Patapon 2 Impressions
The Patapon go marching on. Pon, Pon, Patapon!
Sony is no stranger in adapting crazy Japanese-inspired games for U.S. shores. LocoRoco 2 just hit shelves last week and is already garnering rave reviews from the industry. Now following in its footsteps is another sequel, this one featuring the return of the vibrant Patapon clan. Patapon 2 promises more of the same rhythmic battling action, along with a few changes that should make it a superior sequel.
When last we left the Patapon, they finally completed their boat and made their way to a whole new world of adventure. Unfortunately, a kraken came along and tore their vessel to shreds, washing the clan upon a new island occupied by a rival tribe called the Kamepon. It's up to the Patapon to take on these enemies in a series of battles, eventually learning who their true enemy is along the way.
If you're familiar with the first game, then you should be no stranger to Patapon 2. You control the tribe through a series of rhythmic drum poundings, which you execute with button presses on the D-pad. You'll need to have perfect timing to these presses, as that's how your tribe stays motivated in the heat of combat. This isn't a straight-up button masher, however. There's some logic on how you approach each battle, and this is where the new classes come into play.
Patapon 2 introduces three new units. The first is the Toripon. This is an aerial unit that rides on top of birds. They throw spears and provide cover for the Patapon ranged units. The second is the powerful Robopon, a brawler unit that bashes enemies with its dual fists. It also has a rock throwing technique that works in correspondence with a Charge Song attack, as you must press correct buttons to successfully activate it. Once it's set, however, it's a force very few can withstand. The final unit is the Mahopon, which is a mildly weaker (but still effective) version of the Megapon. This group provides blessings to the battle clan, keeping them charged in battle. However, they're heavily susceptible to attacks, since they don't wear protective helmets. In addition, the Heropon clan has some improvements. It's a unit that learns the habits of other classes and combines them with a special move that can damage even the strongest of foes.
Visuals and audio-wise, Patapon 2 doesn't differ too much from the first game. However, that's not entirely a bad thing. The music is still jumpy and vibrant, from what we've heard so far in the demo. The Patapon chants may get on the nerves of a few select players ("Pon Pon Patapon!", repeat), but overall it's good quality. The graphics look great too, with a wide variety of lusciously designed backgrounds and plenty of cute little 2-D animations.
In addition to a boisterous single player campaign, Patapon 2 also supports multiplayer action. Up to four players can take part in a four-player competition through AdHoc (no word on Infrastructure). Here, players need to battle each other for the possession of certain eggs, which enable special abilities within each group. The multiplayer is set up in ground combat, so the clans can battle each other to see who wins these eggs. It sounds like it could be fun, and we can't wait to check it out.
Overall, Patapon 2 doesn't change the formula of the first, but sometimes that's the point of a sequel, to just keep the good times rolling. Be sure to check back in May when we let you know if these Patapon are purchasing. Pon Pon Patapon!