Sony’s demo for the upcoming Patapon 2 will be available (in the US, at least) exclusively to people who pre-order the game through Amazon or GameStop, a strategy Sony employed for its Killzone 2 demo earlier this year.

If you’re eager to get to boogieing with the sequel to the PSP’s rhythm-game-meets-pseudo-RTS and you live in the US of A, pata-pata-pata-pon your sorry self down to GameStop or click over to Amazon to pre-order the game, because the only way you’ll be getting an early taste of the game is by plopping down an advance investment on it.

Just like they did with Killzone 2 earlier this year, Sony has figued that the best way to reward people who have already decided that they want to buy a game is by giving them members-only access to the demo. The promotion has been running at GameStop since last Friday, with the demo available via download until the 27th. Over at Amazon, the demo should be available, but users are reporting that they haven’t received download codes yet. And if you’re one of those people who actually buys things in person, you’ll get a special card when you go to pick up the game at GameStop, which would kind of defeat the purpose of playing the demo in the first place.

Yeah, it’s just a demo, sure, but it does sound fairly substantial this time around: five levels, multiplayer functionality, the introduction of the new Hero Patapon and a special helm called the Lordy Hairpiece that’s only available in the demo. All items and progress get transferred over to the main game, so you can make all your friends jealous and really get your $5 deposit’s worth.

This strategy made sense for Killzone 2, a game that already had a dedicated group of consumers who were dying to play the game before they even saw the first trailer, but Patapon? I think you want a demo to be accessible to as many people as possible, because it’s kind of a hard concept to sell just by word of mouth: “So, you tap buttons in rhythm to make these little guys march and fight dinosaurs.” Yeah, it makes more sense when you play.

Of course, if you live in Europe, you don’t have to mess with any of this: the demo is freely available to all. Or you could just do without the demo and play the free webgame, which really isn’t bad at all.

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