The Kickstarter campaign for Ratatan, a new game from the minds behind Patapon, has ended with a whopping total of almost ¥220,000,000 Japanese Yen, close to $1.5 million USD, in pledges from more than 14,500 backers.
This makes Ratatan the 34th most funded video game in Kickstarter’s history. The campaign FAQs say that we can expect a full release of Ratatan by April 2025, with a closed beta starting in late 2024.
Ratatan is a strategy rhythm game where you play a Ratatan leading an army of adorable cyclopic Cobuns in battle. The gameplay is reminiscent of the Patapon series, originally released for the handheld PlayStation Portable in 2007. This is no coincidence. The campaign information proudly announces that many of the creative minds who made Patapon are also involved in this new project, making Ratatan a spiritual successor to the PSP classic. The dev team includes producer Kazuto Sakajiri, director Kenei Nakasha, game designer Hiroyuki Kotani, and composer Kemmei Adachi, among others.
The original Kickstarter goal of ¥20,000,000 (around $137,000 USD) was reached in under an hour. (Disclosure: I also personally backed this Kickstarter.) From there, backers proceeded to fulfill several stretch goals to add features like orchestrated music and additional game modes. At campaign’s end, the campaign tallied up ¥219,314,335 in contributions from 14,598 backers.
With the stretch goal for console releases being met, Ratata Arts has stated a desire to release Ratatan on all current-gen consoles (including Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 4 & 5, and Nintendo Switch) as well as Steam.
Jump to the rhythm
More gameplay details were revealed in a Kickstarter-closing livestream along with a brief liveplay demo. Player commands are issued using a seven-beat rhythm input system, and the Cobun chant a response while performing an action. The fever bar from Patapon returns, with higher combos filling the bar, strengthening your team, and increasing the intensity of the music. Like the various types of Patapon, there are different types of Cobun you can recruit into your army based on which Ratatan you are controlling.
The similarities to Patapon go beyond just the gameplay. Many of the character designs in Ratatan also feature a similar single-eyeball, small-bodied aesthetic, albeit with a much more diverse and vibrant color palette. There may even be a cameo of an old Patapon enemy named Dodonga, except he’s now called Dekadon and has had a bit of a facelift.
The Patapon series had a limited audience since it was released solely for the PSP, then remastered in 2017 and 2020 for the PS4. After more than 20 years, it seems we’re finally getting a fresh entry with this call-and-response tactical rhythm formula.