Is this a thing? I haven’t seen any monthly-musings this month, but there was a prompt. It’s right here. http://www.destructoid.com/monthly-musing-happy-holidays-188757.phtml
As gamers, we slowly grow more jaded as we grow more experienced. Games just aren’t as enjoyable anymore, and many people (mistakenly) blame this on lack of creativity in the industry. This is not the case; we just notice problems that we have overlooked before. As one grows more familiar with video games as a medium, one becomes less prone to surprise and wonder. Very rarely does a game ever inspire that rarest of feelings, joy, and when it does, it’s a magical experience.
Kittens also work.
One game that always has me smiling is Patapon 2. Specifically 2, because I don’t have 1, and have only played the demo, although I really should buy it sometime.
I first discovered Patapon 2 in an airport, waiting for my taxi. I was downloading demos onto my PSP, and I saw the demo for Patapon 2. I decided to download it, because I vaguely recalled hearing good things about Patapon 1, something about a “rhythm-based-RTS with no pausing”. After it finally downloaded, I started it up, not knowing what to expect. I was already grinning by the game’s title screen. A bunch of Patapons are all together, jumping and dancing and waving at the player, cheerful music in the background. An opening cutscene played, setting the scene, and then control finally shifted to me, the player. Something very peculiar happened then; instead of telling me to move my Patapons with the D-pad, the game showed me that my face buttons were drums, and that I needed to play various beats in order to control my army. From there led one of my most memorable experiences in gaming.
Patapon 2 is one of the sunniest, happiest games I’ve ever played. As I mentioned earlier, even the title screen had me grinning. Your Patapons are all jumping around, just waiting for you to hurry up and start playing, with catchy, upbeat music playing. When you start playing, you see that bright colors carry over to the main game as well. Backgrounds are mostly layers of color with vague details. It’s a minimalist approach, but it works. Come on, just look at them!
The presentation is good, but part of what makes it such a happy game is by how it plays. You control your Patapons by drumming!
Each button is a different drum; starting from triangle and going clockwise, they’re chaka, pon, don, and pata. Different beats give different commands, such as advance, attack, defend, and so on. It’s fun because you end up making music as you play the game. If you’re on the beat enough times in a row, your Patapons go into fever mode, dealing more damage and getting new attacks. However, describing the gameplay doesn’t really do it justice. Your Patapons chant your beat after you play it; in hero mode, they sing a song in the background. You actually feel like you’re making music, and not just hitting buttons in time, as opposed to some other rhythm games. Just... look at a video, for example.
Like this one
Patapon 2 can be grind heavy at times, but even that is whimsical. Throughout levels, you may unlock certain Patapons that go back to your base. Back at the base, these new Patapons let you play rhythm-based minigames in order to win resources. These include touching a lonely mountain’s toes, helping a shy bell dance, or (my personal favorite), helping a dancing tree scratch his head.
Patapon 2 is one of my favorite games, because it’s just so cheerful. Although it gets fairly dark near the end, your Patapons never stop singing and dancing, and there always seems to be hope. Patapon 2 doesn’t try to make you think about morality, or the nature of good and evil; it simply wants to make you smile. And it certainly succeeds.
LOOK WHO CAME: