Despite the fact I’ve been good and have held off on buying a full price game since Mario Galaxy 2, I’ve somehow gotten myself buried in a bunch of games over the last few weeks. I’m at various points in several different titles, like Final Fantasy XIII, Shadow Complex, and Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker (I’d include Gears of War on the list, but I’m officially done with that game and series for like, ever).
So with all these high profile games waiting to be played, I find it odd that Patchwork Heroes for PSP, which I downloaded simply because it was on sale a week ago, is the one that managed to grab my attention the most. I’m not sure if it’s the combination of it being the perfect pick up and play game, or because it’s all I have time for between feeding and cleaning up new born babies (I’m almost frightened of trying to get into FF13), but it ended up being the one I’ve spent the most time with.
I’m not sure exactly how to peg Patchwork. The only game I can think of that comes close to playing similar to it is Taito’s classic Qix. If you haven’t played Qix, the object of the game is to fence off the playing field from the “invader” or whatever the heck it is. Eventually when you claim most of the play field, you win. Patchwork is similar in that the object is to claim the playing field, but in this case you’re sawing it off. While you’re not trying to trap an invader as in Qix, you’re still whittling down the playfield. So in it’s most basic form, the game is like a new age Qix, but that would be selling the game short.
Patchwork has plenty of new and unique ideas that allow it become it’s own beast. Obviously since the rules from Qix have been inverted it leaves the player with dozens of more options of how to go about things. What starts out as a simple concept of literally sawing ships in half, slowly turns into a thinking mans game as the ships themselves become large interlocked labyrinths while game introduces new enemies, and ideas during the course of 30 stages. Some of the later stages can get frustrating as the it requires the player to have completely mastered their Mojo meter, a power meter that fills up through either pick ups or destroyed enemies, that is required to cut through metal surfaces. There are plenty of deaths during the second half of the game, but figuring out the most direct route of cutting away massive areas of the ship is really fulfilling.
My only real complaint with the game is that towards the end the ships get so huge that I feel it’s a requirement to zoom out of the action to see everything. While you can zoom out of the action, it requires the player to hold down the L button in order to stay like that. Thanks to the placement of the PSP buttons, it became uncomfortable very quickly. Aside from that, the game is addicting right out of the gate, and the ever changing landscapes of the ships, different mission objects, plenty of things to collect, and optional challenge mode stages make for a complete package and a really well designed game. The fun art aesthetic doesn’t hurt the experience either. With all these features it seems like the game was originally intended for a UMD release, but who knows if that’s true, now I’m just talking out of my ass.
If you get a chance, at least check out the demo.