Taiko no Tatsujin The Drum Master is an excellent rhythm game

Taiko no Tatsujin is an excellent rhythm game. The game’s song selection might not be varied enough, but they play great and are fun to master.

Developed by Bandai Namco Studios, the Taiko no Tatsujin games are all about beating a Taiko drum to the rhythm of the beat. No drum set is required for this though, as your Xbox controller makes for a fine substitute. Just be sure it is a controller you do not care for because there is a good chance you are going to smash it while playing this game.

For those who have yet to get down with the anthropomorphic Don-chan and Ka-chan, the rules are simple. Notes will scroll from right to left, and it’s up to players to hit the corresponding buttons when the notes overlap the frame. There’s different inputs for blue and red, big notes, drum rolls, and even balloons that can be popped.

When it comes to the actual gameplay, this entry lacks any story mode but thrives on the Free Play model of songs. Upon completion of a song, you are given coins that can be taken to the store that rotates through a selection of items that you can purchase. These items range from outfits for Don (your drum bodied avatar for the game), Online Mode Greetings, Instrument Sounds (more on these later), as well as bonus songs.

Now there is a big oversight for this release: the game does not support previously released Taiko drum controllers on Xbox. You see, besides your controller, normally you could buy a Taiko drum controller to connect and play the game, just like the arcade releases. But as of this writing, there are no possible ways for players to do that on Xbox consoles. Higher difficulties of many songs, while possible, are much better done on a drum set because of how close notes become and how fast they pile in. And if I’m being honest, the Xbox controller is not all suited for rhythm games because of how fast the button pushes back after being pressed.

Players can earn currency for each song, which can then be spent at the Shop. Unlike the gacha system found in Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session! for the PlayStation 4 (you can read our review here), everything can be purchased outright. Choices include songs, instruments (including our favorite, the fart), and outfits. One is also able to customize said outfits, their title/nameplate, and even greetings. There’s plenty to keep people busy.

With the graphics of this game, I had no issues whatsoever. Each character design was unique and charming in its own way. The drum track is clean, with an easy-to-read area around the track to see where the song progress was, what your combo is, as well as your score. The standard Taiko formula is in play here: Red is a drum, Blue is the rim, Yellow is a drum roll. The game keeps it clean and safe, which for a rhythm game is perfectly fine.

Taiko no Tatsujin is an excellent rhythm game. The game’s song selection might not be varied enough, but they play great and are fun to master. It is a charming experience for even the most casual player pulled in by a song from their favourite anime or game, and great yet slightly disappointing to the Taiko drum-owning returnee on Xbox looking to smash their drum to the rhythm of the beat.

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