Best Minigame Collection
Most Beginner-Friendly Rhythm Game
Best DK Bongos Support
The Taiko no Tatsujin series could be considered one of gaming’s best secrets. These games have appeared at a regular clip in Japan, but just never got a fair shot in other regions. Sure, Taiko: Drum Master was released in North America in 2004 and was pretty great, but it didn’t receive the proper sort of support to make a real splash. But now, the secret is out. With Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!, everyone gets to join the party. Our gaming libraries are better and stronger for it.
And what a party it is. Everyone can join in, thanks to Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! appearing on the very portable and user-friendly Switch. There are no barriers of entry here. The more basic modes support up to two players and you already have two Joy-Cons, so there is no excuse not to offer one to a buddy. It only relies on two kinds of buttons, keeping things from getting too confusing.
But what if the people around you don’t like rhythm games? Rather than try to insist that they should, you can rely on Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!’s other options. Up to four people can participate in its minigames, which can get competitive or cooperative. Some are absolutely better than others here. Lantern Eel Sushi, which has you tapping in time wit a chef’s recitations of different sushi names, can be quite wonderful. I am also especially fond of Batting Center, because I can’t play it without thinking about Rhythm Heaven’s Baseball Star minigame.
The important thing is that all of these excursions let people enjoy a bright, colorful activity together while maintaining a consistent beat, showing how much fun a rhythm game can be. People might not even realize what they are doing until they’re already bobbing along with Don-chan and Katsu-chan. You know how they say the rhythm is going to get you? Well, with Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!, that happens a little more quickly.
And Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! isn’t just about possibly exposing the world to one of the best rhythm series out there or convincing friends that they do indeed have the beat. It is also about expanding your own musical horizons. The original Taiko: Drum Master did what many localizations had to do, due to licensing issues. It replaced the original soundtrack with more familiar tracks from the region. Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! doesn’t do that. Its track list is almost identical to the one released in Japan, right down to the DLC. That means you get to sing along with Nekoko and Tomomo’s Neko Tomo theme song. It gives us a chance to hear X Japan and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu tracks. We are exposed to a whole new aural culture.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! is about kicking back and enjoying yourself, whether you get to do so alone or with friends. It is an incredibly friendly game. Now that it is here, maybe more people will have a chance to step to the beat and find more artists they might enjoy.