various towering creatures to face, each with its own attack patterns.

You have to diligently switch between issuing commands to advance, attack or adopt a defensive stance. As a deity, you can also cast spells to assist your army in battle.

The artistic style of the game is also a highlight, with the simple silhouettes of the Patapons set against a vibrant landscape awash with various gradients of colour.

For instance, different shades of purple in the background depict a dark and dank landscape in one stage, while shades of orange convey a blistering desert in another.

The icing on this rhythm game is its soundtrack. Once your thumbs become attuned to the beat of the drums, the catchy tunes are pleasing to hear, even if you are just an observer. Just be mindful not to distract the player - it's not an easy feat to juggle the command and maintain the tempo. Once the mission is completed, the sound of bagpipes at the end as your troops march back home makes the victory feel sweeter.

However, this remastered version is not flawless. There are some pre-rendered cut-scenes that appear grainy, while the audio sounds a little soft. I had to turn up the volume or put on a headset in order to focus better.

Feature-wise, you get the same game as the original, albeit this one is enhanced for big-screen HDTV sets. Being the same game also means there is no autosave function. While players can utilise various save files, it may cause them to lose valuable progress.

This version also does not recognise past game saves that you might have. Neither does it have a cross-buy feature. But while there is no way to transfer my trophies from an earlier version, I had no problems replaying from the beginning. The adventures in Patapon are never dull.

• Verdict: Patapon Remastered is a PlayStation handheld gem that is enjoyable to play and offers great gameplay value at a decent price.

• Nizam Mohd is a freelance writer

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Battle to the drum beat in Patapon Remastered'. Print Edition | Subscribe