Do you like Rhythm games? Do you like cutesy stuff from Japan? Do you like VOCALOID? Do you like bopping it to japanese music? Do you want to slap some drums to anime openings?
But, most importantly, YOU WANNA BECOME A DRUM MASTER?
This guide is for you! Whether you wanna be serious or just wanna jam it out, have a budget or not, or are just interested in my ramblings, this guide is FOR YOU!
Get ready donders, grab your bachis, and let's become drum masters!
(If you enjoy this guide, please share it with friends! It's super appreciated!)
what IS Taiko no Tatsujin? What IS it? It's a huge phenomenon in Japan. In short, a rhythm game created by NAMCO in 2001 in the form of an arcade machine featuring two huge japanese taiko drums. The game is ultra simple! Hit the notes, fill the Soul gauge, get maximum points!
Simple enough, right? Well, despite its cutesy look, this game is also notorious for having extremely difficult songs to play. Seems impossible right? But it's possible to do this! With… a lot of practice of course! Don't let these intimidate you! These guys didn't become masters in one day!
The game was eventually ported to a loooot of consoles. And is still very popular to this date, as a new arcade and new games are still coming out!
This game is sadly very very unknown in the west. ONE attempt was made before 2018 to bring Taiko to the west, but we'll talk about it later.
There are many ways to play! With a touch screen, with your controller, but with also what we call a tatacon (TAiko no TAtsujin CONtroller), which is basically a small taiko drum with its own bachis! Often, these are released along with new home console installment! However they're a bit expensive. But that's ok! You can still be a drum master even without an actual drum or bachis!
"Why should I play this?"
Short answer: Why not?
Long answer: Because it's a fun rhythm game with a lot of interesting songs, that can also be challenging to the most hardcore of rhythm game players! It's also a fun way to experience your favorite video game, anime, vocaloid (and so on) songs! It's also very fun, and this game deserves much more recognition. Its aesthetic, its cleverness, its cuteness. Its an amazing game that gets overlooked often.
So, let's dive into the games! In the west, we have the possibility of getting 3 games without exporting anything!
TAIKO NO TATSUJIN: RHYTHM FESTIVAL (Nintendo Switch) (2022) - As of writing this, it is still an upcoming release. Seems like BAMCO is pushing for yearly releases for Taiko in the west hey! This one looks good so far, with costumes and stuff, but it will come with a subscription service to get access to 500 songs. It kind of sours me, those who know me know I hate anti-consumer things like this. But let's see. I'm staying cautiously optimistic.
TAIKO NO TATSUJIN: THE DRUM MASTER (XBox, PC) (2022) - Don't get me started on this one. Its a great release post-launch. And folks have managed to crack down how to mod it. Its an official Taiko PC release too! That should be the dream! But on release it took 3 days for the game to be officially playable because of a bug, bug which was fixed day-one by a fanmade patch. It left me a bit soured. But overall its a great experience, just feels a bit cheap, rushed, and also barely promoted. Get this one on sale or on the gamepass. But hey, you do you!
TAIKO NO TATSUJIN: POP TAP BEAT (IOS) (2021) - A Taiko release on Apple Arcade. Its a fun little romp, but for a full-time taiko game, I would go with other games. Especially since this one is on a service that requires monthly payment to be allowed to play it.
TAIKO NO TATSUJIN: RHYTHMIC ADVENTURE PACK (Nintendo Switch) (2020) - A port of the second and third RPG games from the 3DS Taiko games. It has its quirks like being unable to use a tatacon in story mode due to being unable to remap controls, as well as being able to slide your finger around to hit drums like you're pressing an autofire button in touch mode (which hinders some higher level performances if you slide your finger just a bit), but it is still a fun time. Definetively feels less higher quality than Drum 'n' Fun in my opinion
TAIKO NO TATSUJIN: DRUM 'N' FUN (Nintendo Switch) (2018) - This version of Taiko is very good for what it is! It's a great game as an introduction to Taiko on consoles! I own it, and it's loads of fun! Rather than dressing up your drum, you get to play as different characters from the franchise with different abilities to help (or hinder) your performance! It also has a bunch of minigames too! And it has good DLCs!
TAIKO NO TATSUJIN: DRUM SESSION (PS4) (2017) - Lots of DLCs, lots of content, costumes, a fun game! Taiko's first western release in a LONG time. It was controversial in its release days, but its a great game.
NOTE: NO MORE DLCS ARE BEING RELEASED FOR IT, AND THEY MAY BE PHASED OUT IN THE FUTURE.
TAIKO: DRUM MASTER (PS2) (2004) - The black sheep amongst all Taiko games. NAMCO wanted to appeal to the american audience with this new rhythm game, making the songs very american compared to the rest of the serie. I used to not like this one very much, but I've come to like it quite a bit with time, it's oddness charms me.
As for all the other games on PS2, PSP, DS, WII, WII U etc… well tough luck, you'll have to import them! Wooo….. BUT, if you dont have a budget, lemme slide in somethin for ya, and no it's not emulators…
Taiko simulators, ah yes! Where Taiko's western audience was found until 2018. These are popular with veterans to train, but these are also good alternatives for those who want to try out Taiko, but don't want to spend any money, or can't spend any money.
NOTE: I won't cover Osu!Taiko as I'm only covering those who are more accurately close to the actual Taiko games.
Anyways, let's go!
TAIKO WEB (TAIKO.BUI.PM) - PLATFORM: WEB BROWSER - COMPATIBILITY: MOBILE PHONES, DESKTOPS, TABLETS (As long as you have a good performing device and internet)
Taiko Web is a great place to start if you'd like to try out Taiko! It has an online 2 player mode, a bunch of great songs, and (usually) are mapped nicely! If you want a quick to whip out and play Taiko experience that gets updated regularly, check out Taiko Web!
However, it comes with its flaws. Some maps experiences desync with the song, there will be lag moments especially when entering Go-Go mode (and ESPECIALLY on mobile), and it has its bugs that can be reported to its github and is always updated. Tho, it's a really good place to start!
Link to access it is on the title of this subsection!
TJAPLAYER3 - PLATFORM: COMPUTERS - COMPATIBILITY: WINDOWS, MAC (???), LINUX (???)
TJAplayer3 is a simulator developped by AoiLight, and is, in my opinion, one of the best simulators out there. Since you can download the maps of the songs online, you have access to pretty much all the songs in Taiko existance as long as you know its title in japanese (which can be easy to find if you know how to search for it). It's fairly easy to install, and while it doesn't come prebundled with any skin or any songs, the guide I linked provide everything you need to know or have! Including how to download the game and get it working, songs bundles and skins to make your experience better and how to find songs. Remember that most songs you'll want to search are those that were present in past and current taiko games. I suggest you look at youtube videos of taiko plays/the taiko no tatsujin soundtrack to find more songs. But the packs included should do the trick for you still!
Link to download and instructions is linked on the title of the subsection
There are multiple forks of TJAPlayer3! The link I set up above is outdated, but I don't want to remove the informations. Everything can be found on the website TJADataba.se. As for the fork I reccomend, I play on TJAPlayer3-Dev. Its not on the website anymore so I would suggest going with the one they reccomend.
So, I hope that wasn't overwhelming! And that it peaked your interest even just a bit! Got any comments? Any questions or concerns? Feel free to contact me either throught e-mail (linked at the bottom of the page) or contact me throught twitter or instagram (linked in my arts tab)
And please, if you enjoyed this guide, share it with friends! Help get this game out there!
And if you want to find songs, stay up to date with the game, or even find song lyrics for your fave song in Taiko, do visit Taikotime! This blog has been running for almost 10 years now, and has everything you need to know about Taiko!
LAST UPDATED: March 4th 2022