Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun was released November 2nd in Australia and Europe for the Nintendo Switch. It is a rhythm game developed and published by Bandai Namco. It retails for $89.95 Australian but is $90.95 on the e-shop. There is also a free demo you can download.
The main mode supports two players, and party mode can have four. There is also local wireless for up to four systems but it requires a game card each.
All control options are supported, as well as a special drum peripheral – If you are outside of Asia or Europe you will have to import this controller.
Gameplay and Controls
As a rhythm game the prompts that pass across the screen have to be hit at the right moment. The red notes are called Don and the blue Ka.
With motion controls a Don is hit with a straight down strike, and a Ka is with a diagonal strike. There are three different options for button controls, I preferred Type 2.
The drum controller has the inner part for red, and the outer rim for blue. There is a dead zone line in the middle to separate strikes.
Handheld mode uses touch controls, so it is similar to the peripheral. Touching in the middle for Don and on the outside for Ka. If there is a big note then you have to input that colour on both sides at the same time. Yellow lines are drum roll spaces.
The balloons and mallets are similar but you have to hit a certain number of notes by rolling before the next prompt comes in.
The main mode called Taiko, can be played with one or two players both co-operatively and competitively. A variety of songs in different genres are present such as Classical, Game, Anime, Vocaloid and Namco Original.
While playing through the song a soul meter will fill up. If you miss a note, it will drop. The soul meter has to reach a certain point to count as clearing a song.
Managing to hit all the notes will give you a different pass mark. There are about five different difficulties, but some songs are harder than others. Lower difficulties will have less notes. Star ratings help determine how hard a song is on each of its difficulties. As faster songs will be harder no matter if it’s on easy or not.
The characters you pick to play with can give you buffs and de-buffs such as lowering your soul gauge drop. Playing through the game earns you more and there are some available to buy as DLC.
Unlocking songs and other mini-games is also done by playing the game modes a certain amount of times and there are songs that can be bought as DLC.
The game’s party mode features a host of rhythm mini-games. There are competitive, team competitive and co-op games. You can have up to four players but there are COMs to fill in the gaps.
There is a clear score to beat on top of your opponents. I wasn’t very good with the ‘copy a rhythm’ games, but the others I was able to get the hang of.
It’s decently fun but not much of a considering factor towards buying the game.
Which Controls to Use?
My control method of choice is the drum peripheral or touch screen. Button controls are second best. Motion controls on the other hand, start becoming difficult to use on some songs from Normal on. As the swipes are either vertical or diagonal it has trouble differentiating between them, especially when songs start to get busy or even in party mode.
There are options to calibrate the settings for each control scheme, but it’d take a lot of work to get right and still won’t be ideal.
If you have imported a copy, there is a an English patch that will download. However the Asian versions of the game are considered different software than the Western release. So you cannot use the Australian or other e-shop to buy DLC, as it won’t work on the imported version.
I do prefer playing with the drum controls, however touch screen and button work just as well. Only bother importing it if you really like the game, and don’t have to worry about making too much noise.
Should you get it?
The first thing to keep in mind if you are interested is the track list. As a Playstation 4 Taiko game released at the same time and a lot of songs were split between them. Some English songs like “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, are the Japanese versions.
DLC is already out for the game, on top of the initial cost. Other games in the series have had a story mode to go through, but this one doesn’t.
If your main interest is the motion controls be aware that they are less than the ideal control option.
The presentation is cute and colourful and more things will happen on the screen the better you do. It’s a good game for playing with kids, but if they’re prone to getting upset at low scores; there is an option in Taiko mode for two players to combine their scores (so they play co-operatively not competitively).
As someone who’s never played a Taiko no Tatsujin game before I enjoyed this, but people who’ve got other ones might be better off sticking to those.