Patapon (2008) is one of the reasons I got a PSP. There were several quirky titles such as this one and Loco Roco produced for the system, fun sidescrollers with unique aesthetics. Patapon takes a musical route, placing the player in command of a tribe of Patapon, small circular guys who throw spears, shoot arrows, and wield swords to conquer enemy tribes and giant monsters. Play different rhythms on the drum to make the Patapon attack, advance, defend, or cast magic; in this case, it is a real-time strategy music game. The game has a unique art style by Rolito that simultaneously presents the Patapon as tough guys but also as bumblers. The player’s help is required to guide them to victory. It’s a pretty fun game with great characters, but I must suck at rhythm games because I can’t beat it!
“Legend of the Patapons” is one of the few composed tracks. It is the opening cutscene where the history of the Patapon tribe is recounted and the player’s role in the saga told. The instruments are tribal and exotic, with digeridoos, drums, and in the title screen, bagpipes! (Actually, I’m a fan of bagpipes.) The dramatic music works well with the heroically cute Patapon.
It’s a little odd to pick music from a rhythm game – after all, the player is as much a composer of the game’s score as the game’s composers, who in this case serve more as audio engineers. The actions a player takes present the game’s music with a dynamic score that changes upon choice and performance (and ultimately a bit more interesting for the player than the viewer).