PSP Review: Patapon 3

The Patapon tribe return for a 3rd time, but should their journey end here?

I haven’t played a Patapon game before and I was more than a little confused when I started playing the latest. For those in a familiar boat, Patapon 3 is a rhythm based action game where you lead a number of characters by tapping out commands on the PSP in time with the beat. By doing this you can advance, charge, defend, retreat, jump, attack and block. Luckily the commands are listed on the screen at all times for those who can’t remember what command does what.

The brave Patapon tribe cross the recently constructed bridge at the end of Patapon 2. A mysterious box lies in their path and they combine their efforts to break it open. They successfully break open the box to release… the seven evil spirits! All the Patapons are turned to stone except for Hatapon. He has escaped the tragedy and finds a silver Hoshipon at the bottom of the box which gives him a new power to defeat the evil spirits: Superhero Patapon.

The game is set up with missions to pass and as you complete them, you get new items to equip and upgrade for use in battle, which will make later missions a lot easier. I didn’t get the concept at first, but once I grasped it, it all became second nature. It starts out by holding your hand a bit to get you acquainted with what to do in any given situation, but then it becomes quite challenging and addictive as you try and complete mission after mission.

Those who know how to keep a beat in music should have no difficulty in doing so with Patapon 3, but those with no rhythm might have a few problems getting used to playing. There’s also an online co-op mode and competitive multiplayer for upto 8 players, which I honestly didn’t expect from a game like this and they are both highly enjoyable.

Patapon 3 has a unique art style that really makes it stand out from other PSP games, but I think it could have looked a bit better in certain areas. Sound effects are a mixed bag, as is the music…but I’m sure younger gamers will enjoy it more than I did.

The Verdict

Patapon 3 is fun, addictive but perhaps too challenging for younger gamers. It’s a decent game with solid co-op and competitive modes and a nice visual style, although it might prove too odd for mainstream gamers.