Rather than use missiles and the like to defend their city, these citizens have decided it’s easier to fly onto these giant approaching warships and saw parts off them until they crash out of the sky. Bizarre, but brilliant. It’s a bit like an inverted update of the retro game Qix.
The story doesn’t exactly grab you, but it’s charmingly animated and the mad gibberish language that everyone speaks may give gamers fond memories of Okami. It’s the gameplay that’s fantastically strong here though. It’s alarmingly simple, yet has that vital ‘one-more-level’ feel to it.
You control one of the game’s nutty carpenters -that are made up of only a handful of pixels- by moving them over the 2D space of a ship’s surface. Hold down circle while you move to saw through the ship. There are lots of areas on the ships that stick out, just begging to be sawn off. Once you hack through all connecting parts of a section it will simply fall off. You need to find the best places to saw, by going through the least material to make the biggest impact. You can zoom out to get a better look at the nearby area or you can pause and take a daunting look at the whole ship spread out like a map with you as a speck on a far corner. Each ship is designed differently, all completely ignoring fly-able logic. The colours and random shapes seemingly putting the ‘patchwork’ into the title.
Time is also a factor as your home city will be bombed if you don’t bring the ship down in time. Other elements trying to stop your destructive fun are metal sections of the ship that can’t be sawn through (at first) and an almost maze-like design to some sections that’ll lead you to a dead-end if you don’t check your map. Other inconveniences include: missile turrets, robotic ladybugs, laser spewing larvae and the super annoying repair bots that patch up incomplete lines you’re trying to cut a ship in half in one go with. You can activate your shield with R, which blocks out any danger while you stand still. Fortunately you can cut sections of ship off with them stranded on it, or better yet, saw a circle around them like a many a classic cartoon of yesteryear.
The metal sections of the ship can either be sawn around or you can use a Mojo attack (earned by offing enemies or grabbing pick-ups) that speeds you up and lets you chew through metal like a rage-powered Black & Decker. There are more pickups, such as speed boosts and time freezes to help out too.
Along your travels you can rescue prisoners and they’ll follow you around acting as extra lives. You think that’s harsh, it’s nothing compared to using them as bombs. Depending on what powerup you picked up last they could explode with horizontal, vertical or circular blasts to take out large areas at once. You’ll need to be careful you’re not still on the doomed section when a bomb detonates too, at least with sawing you never fall.
While the aim of each level is to destroy the warship, later on you may have to pick up parts or rescue certain prisoners. The most problematic missions are the ones were you have to make sure you don’t blow up a certain section of the ship. This can get really annoying as it’s not always clear which part of ship is going to fall off when you’re down to a large block and hacking through one side of it. You will adapt to this after a while though and it’s hard to stay mad at the game to be honest.
You’re rated at the end of each level and given screws that level you up, but there’s no explanation of why. It’s not always clear on how to get a better rating for a level either, but it never puts you off playing the game.
Outside of the story mode there’s a challenge mode where you might have a time limit, item or enemy hunts, rescues and so on. These levels are usually shorter, but just as addictive as the rest of the game.
- Unique gameplay style
- Watching half a ship fall apart in one go is sweet
- A full length PSP game for £6.29
- Sawing off the wrong section can be annoying
- Not always clear on how to get a better score
- Destroyed my thumb on the PSP analogue ‘thing’
The Short Version: There are three levels of difficulty and the levels just keep going. Despite the low price of £6.29 this feels like a full PSP game that’ll keep you entertained for hours. There’s more chance you’ll stop playing because your left thumb is sore rather than because you get bored.
Platform: PSP (download only)