Review: Patapon Remastered (PS4)

Review: Patapon Remastered (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Portable

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Patapon Remastered
Format: PSN (671.6 MB)
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Original PSP Release Date: December 20, 2007
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Japan Studio / Pyramid
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 535 of the podcast.

Gameplay:
Pon-Pon-Pata-Pon. Nearly a decade ago, the rhythmic beat of the Patapons came to life on the PlayStation Portable. The stripped down graphical design and unique rhythm hook earned the game a heap of praise, two sequels, and a few Flash games.

This was one of those lost gems of the PSP, and now it’ll finally get its day in the sun. So how does it hold up? Quite well actually.

There’s an entire mythology built up and a full story in the game which is essentially centered around the fact the you, as the player, are the Almighty Patapon, sent to help the Patapons on their quest to find “IT” across more than thirty missions.

The main thrust of the game is to command the Patapon armies and move them from left to right across the screen. This is done by tapping a sequence of buttons in time with the rhythmic beat constantly playing in the background. If you mess up the sequence, or even miss a button, the Patapons will become confused and fall back awaiting your next command.

Keeping up the rhythm pays big dividends though because if you hit ten patterns in a row the adorably murderous little eyeballs on screen will enter Fever mode which will give them a buff for a period of time. It’s a nice carrot held out to the player enticing you to keep in the flow. It’s also not going to be easy because six different combos are added over the course of the game and keeping track of them can mess with your mind and fingers.

Before each mission you’ll have the chance to rearrange your lines and equip individual members of your army. The stats given are pretty detailed and can be overwhelming but if all else fails you can just hit a button to optimize each group, letting the AI take care of everything.

It can be really important to get things right as the game gets progressively harder and having the right equipment and even placement of the different classes can become critical to your success. Between missions you’ll also be able to create new classes of Patapon and revive any killed in battle provided you have the cap they dropped and enough of the materials needed.

The rhythm game is the core of the experience and getting a grip on each of the different patterns, what they do, and when to deploy them is the key to success. Fortunately you can practice between missions by going hunting. This also nets you some needed supplies so it’s always a good idea to do it every now and then anyway.

We were told at E3 that getting these games ported is relatively easy. A single developer can do the initial code migration in about two weeks. After that it’s all about cleanup, button mapping, and QA. Clearly though there was some effort put into this port as it looks and plays beautifully.

Visuals:
The few cutscenes in the game look a little rough but the rest is pure crispy goodness. Remastered for 4K and 1080p, it’s smooth as hell. Each stage tends to have a limited color palette, allowing the characters and enemies to stand in stark contrast and just about pop off the screen.

The round eyeball shape of the Patapons is perfection along with everything else on screen. You won’t see a single jagged line anywhere, except maybe those pesky cutscenes.

When you do get more than a few colors, for example when playing the minigame with what is essentially a large singing tree, it feels like a riotous explosion, even in its simplicity.

I did have an issue with one of my HDTV sets where I was unable to adjust the screen boundaries. The edges of the screen, which show a visual representation of the beat, were pushed off screen entirely.

Changing the screen boundaries in the PS4 settings had no effect and there’s no option to adjust this within the game itself. I was able to play it on another TV with no problem but I hope this is something that can be patched soon.

Audio:
This is a rhythm game at heart so I’d venture to say that the audio is pretty important. Nothing was left behind in the port to the PlayStation 4. The whimsical voices of the Patapons are identical to the PSP version and they’re as charming as ever.

You’d think after hours of pounding away at the different commands it would start to grate on your nerves but I never found that to be the case, not in 2007 and definitely not now.

There’s other music to accompany the game and a lot of it sounds influenced by Aboriginal Australians, but then you get to the end of a level and you’re hit with a bagpipe fanfare, and oddly enough, it works. It’s that kind of off the wall melding of cultures and sounds that makes this game the gem that it is.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
The Patapon series of games have been hailed as some of the best on the PlayStation Portable and it’s great to see the original make its way to a wider audience.

When it was at its best, Sony’s first handheld was an incubator for new and unique IP that wasn’t afraid to take risks and this title exemplifies that in spades.

If you never had a PSP, this is your chance to try out one of the best games the system had to offer. For those of you that have played before, you may want to jump back in, because it’s glorious finally seeing the mighty Patapon army marching across your TV.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • George Nash

    I absolutely loved patapon on the PSP. However I got stuck after I got about 4 of the rhythms. I never could finish this game or patapon 2. Maybe its time to give it another try.

  • Dazzelle

    I have the same issue with my tv where the game doesn’t fit and i can’t see the borders flash in time to the beat. Haven’t found any way to fix it.