905th played so far

Genre: Music/Management Simulation
Platform: Playstation Portable
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: Pyramid/Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Pon-Pon-Pata-Pon, Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon. The two main phrases (attack and move,ย  in that order) of this game have been stuck in my head for years, ever since I started this game while on holiday in Naples – but didn’t finish at the time as I then checked my stats and realised I didn’t need any management simulations – in fact, trying to keep the Sim City series spread out meant that I had to play Sim City 2000 first, which left little time for this game until now, about a hundred games away from the end.

Still, here we are, and it feels like I got a nice treat to nearly end this genre and move towards that final set of 100 games.

Our Thoughts

There’s something quite genius about using a rhythm game to control a semi-strategy game. You use the two beats as your main methods, driving forward on a 2D stage and attacking what stands between you and the end goal. There are other drums you can get that allow for more complicated moves – mostly defend and retreat – the first two commands let you get through the early game quite easily. After that, the game’s stages depend as much on your planning as they do on your rhythm skills, with the units you bring in – ranged, foot soldiers etcetera – having as much of an impact on how you perform.

Between levels you end up in your camp, where there’s more management. Unlocking stronger troops doesn’t just come from how you progress through the battles, but also from the minigames you play. These let you birth new ones and upgrade others. It’s the more compelling part of the game, with a depth I still haven’t quite gotten to but that I’m more interested to find out – it’s one of those situations where it seems like there’s just too much.

Final Thoughts

Had I mentioned how cute these creatures are? They really are, and it’s them singing along to your music that really sets it up. With that said, this is one of those games that require you to go deep to unlock the best units and equip them, and you start feeling that pinch sooner than you think – I felt the need to go out and get materials early on. Still, the world, with its silhouetted creatures and mystic tribe feel, is just as compelling and really gives a good justification for why you’re doing this and why your actions on the game make sense in the world.