Being the typical press attendee for my local anime convention, I always grew envious of people and their free time spent at the convention-side arcade that has taken root at Naka-Kon. It’s filled to the brim with awesome, Japanese arcade classical and new-age machines. The most attractive and the most prevalent would have to be Taiko No Tatsujin. I just never could find time to play it or when I did have time, the line was terribly long for it. However, with the advent of the Nintendo Switch that changes the scenario for me entirely. Yes I am fully aware of the PS4 version, but let’s just ignore that for now…
Having only launched this July 19th, the game has already worked its way into international hands, thanks in part to the Nintendo Switch’s region free build. For someone who has had zero experience with this game, also as someone who’s Japanese is utter rubbish, this title is pretty smooth to get into. Having this series debut for the Nintendo Switch means we get to enjoy this version of Taiko No Tatsujin on the go. For the first time we get to play the taiko drums no matter where we are at. This title makes use of everything the switch offers. Want to play the game with motion controls? Go right ahead! Want to play in TV mode? Sure thing! Want to go handheld and use the touch-screen or Joy-Con’s? Jump right on in!
You get the picture, the game is versatile with the Nintendo Switch, which is something not other version offers (unless you are a person who happens to still be playing the DS version). But the core system of this beloved game series remains the same, albeit with a few Nintendo additions like Super Mario or Splatoon 2. The premise remains, you can drum solo or with a buddy through the list of 70 songs (plus future DLC) in easy to nightmare modes. I kid about the hard mode name, but seriously it sucks. Which is great if you want a challenge, but man is it hard with the motion controls. While it is nice that you can play with them, these controls are a bit touch and go. I’ve personally experienced moments where doing one motion would activate another motion, even though I didn’t trigger it. Calibration was done and it still has some issues. If you plan on playing harder modes, I’d greatly encourage using the normal control mode over the motion or touch-screen control options.
Being a rhythm game there is not much else I can go on about the gameplay. You strive to hit the proper symbols at the right moment to increase your score. While I have not tried to lose intentionally, I am sure if you fail enough you may be forced to restart the song. Still the traditional game mode is still fun. If songs aren’t your ham, no worries as this game also comes chock full of mini-games ranging from cooking to Bee’s grabbing pollen. They are all varied and all vaguely Mario Party-esque, which isn’t a bad thing by any means. This just means you have a lot more options on the table when it comes to playing this game with multiple friends or family. You just have to get over the lacking English support and stick with visual aides, which thankfully won’t be needed soon. As of this writing an English version has been confirmed for the West and a English patch is in the works too.
Having played through all the songs and the one free DLC song that I could get, I can say that this game is worth it. It has everything an Otaku like me could love and want, all while making it a fun rhythm game to pass the time with. It finally scratches that years long itch I’ve had of seeing tourist and local convention attendees play this game. No longer do I have to sit from afar and wonder about it all. You can import your copy from Play-Asia or through the Japanese Nintendo eShop!
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