The Stupid Gamer

Video Games, Opinions, Thoughts, & Tomfoolery

The Stupid Gamer - Video Games, Opinions, Thoughts, & Tomfoolery

The Problems With Patapon

The Patapon craze has died down, but if you hit up any random message board and ask for PSP recommendations, several people are going to proclaim it to be among the best games that the PSP has to offer. Well, after giving Patapon a more than fair chance, I’ve got to come clean with my feelings on the game. Patapon is a fraud. I don’t want to get into the argument of PSP fans overhyping mediocrity (it happens A LOT), but Patapon is their prime and shining example. The game isn’t worthless, but it’s full of crippling issues that would need to be addressed in order to make the game fully enjoyable. So, let’s dig into exactly why Patapon falls short.

Rhythm Games Should Encourage the Beat
I’ll start off with my biggest gripe. Patapon is a rhythm action game with a cool style. You control your army of Patapon by keeping beat and by using pre-determined button sequences. To advance, you do one series of buttons presses, to attack, you do another. Each time you successfully execute a series of presses, the Patapons will echo your beat and then do what you commanded them to do. The problem is that there isn’t any consistent and reliable beat in the soundtrack. Even when the Patapon echo your beat, it’s not always ON BEAT. In fact, many times your Patapon will echo back the words of the beat, but at the wrong tempo. Once you hit Fever mode (triggered by several consecutive on beat button sequences), the Patapon REALLY stat to echo the wrong tempo. It’s infuriating. A good rhythm game encourages you to stay on beat, not challenges you to push through the BS the devs thought would be cute to throw at you. The result is a game that never really lets you connect with the sounds of the game, but rather has you relying on your own foot tapping to keep going.

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Fever Mode will piss you off. The Patapons go crazy and mess up your beat.

Rhythm Games Rely on Variety – Patapon Lacks It
Another serious issue I have with Patapon is that the game lacks variety. There are basically 3 major commands in the game: March, Attack, and Defend. There are some other tweaks here and there, but for the most part you just cycle through three button sequences over and over again. Sure, the levels change, but here’s the game in a nutshell. Do the March until you come upon an enemy, do the Attack sequence until enemies are gone, March until another enemy, and repeat. In a boss encounter, you March until you’re within range, and alternate between Attack and Defend. The occasional Fever Mode will kick in, but it doesn’t do anything more than just increase your attack power. There are some minigames in Patapon, but they’re pretty simple. However, despite the simplicity of these minigames, they can frustrate as well. Again, the game doesn’t always provide you the proper tempo to match with your own rhythmic button pressing. After a while you just tire of the minigames.

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The minigames don’t hold your interest for too long.

Level Grinding in a Rhythm Game?
Patapon isn’t well balanced, and as a result you are forced to level grind to improve the strength of your Patapon. This is a huge design flaw, if you ask me. The action in Patapon should be a compliment to the rhythm foundation of the game. If you keep the beat, you should keep advancing. That is not the case. If you don’t spend time strengthening up your forces by replaying old levels repeatedly, you will not advance deep into the game no matter how perfectly you execute your button presses.

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Wanna beat the bosses? Get to grinding, son!

It’s Not All Bad
Patapon has a certain charm and visual style that is very, very, appealing. The game is priced right ($19.99), but it’s definitely another overhyped and overpraised title by the Sony swarm of faithful fanboys. There are much better PSP titles to dedicate your time to that aren’t getting the same amount of praise; and I would encourage everybody to look into those games. I know this post is coming late after the release of the game, but SOMEBODY had to stop the endless hype.

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Despite its frustrating aspects, the game looks amazingly cool.

Stupid Gamer Review: Loco Roco

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LocoRoco is one of those titles that you expect to see doing quite well in Japan but fail to see a release in other regions. The game relies heavily on charm, presentation, and sick amounts of cuteness to compliment its rather simple gameplay to provide an experience for its audience. So does Loco Roco live up to the excitement that has surrounded its release? Read on and we’ll jump right in.

With sales of the PSP lagging behind the DS heavily in Japan, many pointed at LocoRoco to be the PSP’s “savior.” They argued that this would open the Japanese gamer’s eyes to the fact that the PSP offered quirky and original titles in addition to its lineup of PS2 and PSOne ports and remakes. In the end Loco Roco didn’t fare to well and many blamed it’s lack of success on a stingy buying audience; but after spending a lot of time with the game, I can see why it didn’t fare as well as many people were expecting.

LocoRoco is a fun game, it’s just not exceptionally noteworthy on any fronts. Sure, the game looks pretty and has some interesting level designs, but the gameplay is pretty shallow and repetitive. Well, simple might be a better word than shallow; but the point remains that there’s not a lot of depth to be found here. Charm can only carry the game for so long before you begin asking yourself, “is this all?” Even with the repetitive play, however, the title is interesting enough to urge you on and hold your attention long enough to keep you playing to the finish. There are tons of hidden objects to find, but the majority of gamers out there are likely to toss the game aside soon after its initial completion. One very appreciable aspect about the gameplay, however, is the fact that the game is extremely accessible. Loco Roco might not provide the deepest experience, but it can provide a good time for anybody of any age or level of gaming experience.

The audio and visual package in LocoRoco are really its greatest stregnth. The game is colorful and animates extremely well while maintaining a silky smooth framerate. The music is catchy, and the sound effects are snappy and bright. Anybody that has many complaints about either the sound or graphics in LocoRoco might need to check their hearing and eyesight because something is definitely not right with them.

The replay factor of LocoRoco really depends on how quickly you tire of the repetitive nature of the game. Some will find that they simply must find all of the hidden items and secret paths scattered in the levels; while others will feel satisfied with just the initial playthrough. For those that choose to go back for more, there’s plenty to find. To be fair to the title, there really is a lot packed into each level. It’s also nice that the game tracks your time in each level. This can further extend the game by urging you to go back and perform speed runs on each of the levels. Hopefully you find yourself compelled to return to the game after your first run; the game is pretty short compared to most other handheld titles.

In the end I guess I did find myself enjoying LocoRoco, just not to the extent I expected myself to. As mentioned earlier, the game is fun, it’s just lacking a bit of variety in the gameplay department. I like the foundation that has been laid down here and I’d be interested in seeing a sequel. More varied moves, multiplayer modes, and longer levels could have made what is a good game into a great one.

Overall Score: 7 out of 10

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