Patapon 3

Beat battle

Pon-pon-pata-pon! If you understand what that means, and aren't worried that we're having a seizure, then you're already familiar with Sony's adorably eccentric rhythm action game, Patapon. Now episode 3 has rolled in...

A casual glance at Patapon 3 and you might be forgiven for thinking that Studio Japan has simply made the same game thrice. It looks and quacks like the previous two handheld titles - tactical warfare where you tap out drumbeats to command an army of cute eyeball warriors - and it shares much of their essence.

But this instalment comes with a raft of tweaks that makes this the strongest title in the series. This starts with the fact that you're now a reincarnated hero leading just three faithful warriors into battle against the Seven Evil Spirits.

While this reduced number may sound disappointing, it actually gives you far more control over your fighters as they level up. In fact, the whole RPG aspect of P3 is easier to manage, as you can keep a close eye on each fighter's weaponry, armour and skills.

You can even tinker with each 'pon's character class, tailoring your crack squad to each battlefield's foes. But P3 really comes into its own with its surprisingly in-depth and wellexecuted multiplayer mode.

To start with, you can use the PSP's ad-hoc and infrastructure capabilities to take on the story mode with up to seven friends, earning rare loot.

Better still, you can compete in huge territorial versus matches, and even form guilds to take on rival competitors.

With this in mind, it's simply impossible not to play Patapon 3 without a huge grin on your face - it's effortlessly stylish, hopelessly addictive and the catchy tunes will have you cheerfully slaughtering the various foes for hours on end.

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The verdict

Solid rhythm action warfare complete with insanely catchy beats

  • RPG mechanics add depth
  • Class based battles
  • Well executed multiplayer
  • Feels very familiar
PlayStation Portable
Sony Computer Entertainment
Sony Computer Entertainment
Rhythm Action