The Patapon tribe—picture eyeballs with arms and legs—must once again grab their spears and don their tiny helmets in the name of defending their right to dance and sing and make merry. Is it just us, or does it smell like Ewoks in here? (Someone open a window.)
Like the original, you don't directly control the Patapon units as you would in a typical game. Instead, you play the game as a PSP-wielding deity who must inspire them to do your bidding via a variety of increasingly complex drum beats.
The drum beats are initially quite simple. Pressing square, square, square, circle on the PSP's face buttons creates a "pata-pata-pata-pon" rhythm. This sequence coaxes your Patapons to march forward. More complicated beats, which you'll learn later in the game, will make your Patapons perform more sophisticated actions, like attacking and defending.
As your Patapons encounter enemies and obstacles, the challenge is to employ a variety of drum beats to overcome those enemies and obstacles, and get them to the end of each level intact. Keeping the rhythm while swapping between attack, defend, march forward, etc. is more difficult than it sounds. One wrong button and the Patapons will immediately chastise you with, "Hey buddy!" which is not the proper way to address a deity.
The sequel features new Patapon units like the flying Toripon, and the rock-hurling Robopon which all must be unlocked via the game's Evolutionary Tree. But like the original, the developers never met a cute moment they didn't like. The result is the occasional speech bubble that includes the words, "Spank them bottoms!" during battles, a phrase that has been known to cause involuntary gagging in most adults.
Beyond the game: The game includes four-person multiplayer challenges that involve defending giant eggs from enemies.
Worth playing for: The minimalist graphics. The game looks unlike any other game you've ever played.
Frustration sets in when: Your squad of Patapons gets decimated by a Dodonga (don't ask) merely because you were distracted for a moment and pressed the wrong goddamn button. The game expects nothing less than perfect concentration.
Final judgment: It's a rhythm game unlike any other. But the sequel, like the original, is still more of a novelty than a bona fide game.