A new Taiko no Tatsujin game has landed on Nintendo Switch, and it’s another great reason to pull out your drum.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival introduces players once again to lovable talking drum DON-Chan, this time with a whole new musical adventure to help him out with. We’ve had a party game with Drum ‘n’ Fun and an RPG with the Rhythmic Adventure Pack, and Rhythm Festival sits somewhere in the middle. This is all about the music, although there is a story and some side content to enjoy.
Playing songs in Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival will earn you experience points, and as you level up, you’ll be treated to short story scenes with DON-Chan. Do we really care about these? Not really, but it’s a nice touch for those who are more invested in the long-running Taiko universe. For us, and we’d imagine most players, we’re just here for the music.
Thankfully, there are plenty of songs to enjoy. The base game comes with over 70 songs, including some well-known game music (Mario! Zelda!), original songs, Vocaloid pop and various J-pop tracks. There are some pleasant surprises too, such as the theme tune to Pirates of the Caribbean and ‘Life Will Change’ from Persona 5. In other words, there’s plenty to be going on with, especially considering each track can be mastered on a variety of difficulties.
If 70-odd isn’t enough for you, however, there’s a subscription that can net you access to more than 500 songs for a monthly fee of £3.99. We don’t necessarily condone subscriptions to games you’ve already paid for, but if you’re a big fan of Taiko you might want to consider it. There’s a free seven-day trial you can opt into regardless, enough time to play your favourites to death.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival‘s main mode can be enjoyed solo or with a second player, if you want to bring a bit of competition into the proceedings. Like many games, this is one that’s more fun with a friend along for the ride, particularly if you both have drum controllers. That’s another great thing here: Rhythm Festival can be played in three different ways: with an officially-supported drum peripheral, with Joy-Con motion control or with standard button control.
We’ve tried all three, and they all have their merits. The drum controllers, however, are expensive to get hold of, but the physicality of banging along really does elevate the game to a new level. They are rather loud, though, and so playing at 11pm at night while your neighbours are trying to sleep is not advised.
For casual play, and of course those enjoying Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival handheld, standard button input is the way to go. Thankfully, it’s responsive, and a variety of buttons can be used to hit each side of the drum. However you decide to play, you can also tinker with audio sync, so if your hits don’t seem to register, it might not just be because you’re lacking rhythm.
Outside of Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival‘s main mode, players can jump into a couple of minigames, one which sees you engage in head-to-head battles of sorts, where playing perfectly along to a song results in your opponent taking damage. You can play against the CPU, and it offers a pleasant diversion if you’d like an extra element to simply playing along with a song. You can also take the action online in a Ranked Match, if you want to truly test your drumming mettle.
One mode that we haven’t been able to try, but one we’re very interested in, is DON-chan Band, where four players form a band to play songs together. Alas, we haven’t had enough friends readily available to try it out. But considering most Taiko multiplayer modes are simply for two people, the option to include more is very welcome.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival is another solid entry into this bizarre but lovable drumming rhythm game. The 70 songs included within the game offer plenty of variety, but it’s a shame some of the best tracks are locked behind the Taiko Music Pass subscription. The multiplayer modes on offer are a welcome touch, but if you’re expecting more minigames like Drum ‘n’ Fun, you may be disappointed. This is more about the music, and we can’t really fault that.