SCE Japan Studio 
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Genre(s)||Rhythm game, god game|
Patapon (パタポン?) is a video game published for the PlayStation Portable handheld game console combining gameplay features of a rhythm game and a god game. The title is created from two Japanese onomatopoeia, pata (marching) and pon (drumming). The game is presented in a cartoonish, silhouetted two-dimensional environment, and features the player acting as a deity who commands an army of caricatured miniature tribal creatures by beating traditional talking drums. The game was developed by Pyramid and produced by Japan Studios.
Patapon is a video game that the player controls in a manner similar to rhythm games. The player is put in direct control of a tribe of Patapon warriors; to command the warriors, the player inputs specific sequences using the face buttons on the PSP, each representing a "talking drum", in time to a drum rhythm. These sequences order the tribe to move forward on the linear battlefield, attack, defend, and other actions. If the player inputs an unknown sequence or enters them off the main rhythm, the tribe will become confused and stop whatever they are doing. However, repeatedly entering a proper sequence in sync with the rhythm will lead the tribe into a "Fever" increasing their attack and defensive bonuses. The tribe will stop doing anything after performing the last entered command if the player does not enter any more commands. For example, some commands are square, square, square, circle (Pata, Pata, Pata, Pon.), which has them march forward and circle, circle, square, circle (Pon, Pon, Pata, Pon.), which makes them attack.
The game is divided into several missions. Prior to each mission, the player can recruit new troops and assemble formations, equip troops with weapons and armor gained from the spoils of war or crafted from certain minigames. The player can return to an earlier mission to acquire additional resources and equipment to build up their troops before a larger battle.
The Patapon Tribe were flourishing people until they experienced many tragic losses and later on, they were maltreated by the Zigoton Empire (although Ormen Karmen of the Karmen Tribe originally defeated them and overtook the Patapole Palace). The player takes the role of their god, the "Almighty", and uses sacred war drums (Pata, Pon, Chaka, Don) to direct the Patapons to recover their land. As the story progresses, the Patapons embark on a journey to Earthend to look upon "IT", a sacred object whose appearance is unknown to the tribe and its purpose is to grant the Patapons eternal contentment and true happiness. The enemy of the Patapons is the evil Zigoton Empire, a powerful tribe of slightly squarish creatures with red-and-black eyes (as opposed to the white-and-black-eyed Patapons) that have oppressed the Patapons since their fall from power. It becomes apparent later in the game that the Zigotons' have their own prophecy which tells that when the Patapons finally sees and gazes at "IT", the world will fall into chaos. Towards the end of the game, many of the main Zigoton warriors sell their souls to the dark forces in an attempt to gain more power. Eventually Queen Kharma, ruler of the Zigotons, sells her soul in a final attempt to destroy the Patapons. When she was defeated, the Patapons have to kill Gorl, the demon that once threatened the world. Once defeated, the 3 Yaripons from the beginning arrive at the coast, which they assumed to be Earthend, and see the rising sun, which they assume to be "IT". However, unfulfilled by the anticlimactic end of their journey, they come to the conclusion that "IT" is, in fact, not the sun and to realize their destiny, they must cross the ocean to the real Earthend and continue their quest. At the end of the game, there is a scene in which the Patapons and the Zigotons are working together to build a boat to cross the sea.
On January 25, 2008. a playable demo was announced by the Patapon's associate producer Chris Hinojosa-Miranda via the official PlayStation blog. He revealed that the demo would be available for those who pre-ordered a copy of Patapon through GameStop. It has since been released as a downloadable demo for those in Europe and North America through the PlayStation Store. Progress made in the demo version of Patapon (including the acquiring of a special demo-only weapon, The Spear of Protection) is transferable to the full retail release so players can resume progress from where they left off in the demo.
On July 9, 2008, a sequel was announced. The game was released on UMD on November 27, 2008 in Japan and on February 13, 2009 in Europe. The North American version was released May 5, 2009 as a digital format download from the PlayStation Store. People who reserved a copy of the game at a retail store were given a voucher to download it off the PlayStation Store. The game features new bosses and new units, a multiplayer mode and the appearance of a new tribe.
IGN rated the game 9.2/10, and considers Patapon, "not only one of the best rhythm games ever released, it's also one of the best titles for the PSP." GameSpot gave Patapon a 9.0/10 citing its excellent art design and innovative gameplay. 1UP.com gave the game an A, noting its understated strategic depth despite the game's faults. Metacritic has an aggregate score of 87/100. The game has sold 229,000 copies in North America by January 2009.
GameSpot nominated this game in "Best of 2008" awards. It was nominated in "Best Graphic, Artistic", "Best original music", "Best original game mechanic", "Most innovative game", "Best original IP", "Best Rhythm/Music game", "Best PSP game" and won 2 of these awards.
GameSpot's "Best of 2008":
- Best original music
- Most innovative game
IGN's "Best of 2008 Awards":
- Best Music/Rhythm Game
- Best Artistic Design
- Best Original Score
- Best New IP
- PSP Game of the Year
- Bust a Groove, 1998 music/fighting game with similar gameplay.
- Kuchi shōga, a Japanese phonetic system for pronouncing the sounds of drums.
- Patapon 2
- Patapon 3
- PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, a game that has a Patapon influenced stage.
- "Pata-me, Pata-you, Patapon news". 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
- "Patapon Demo". Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "Patapost Friday: Demo-pon, Pata-Details". 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "IGN: Patapon". 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
- "Gamespot: Patapon". 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- "1UP: Review: Patapon". 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
- "Metacritic: Patapon". 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- Matthews, Matt (2009-02-25). "Behind The Charts: The Portable Rhythm Game Jam". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
- Patapon at MobyGames
- Patapon U.S. website
- Patapon Japanese Website
- Official Flash game to promote the release of Patapon in Europe, New Zealand and Australia