A VERY BROKEN PORT OF AN OTHERWISE FANTASTIC RHYTHM GAME
Patapon was originally released on PSP and quickly joined PlayStation’s family of exclusives with critical acclaim, garnering a large fanbase. This remaster on PS4, however, suffers from a few issues which all rhythm ports, such as Parappa the Rapper, seem to face.
In spite of that and me being rhythmically stunted, I managed to plat the game. So how was it? And what was my experience like?
Read on to find out…
Patapon Remastered Review
Pata Pata Pata Pon – The Campaign
Patapon sees us taking up the role of God and we use the power of our drum to control a small tribe of “Patapon”. The Patapon’s goal in life is to reach a place called “Earthend” so that they can see “IT”. No word on what “IT” is, but they would like you to use your abilities to help them get there.
The first pattern we learn for the drum is Pata Pata Pata Pon. It’s a pretty vital pattern as when it is played, the Patapon will move forwards for 4 bars. You then need to play the next 4 bars and they will move again.
The whole game follows this pattern. You play the drums for 4 bars and the Patapon perform an action for 4 bars. Using this and many other patterns you can indeed take your Patapon to Earthend. However, there are some nasty squar-ish red patapon standing in your way, these protagonists are known as “Zigotons”.
The Zigotons have an army, many powerful generals, huge forts and even a city and they’ll use every resource within – including magic – to stop you and your Patapon from reaching Earthend.
Thus, throughout the campaign you’ll be fighting them from the left of the map all the way to Earthend, at the right of the map.
Pon Pon Pata Pon – The Gameplay
The patterns in the game are limited, but their uses are plentiful. You have pata pata pata pon for movement, pon pon pata pon to attack, chaka chaka pata pon to defend and don do-don do-don to trigger equippable miracle moves which can do things like changing the weather or stunning enemies for an extended period.
Those are what I would consider the basic patterns, but there are more advanced ones for dodging and charging.
Using any mix of these patterns 10 times in a row will activate “Fever” mode, where your Patapon will attack more and do more damage, the music also becomes louder and more energetic.
When Fever mode activates, though, the change in tune will often throw you off your rhythm as there’s a lot of noise and energy out of nowhere. Holding onto fever mode is also challenging as each command must be entered with near-perfect timing.
Outside of Fever mode, if you press one of the face buttons with perfect timing it’s accompanying drum sound will be louder so that you know you’ve done well. Achieving perfect timing multiple times will trigger Fever much earlier, meaning you can trigger Fever mode after only 2 or 3 commands rather than waiting for 10 commands to be entered, though it is difficult to pull off and takes a lot of practice and getting used to.
So, already, the combat scenarios become quite diverse with the range of actions you can have your Patapon perform, but that’s not all.
There are 6 Patapon types available to the player, which are unlocked through gameplay. Each have their own strengths, weaknesses and uses in different combat scenarios against different enemies.
Even further to that, there are subspecies – if you will – of Patapon each with their own stat boosts, such as increased health or higher attack. It’s a bit of a pot-luck which one you’ll have when you create a new Patapon, but this can easily be farmed to create the ideal army.
Even though there is much diversity in the available units and their abilities, even the weapons and armour they can equip, typically your approach will be dictated by the enemy themselves and there aren’t too many ways to go about the fight which are all that successful.
Also, throughout my playthrough I only used the first 3 unit types, Yaripon (mid-range spear-throwers), Tatepon (warriors), and Yumipon (archers). There were only two quests within the game where I actually had to change this, which is a little disappointing.
When it comes to questing, there are 3 main mission types (with maybe one or two others which appear only once), these are Hunts, Boss Fights and Story Missions.
A Hunt is indicated on the map by a piece of meat. On a hunt you can kill small creatures to gather meat, ka-ching (money) and a few other more rare supplies.
A Boss Fight is a re-playable battle wherein your tribe will face off against a large creature. These are often very difficult, but become easier as your Patapon become stronger… Obviously. One fun thing about these, though, is that once you beat a boss they will level up, making them much stronger the next time you face them. This keeps them relevant and keeps the challenge present, but is also probably just to stop you farming them for rare materials, which they do drop frequently.
And lastly, a Story mission is often a face-off against the Zigoton tribe and usually features some sort of quirk or unique event which requires a special unit or miracle to overcome.
As I’ve mentioned, however, the remaster faces some challenges. The game was originally created for PSP. For a small screen held roughly 30 centimeters away with built-in speakers just as close. With the console edition, though, you need to worry about input lag from the bluetooth controller, the type of speaker you have and where it is situated, the actual TV’s ability to deliver the visuals to you at the same rate that the game is calculating them and the console itself.
I recommend using headphones, switching on the TV’s gaming mode if it has one and finding the ideal distance from your TV for you to follow what’s going on on-screen. Also, if like me you have a PS4 Pro, turn off boost mode, as this actively works to increase the game’s framerate, which is likely tied to how the game calculates the correct input timing and can mess things up for you.
Chaka Chaka Pata Pon – Everything Else!
Tribe management is key in Patapon. Gathering enough supplies to create new Patapon is a big part of how you’ll spend most of your time, replaying bosses and hunts to gather money and materials. Plus, the rarer the materials, the rarer and stronger your Patapons will be and you might even be lucky enough to find some powerful weaponry to equip them with.
So, there is plenty to keep you busy although it is unfortunately mostly all the same. You’ll spend a lot of time replaying the same bosses and the same hunts, which to be honest gets very stale. The bosses at least stay fresh and challenging but when you need to gather 1500 coins and you’re replaying the same level over and over for 200 at a time, it gets incredibly boring.
As well as hunting for resources there are various minigames which you can unlock, one of which is the absolute bane of my existence (you can read more about that in the guide, under the “Divine Collection” trophy). These minigames all cost resources too, so you’re essentially trading resources you don’t need for resources you do, provided you’re good enough at the minigame to get anything decent in return.
For me, at least, they all take a bit of getting used to. Some of them are much more difficult than others, with Ton Kampon’s minigame being the hardest as it consists of 3 rounds of increasing speed followed by a short and slow finishing round.
You can use that minigame to collect “Divine” weapons and armour, though, which if you’re going for the plat you’ll want to be doing, but also these weapons are incredibly powerful and will see your Patapon take a huge leap in attack strength.
The last thing I want to mention before moving on is the music in the game. There are quite a few soundtracks, each of which you can experience in different levels based on how well you’re doing in the stage, and everything has a rhythm to it, including the crickets you can hear at night.
The music is fantastic and will absolutely get stuck in your head. Thankfully the tracks don’t grow stale or annoying, though I suppose that’s the nature of repetitive melodies. After all, that’s why Pop music is so popular.
One particular track you can hear while in “Fever” mode during a level has a part where the Patapon chant “Fi-ya Fi-ya Fi-ya-ya” and that’s been stuck in my head for days.It’s actually quite a detriment that I like it so much though, as I often screw up the timing on a pattern because I’m too busy enjoying it.
My Patapon Remastered Trophy Experience
As I stated earlier, I am rhythmically stunted. I am a very musically challenged person and have always had difficulty timing things correctly or holding a rhythm for too long. So why, then, I decided I’d be able to plat Patapon is beyond me. Though, somehow, I pulled through and managed it after what I’d estimate to be 30 hours of hard work and many difficulties.
Also standing in my way throughout the process were the game’s own timing issues, which only helped to make things more difficult for me. I managed to optimise my setup by ensuring my Smart TV was set to “Gaming” mode, turning off “Boost Mode” in my PS4 Pro’s settings, optimising my distance from the TV, and using headphones.
While still not quite perfect, I was able to overcome many challenges by ensuring my setup was correct, but it will obviously be different for everyone. My old Smart TV didn’t even have a gaming mode, so lord knows how I would have managed had I not recently bought a Samsung QLED Smart TV (sorry, my love for Sony doesn’t extend outside the gaming console market).
The Patapon Campaign
Getting through the campaign was quite a bumpy ride, oftentimes I’d make a lot of progress at once but then I’d hit a wall and not be able to progress through a level for hours. After many hours of farming ka-ching and materials, fighting bosses and completing hunts, I’d improve the stats of my Patapon and then play the level I was stuck on a few times until I made it through.
There were two levels in particular which took me forever, and both involve miracles. The first was on the desert, and at a certain point the sand becomes too hot for your Patapon to walk across, damaging and eventually killing them extremely quickly. To get around this, you need to build up a Fever as quickly as possible, enter the – – command successfully and then complete the miracle minigame to make it rain. This will last for only a short time, so you need to ensure that when it runs out you have another Fever built up and ready to use immediately to minimize the damage to your Patapon.
It took me so long to get used to it but when I eventually pulled it off, it was such a smooth and easy process that it’s laughable how hard I found it before. So the lesson here is that practice definitely makes perfect.
The second level I struggled with was a story mission involving a boss in the form of a large demonic portal. It had the ability to push you away preventing any Patapon from attacking it, and this effect grew stronger as I got closer to beating it. To avoid this, I needed to use the Earthquake miracle, which has the ability to stun enemies for a short time and stop them attacking. I then had to chain these earthquakes together to buy myself time to do any damage to the boss. It took a long time but I’m proud of myself for pulling it off given how difficult it was.
The rest of the missions were fairly straight-forward and simply required some practice or stat-boosting to get through, but due to my poor timing I had a harder time than I’m sure most people would.
Progressing through the story would unlock several optional bosses along the way. While optional, it would be difficult to progress without beating them at least once for the rare materials and equipment they can drop, but for a trophy hunter like myself they’re made more necessary by the trophies you get for defeating each one. So, naturally, I beat each one when and as I could.
Some hunts also held hidden secrets through which you can unlock the minigames back at the camp, so I’d spend some time in each hunt whilst farming ka-ching to ensure I was unlocking everything I might be able to find.
By the time I’d finished the story, I had all but one trophy…
The Divine Collection
Man, f*** this trophy. I mean it. As if I didn’t struggle enough with the game, this one really takes the cake. Allow me to elaborate…
The Ton Kampon minigame would allow you to make alloys used for creating certain types of Patapon by paying him with Stones. However, you can use something called “Mytheerial” – a very rare mineral which can be dropped by bosses – to craft Divine equipment.
First off, Mytheerial is very rare and boss drops are RNG-based. Also, I’d already spent what Mytheerial I could find to create powerful “Mogyoon” Patapon to strengthen my forces so by the time it came to doing this trophy I had only one Mytheerial, dropped by the game’s final boss.
So, off I went to spend the next 3 hours farming bosses for Mytheerial. What I would do is save before a boss fight and then go fight either Dogaeen or Gaeen as they were most likely to drop Mytheerial. If they did drop it, I would save, if they didn’t I would load my last save and try again. This was to prevent struggling with the bosses as they grow stronger each time you defeat them.
For about an hour I hadn’t been successful in finding a single Mytheerial drop until Dogaeen dropped two in one fight. My spirits lifted, I continued fighting on for another hour until I had 8 Mytheerial in the altar storage. For yet another hour I farmed and farmed trying to get that last Mytheerial piece when finally Gaeen dropped an entire three in one run.
“This is great!” I thought, happy to have two spare just-in-case, albeit a little annoyed that didn’t happen earlier when I had only 6. “The hard part is over,” I lied to myself, as I headed over to Ton Kampon’s minigame, which I hadn’t yet played.
Now, I heard tell that this trophy was liable to bugging out, so I was careful to keep a separate save from just before my first attempt to craft a divine weapon, and I also saved after each successful attempt… Which didn’t happen for an entire hour.
Honestly, if I had known ahead of time how much I would hate this one last trophy, I never would have even bothered attempting to plat the game. But I was close to the finish, so I kept at it.
After acquiring my first Divine weapon and finally being imbued with belief that it was possible for me and my awful timing inabilities to succeed, I ploughed on. Around 40 minutes later and many rage-breaks later I finally had 3. A further 40 minutes and I had 6. “This is going sort of well, I suppose,” I attempted to convince myself through gritted teeth and racing heart.
I am not sure what happened, but for an entire hour more I was completely unsuccessful at crafting divine weapons. I lost my touch and I was back to square one, desperately and full of futility I made attempt after attempt with zero luck. I realised that I had been psyching myself out. In the three hours I spent growing more and more insane I’d become a superstitious wreck, telling myself that if I count a certain way, or sit closer to the TV, or nod my head with each beat, I’d somehow be able to do it…
I took a moment, smoked a cigarette (don’t smoke, kids) and got back to it. This time I wasn’t going to try anything crazy, I was just going to sit on the couch, lean forwards a little, and go at this like a normal human.
I relaxed, focused on the mushroom-headed freak’s foot and did everything in my power to not get distracted or think too much about what I was doing… And somehow, it happened. I got a Divine weapon. Finally, all was not lost, I could still do it!
Another attempt… And another Divine weapon! Things were finally going well and through a hefty sigh of enormous relief, my very next attempt was also a resounding success! However…
Yep, you guessed it. The trophy didn’t pop, it was bugged.
All the rage I’d stuffed deep inside me came out in one single moment as I was ready to just give up. To just write this review and admit I couldn’t do it, There was no way I was going to play the whole damn game again for this one trophy. As a final resort I decided to scour through forums looking for a resolution to the issue when I found it… A solution with evidence it works!
According to the results I found, by fighting one boss named “Ciokina” and acquiring a horn weapon from her, I would supposedly then receive the trophy. It couldn’t hurt to try, I came this far after all. So I fought this boss again and again, three times to be exact, before she dropped a horn. Thankfully the trophy popped and it was followed swiftly by the Platinum trophy. My nightmare was over.
I wish with all my strength that you have a better time doing this than I did.
Creating Divine Weapons
Progressing the Campaign
Patapon Remastered Trophy Tips & Guide
Useful Tips – Before You Get Started
There were a lot of things I learnt while I was playing through the game, as well as things I wish I’d known from the start, so here’s a handy list that should help you when you’re starting out:
Save your Mytheerial.
You’ll likely need to use at least one to make a “Barshala” Patapon for the trophy. However, they aren’t that much better than a “Mogyoon” so I recommend sticking to Mogyoon Patapon and hoarding your Mytheerial, using the much more attainable golden “Mystery Meat” or “Super Cedar” to make them, rather than wasting Mytheerial.
Practice holding Fever.
You’ll often find that when you’re stuck on a level for a long time, all you really had to do to beat it was trigger Fever mode and then keep it active for as long as possible. This is difficult at first, but you can use the first hunt level as a way to practice. Keep at it until you’re confident, it’ll be worth it too as you’ll save up a lot of Ka-ching.
Best place to farm money?
Ka-ching isn’t as easy to come by as I’d like. You can farm the first hunting level as there are various sunflowers which, when hit, will drop money. Killing the creatures here will also drop money and there is a rare black and red flower which only appears while you’re in Fever and you can get extra coins from that. All in all you can get around 200-300 coins per run.
Later in the game you can play a hunting level called “Search for a Lucky Star”. Whenever it is not raining here (which is not often) you will be able to go there and fight a warthog creature which turns into a bird when struck. Killing it will release a star called Hoshipon from its stomach. Hoshipon will then start talking to you, but if you walk off he’ll get annoyed and leave.
Stay just in-front of him while he speaks, dropping coins on the floor. Once the coins start to fade, indicating they’re about to disappear, move forward to collect them, being careful not to move too far past Hoshipon. He will move forward too and continue speaking and dropping coins.
Continue this process until he’s finished speaking, he will say “Ciao” and begin to quickly head left. Follow him all the way to the end of the level, collecting coins as you go. This will net you around 750-850 ka-ching per run if done correctly.
Can you remove Patapon?
Throughout the game, you’re likely to want to upgrade your tribe by removing a weaker Patapon to replace with a stronger Rarepon or Ultra Rarepon. You can do this from the equip screen which opens just before starting a level, though the game never tells you this.
With the desired Patapon highlighted you can press [options], which the game labels as “Quit” but what this actually does is retire the selected Patapon, freeing up a slot in your tribe for a newcomer.
What to do about input lag?
I’ve said this a few times throughout the review, but just to help out anyone who jumped straight to this section;
You’ll have an easier time playing Patapon Remastered if you use headphones, turn off “Boost mode” if you’re on a PS4 Pro, test a few distances from the TV to see which works best for you, and activate “Gaming Mode” on your TV if it has one.
All of these should help to minimise the issues with the port and hopefully, you’ll have a much easier time playing the game and keeping rhythm.
Patapon Remastered Trophy Guide
I figured since I spent so long on this game and didn’t get as much help as I would have liked from the guides out there currently, I’d write my own. From the perspective of someone who is useless at rhythm games and struggled for over 30 hours. I’ve included a lot of information, including strategies for certain bosses and difficult levels and it is written in such a way that you can follow along and play through it in order. I hope it helps!