Analysis of Taiko no Tatsujin, J-Pop, drum and a genuine Japanese

Written by Kamran Haider

Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum’n’Fun! Japanese music oozes and good humor. One of the most fun, original and friendly video games that can be found in the extensive Nintendo Switch catalog. Bandai Namco presents it to us as it arrived in Japan, but is it enough to justify its presence in our collection? We tell you in our analysis of Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum’n’Fun.

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! came to the European and American Nintendo DS in 2007. Many imagined then that the landing of the INIS video game with their songs of Asian Kung Fu Generation, The Blue Hearts, Kishidan or the legendary L’Arc-en-Ciel would not be easy. The response from the publisher would soon take place: the animators of Ouendan! they would become special agents and the J-Pop melodies would be replaced by themes from the Village People, Jamiroquai, Madonna, Queen, David Bowie or the Rolling Stone … played by other bands and artists.

Nobody doubts that the list of songs of the western cartridge was pure luxury, but I always thought that the identity of the original work of INIS was lost in its translation and that the game of the agents ended up being the ugly duckling of the trilogy, desperado and lost like an English tourist with flip flops and socks on the Ramblas in August. When Bandai Namco confirmed that Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum’s Fun ! on Nintendo Switch, the one we analyzed, and Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session! in PS4 they would arrive (finally) in Europe, I remembered the case of Elite Beat Agents. What changes would the editor make to her list of hits from Japan? We did not take long to know an answer: none.

Bandai Namco’s bet by the veteran saga Taiko no Tatsujin, born in the Japanese arcades in 2001, keeps pure its 100% Japanese essence in exchange for the undeniable risk of a Western public reluctant to meet exotic issues from the Pop and rock hits from Japan, popular anime series, videogame musical classics or Vocaloid. In any case, it is indisputable the courage of the distributor to offer the pedigree of the brand without reservations, but is it enough to offer a satisfactory musical product?


The mechanics of Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum’n’Fun! it may seem simple, but it involves a demanding style of play at the highest levels of experience: it is played with a drum and two drumsticks, and it urges us to touch the drum’s patch and hoop, responding to the red spheres by touching the patch and the blue ones playing the hoop. The game asks for the harmonic combination of both movements, matching the inside and outside of the instrument and complying with the orders given by the software at all times. The million dollar question, given the little stock of drums in Spain and Mexico, how do you play without the instrument? Basically with the buttons, although the proposal loses part of the charm, it is still perfectly playable.

The easy and normal way helps us to get used to the mechanics. Playing the different catalog songs allows us to expand the number of themes available to enjoy in the game, so it is worthwhile to continue playing to reach the full range of available melodies, distributed among themes of J-Pop, anime, Vocaloid, videogames (with exclusive Sony and Nintendo themes according to the platform) and themes from Bandai Namco’s own crop. The great challenge and the truly fun is in the difficult and extreme levels, which pose the real challenge Taiko no Tatsujin and the one that justifies the mere existence of Drum’n’Fun.drum and a genuine Japanese

The great challenge and the truly fun is in the difficult and extreme levels

It also highlights the inclusion of a wonderful collection of minigames of one to four players that are both fun and hilarious. The base of the game is in the rhythm, as in the base of Taiko no Tatsujin, but it is disguised with markedly Japanese humor with a discarding design and with the possibility of playing in competitive, cooperative or all against all. Many of the songs and characters of the original software are used, maintaining the playable bases of the series and with two different levels of difficulty that help add a new layer of difficulty.

Bandai Namco has not given much importance to the competition, and the party mode is based entirely on entertaining the four players with challenges in which humor and the party itself are the undisputed protagonists. Do you miss anything more competition? Surely, but more in a conventional way than in the party, in which the editor, in the absence of online challenges, could have had the deference of including an online ranking in which to compete with other players around the world. The competition is in the game itself, offering no alternative but to enjoy it alone or accompanied, but without any other incentive than mere fun.PlayStation 2


Times have changed a lot since the original premiere of Taiko no Tatsujin on PlayStation 2, and today’s screens, with better resolutions and dozens of inches, do not have the answer that nostalgic tube TVs have. It means that, in many cases, Taiko no Tatsujin will require a special configuration according to the screen in which it is played. The developers have accommodated an easy system that allows them to put at the same time what is heard and played, so there is no problem with enjoying the title on any device. In the case of Switch with Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum’n’Fun! , beyond the drum and buttons, the opportunity to interact with Joy Con is offered.

No one disputes that the debut of Taiko no Tatsujin in Europe is a blessing, but it is no less true that the game could fall short for many players who expect more than music in a rhythmic game. The reality is that the present genre has difficult to innovate beyond the addition of new themes, and we should positively value the conversion into a fun festive game the themes and rhythms of Bandai Namco’s original game. In your hand remains to know if it is worth to get the video game without having the original drums: we know that the distribution has been short and hard to get one without a previous reservation of the game, released on PS4 and Nintendo Switch in early November.DrumnFun

However, if you want to turn a great collection of Japanese themes into a videogame, Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum’n’Fun! It is the answer to your wishes. Bandai Namco’s commitment to keeping the original songs intact is worthy of praise and keeps the game identical to what the Japanese enjoy in their recreational games for more than 15 years. We miss the opening of Digimon or the presence of Kageyama in the Cha-La Head-Cha-La, but X Japan fixes everything and has the ZenZenZense of Your Name. What more can we ask? Don don don, don KA!

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Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum’n’Fun! opens in Europe with a wide selection of anime, J-Pop, Vocaloid and homegrown by Bandai Namco. It prevents him from testing the honey of excellence his excessive confidence in the original formula of the series, without offering a greater playable alternative than the musical arcade, without the possibility of competing beyond the local mode. It highlights its party mode for four players, hilarious and able to take advantage of the game mechanics to turn it into a competent festive title.

  • Very funny, friendly and original: 100% Japanese
  • He has kept the themes released in the original game
  • Party mode is pure entertainment
  • Easy configuration to play well on contemporary screens
  • Although it is playable without a drum, the experience loses part of the charm
  • He relies so much on his game mechanics that he neglects the rest of the sections
  • Japanese music is a double-edged sword: if you do not like it, it’s not your game

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Kamran Haider

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