Two previous Japanese exclusive addictive rhythm games drumroll onto the Switch with Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack combining JRPG adventuring with the classic Japanese arcade rhythm game. The Taiko no Tatsujin franchise has been a staple of Japanese arcades for quite some time, but has only recently become popular outside of Japan. Of course Taiko Drum Master was a niche hit in American arcades back in the early 2000s, with ports coming to the PS2, but in recent years the gaming industry has turned its nose up at plastic instrument add-ons after the bubble burst with Guitar Hero and Rock Band. While the United States is, unfortunately, not home to a plethora of Japanese game centers filled with the popular drum rhythm game, the Switch is a decent substitute due to its Joy-Con controllers, which simulate the drumsticks quite nicely.
The two games included in the package are Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure 1 and Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure 2. Both games combine the traditional mechanics of JRPG games, such as exploring, recruiting party members, and clicking through text boxes full of random melodrama with the simple, yet hard to master, taiko drum rhythm. As someone who loves both JRPGs and rhythm I thought I would be more into this game than ended up being the case.
Rhythmic Adventure 1 is a time traveling adventure that takes Don and Katsu, the two adorable series mascots, across famous historical time periods. You’ll visit locales like the Warring States Era and even prehistoric dinosaur times after following a mysterious rabbit through a wormhole. In the sequel the two brothers are sent on a globetrotting adventure on a quest to recover the stolen “Ooparts” that keep the world safe. Also, I can’t imagine too many people other than Japanese elementary school students would be heavily invested in the story aspects of the game.
The story mode can be enjoyable just for the monster collecting part of it. After each battle there is a chance that one of the monsters you fought will request to join your party and there are quite a few to recruit. There’s even some crossover characters from other games like Kirby and Jibanyan from Yokai Watch.
Unfortunately it was difficult for me to appreciate this mode because it did not allow motion controls for the monster battles. Instead I had to rely on button presses which were more accurate but incredibly repetitive. For me this was quite a bummer because motion controls are my preferred method of play in the Taiko mode of the game.
Because of the lack of motion controls in the story mode, I found myself playing Taiko mode most of the time. This was fine with me since I wasn’t heavily invested in the plot anyway. In this mode there are plenty of ways to play the game — from motion controls via the Joy-Co controllers to touch screen controls when playing it in handheld. I even found myself on my lunch breaks at work playing the game in tabletop mode with the Joy-Cons, drumming away and hoping that none of my coworkers walked into the break room.
Because of the Switch’s HD rumble, each drum hit feels really good and there’s a difference between the “don” and “ka” drum sounds. It helps me relive the times I spent playing the game in Japanese game centers making a fool of myself in front of unfortunate onlookers.
Both of the games have a different song list consisting of mostly Japanese pop, vocaloid, and game music. If you’re not into those genres you probably won’t recognize most of the tracks offered in either game. Between the two games there are over 130 songs to play, but because they are separate games you will have to constantly go back and forth between the two to find the song that you want to play. It would have been nice if the track lists were combined to make it feel like a more whole game.
Although I enjoyed playing the game I would not recommend it to players who are new to the franchise. This is because the game feels like a deep cut for those who are already fans of the series due to the song list and gameplay types. Plus, the previous Taiko no Tatsujin game on the Switch, Drum ‘n’ Fun, is fantastic and it also offers multiplayer, which I was disappointed to discover that both games included in this package do not.
If you’re looking for a bit of Taiko fun for the Switch it’s undoubtably here in Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack but there is already the fantastic Drum ‘n’ Fun which is far superior to it in every way. It’s by no means a bad game, but I’m just not sure who I would recommend it to other than hardcore fans of the series. That being said, if you’re a fan of the franchise and just want to relax and capture some cute monsters this package delivers on that. Just don’t expect too deep of a story.
Taiko No Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 7/107/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack is a decent game for hardcore fans of the beloved Japanese drum rhythm game but I find it hard to recommend it to anyone outside of that core audience. If you’re looking for more variety and a much bigger song list, check out Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun, which is more of a greatest hits of the franchise.