Title: Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack
Developer: Bandai Namco
Release Date: December 3, 2020
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: Bandai Namco
What is an exceptionally popular series in Japan, Taiko no Tatsujin hasn’t been a prominent title in the west. The core audience of players who enjoy the series has been subjected to importing the game or finding an arcade that houses one of its cabinets. Recently, Bandai Namco has been localizing the series for western players, albeit without making it too easy to acquire the game’s physical drum. Now, the publisher has brought Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack to Switch, and through its quirky stories and a large list of playable songs, the game probably won’t make new fans of the series.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack is two games Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythmic Adventure 1 & 2. Each game can be selected to play from the menu but doesn’t have to be played in order. However, the sequel advancements will probably make it difficult to enjoy the first entry, so I suggest starting your adventure there.
In Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythmic Adventure stars the lovable drum duo Don and Katsu as they are just trying to celebrate a Taiko festival when they follow an anxious rabbit looking for a missing friend, a pocket watch named Ticky. It turns out that an evil time-traveling group of baddies has accessed the power of Tocky and is looking to disrupt the flow of time. So, Don and Katsu set out with the rabbit to put a stop to them.
The adventure leads them through different eras where they’ll meet new friends and explore new environments. The entire adventure is super basic and almost too easy to a fault. While making your way around, you’ll trigger random battles where you’ll drum to a song to launch attacks. The problem with this is that something is just off with the shuffle because I played what seemed to be the same three tracks over and over in each area.
The game’s adventure elements are decent as exploration is rewarded with items, but strangely, I rarely had to use any items. Still, they are there to make the game easier with healing, straightening and level up items available. The game turns into a mindless adventure where each new area plays out pretty much the same way; you meet a new character, they join up with you, you fight one of the bad guys at some point.
Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythmic Adventure 2 clears up many pain points of its predecessor as the duo gets wrapped up in another time-traveling adventure. However, this time you can see enemies on the field, environments aren’t as straightforward, and you can use certain characters to access areas. The story scenes have also been improved with more animations.
Throughout both games, the main story isn’t all that important, which made it interesting that they didn’t include a “Skip” option. Furthermore, although the improvements made to the second game are welcome across all fronts, the fact that in both games, you simply play the same tracks multiple times and only really get through the first verse until the fight is over makes things repetitive quickly.
I would have found myself disconnected even more from this adventure if these characters just weren’t so damn cute. The game is so lighthearted and straightforward that it’s painless to continue playing. You’re constantly progressing, which alleviates any needless frustration over lack of direction.
One cool feature is how you can enlist monsters that you fight onto your team. I never really saw its benefit in battles, but each character has their own stats and level. Additionally, you can acquire costumes that raise certain party members’ stats, so creating a themed team could work in your favor.
Lastly, on the campaign, during the rhythm battles, you have to hit those beats to make attacks, but missing them can prolong the battles. It’s rare that I ever ran out of HP in a fight, but if you get to the end of the song without defeating the enemy, you’ll get a Draw and move on.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack comes down to what it mainly wants to offer, a quirky rhythm game. Luckily for the series’s fans, the game allows you to play any track you want across multiply difficulties. This is where I’d recommend importing the physical drum because it makes a world of difference when it comes to precision Taiko gameplay. Each track included on both games is great, with some even from popular anime.
The adventures aren’t very memorable, but they also only last about 5 hours each to complete, with the sequel expanding on many of the systems with elements like crafting and ways to form a battle party on three different planes properly. The modes offered outside of the campaign are what many fans will want, but sadly, I think this limits it to the already established niche group of followers.
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack is a quirky and adorable game that I wasn’t expecting to come west. The adventure itself is almost complete nonsense, and the gameplay is more mindless than fun. Still, the large list of playable tracks and the fun cast of characters make it charming in the most obscure way. I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone, but it’s also a game about talking Taiko drums, so I don’t know what else I expect.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.