Co-Optimus – Review – Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival Co-op Review


bandai namco Taiko no Tatsujin A series of drum-based rhythm games have appeared on all major consoles this generation, but no more so than Nintendo Switch. Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival marks the franchise’s fourth Switch entry. This episode kicks things up a notch with the new 4-player co-op DON-Chan Band mode, the addictive Great Drum Toy War mode, a massive story that ties everything together and, of course, the traditional Taiko mode. While music fans will have countless hours of fun across the various modes, were particularly excited for the cooperative.

rhythm party begins with a cutscene illustrating the arrival of DON-Chan, the series’ protagonist, in Omiko City. There, he quickly befriends a shapeshifting creature known as Kumo-kyun. The two will team up to take part in numerous shows and activities throughout the city. The story comes to life through a combination of text dialogue and character portrayals, just like in a visual novel or classic RPG. Expect a simplistic narrative driven by cuteness and cheerfulness, a perfect fit for a musical game featuring anthropomorphic drums.

From Omiko City’s main menu, players can visit Thunder Shrine to play Taiko mode, Taiko Land to play board games, Dondoko Town for online play, “My Room” for customization (including including some Nintendo-themed outfits) and the store that sells lots of customization items. No matter which modes you play, you will earn Don Coins for shopping and the Drum Level experience. Increasing the battery level will unlock new rewards and progress the overall story. It’s a solid and enjoyable progression system.

Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythm Festival Omiko City Menu

Taiko mode offers the traditional series experience. One or two players select a song, difficulty, and then do their best to accompany the music. A series of red and blue note symbols scrolls from the right; the goal is to press the corresponding button when the notes reach the target spot on the left. Big notes can be hit with two buttons for extra points, yellow streaks represent drum rolls, and balloon notes can be popped with the quick press of a button. It’s simple, but faster songs and higher difficulties add a lot of challenges. The new Enhancement Support feature allows players to practice specific parts of a song, which should help.

The more notes players successfully hit without missing, the more the soul meter above the playing field fills up. Increase the yellow meter and you’ll skip the song, earning a good chunk of coins along the way. Failure to reach yellow will result in a loss and only a small number of coins will be won. Achieving a “full combo” by hitting every single note will earn the highest note and payout. As the soul meter fills up, the characters and visual effects in the background get crazier and more frenetic – a big part of the fun. Taiko mode allows two players to play their own note fields simultaneously in a competitive fashion, although this is not the case. feel competitive except when playing online.

Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythm Festival

The great drum toy war is rhythm partythe new addictive mode. In it, players assemble a toy box (deck) full of cute taiko characters, all of which grant different effects during battle. You then equip the box and play songs against an AI character or another player. These battles work normally Taiko cross songs with tug of war. As players hit the notes well, a new meter fills up which eventually performs an attack from the toy box. Attacks in this mode create false notes, blur the playing field, invert note colors, and more. This makes battles chaotic and dynamic. At the end of the song, the player who has summoned the most characters from their toy box is declared the winner.

The single-player portion of The Great Drum Toy War features 21 missions, all with their own stories focused on toy battles. Each mission challenges the hero to take on a different Taiko character while trying to complete three optional objectives. Objectives tend to involve equipping a specific toy or performing the attack on a certain toy during the match. These goals add replay value, but they’re hampered by the clunky UI of the toy box component. Between missions, you have to return to the top menu in Great Drum Toy War in order to access the Toy Box Editor, a slow and clumsy process. It’s hard to see and know the effects of your Toy Chest units before a match, which additionally requires slower travel to the top menu. The whole process adds a huge hassle to what should be a fast pick-up-and-play experience.

Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythm Festival DON-Chan Band co-op

Fortunately, the new DON-Chan Band mode is more intuitive. 1-4 local players can form a party and complete missions or just play songs of their choice. All 20 missions have their own cutscenes before and after the song, so DON-Chan Band is very much a cooperative story mode. Each of the four band members plays a specific instrument or role during the song, with bandmates AI filling in the blanks. DON-Chan Band cannot be played with online players, unlike Taiko and Great Drum Toy War modes.

In DON-Chan Band, the team shares a giant playground. Each player has their own lane to take care of, but there are new cooperative mechanics. Sometimes all four members have to hit a note at the same time; other times everyone has to get the notes in the correct sequence. These new mechanics fit the theme of the band perfectly, although one bad player could really wreck the band’s performance and cause everyone to fail on the song. A handicap option for individual players would help. Also, the total number of playable songs in DON-Chan Band exceeds 20, which is a bit meager. Presumably, the limited quantity is due to the songs requiring new unique 4-player scoreboards only for one mode.

Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythm Festival Music Pass

Taiko Music Pass Interface

A music game is only as good as its song library. rhythm party features a typical Japanese music soundtrack, with 76 songs included in 7 categories: Pop, Anime, Vocaloid, Variety, Classical, Game Music and Namco Original. Highlights include Nintendo tracks Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zeldaand Kirbyas good as Sailor Moon theme song. DLC packs are available with songs from dragonballHatsune Miku, A play, and more. In addition, rhythm party offers the Taiko Music Pass as an optional subscription. For $5 a month or $10 every 90 days, players can access an ever-growing library of over 500 songs. Hey, if you want the game to last virtually forever, that’s an option!

rhythm party plays well with or without a drum device. The drums add movement and extra sound to the experience, but it’s probably easier to hit the note prompts consistently with the buttons. If you’re buying a drum, don’t go cheap with third-party drums. Get the official Hori brand drum for Switch. I use the official PlayStation Drum (no longer in production) in combination with the Brook Wingman NS accessory to get the same authentic experience, and that’s a joy.

Taiko no Tatsujin Rhythm Festival

Barebones Taiko games (like Taiko no Tatsujin: The Drum Master for Xbox) are great fun even without story modes. Still, the delicious new modes and the story that connects them make Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival one of the best games in the series. The 4-player DON-Chan Band mode in particular adds a welcome co-op element missing from most Taiko games. It’s a shame that the Great Drum Toy War mode menus are so unwieldy, but everything else rhythm party is so polite, it hardly matters. Fans of musical games won’t want to miss the greatest adventure of DON-Chan and his friends!

Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival retails for $49.99 numerically and physically. Digital at $54.99 deluxe edition bundles the game with a 90-day Taiko Music Pass – a $5 savings over buying them separately. The official Taiko no Tatsujin battery checker costs ~$82 on Amazon.

A Nintendo Switch code has been provided by the publisher for review.


The cooperative experience: The new DON-chan Band mode allows up to four players to play a cooperative session together. Everyone drums the same song but each with their own line. The difficulty of the song can also be set for each player individually. Taiko mode also returns for two players to play together.

Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graph represents this experience with an average score for the game as a whole. For an explanation of our scores, please see our Exam Score Explanation Guide.


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