It’s wild to get excited about a musical rhythm game in 2022, but one Xbox Game Pass title in particular that wears its Japanese roots on its sleeve deserves the hype. Xbox has never traditionally been known for highlighting Japanese games, but that has changed in recent years. We have come a long way since the days of Guitar Hero and Rock band, and while those are well in the rearview mirror, a new Xbox rhythm hit has been generating excitement. The Xbox Game Pass library just got a whole lot more appealing with the latest additions. But what makes this music game so special?
Wild and wacky fun
As of January 27, 2022, Taiko no Tatsujin: The Drum Master will be added to Xbox Game Pass, marking the series’ first appearance on Microsoft’s platform. This series has grown in popularity in the arcades, with these versions featuring two giant drum peripherals so you can bang to the beat. While this is undoubtedly the definitive edition of the game, being able to play a version of it from the comfort of your own home is a welcome addition.
The console version is presented just like the arcade edition. You must beat the drums (or press the buttons) in time with the music, with various techniques to master across the game’s multiple difficulties and dozens of songs.
Although the general premise is simple, things can quickly get choppy and chaotic, especially on the harder difficulties. But even beginners can have fun and learn the ropes, as the button prompts just start, only requiring you to navigate between a few entries.
The good thing is that you don’t have to be ultra-precise to perform well. Different grades are awarded depending on when you hit a particular note. The closer you are to the center, the more points you’ll get, but even if you don’t hit the note exactly in time, you can still continue your combo, giving you a bit of flexibility.
The beat of a drum
Part of what makes this game so enjoyable is its art, which consists of bright, flat colors with over-the-top animations and sounds. Some of the characters look menacing, while others are cute and endearing, but all share a similar style that really pops on screen as you play.
Of course, a rhythm game is only as good as its song selection, and Taiko no Tatsujin: The Drum Master book in this department. The Xbox edition features over 70 songs, ranging from international pop, anime, classic, and even Namco originals. The Nintendo Switch version of this game features exclusive Nintendo-themed songs, so we’ve crossed our fingers that some tracks from the Xbox franchises will be available as DLC, though we won’t be holding our breath.
If you like western pop, you may not vibrate with Taiko no Tatsujin: The Drum Master‘s song selection, so keep that in mind. However, even if you’re not the biggest fan of these genres, the game itself is still fun and brings back memories of being in an arcade.
Speaking of which, it’s hard to argue Taiko no Tatsujin not to mention the original arcade edition. This is, of course, the definitive way to play, but there’s actually a battery peripheral you can get for the PS4 and Nintendo Switch versions that makes it a whole lot more fun. Instead of giving you two drums, you only get one, and the pad is split into two different sides, mimicking the arcade drum.
Unfortunately, these controller peripherals aren’t interchangeable between consoles, and there’s no option for Xbox yet. But after its launch on Xbox Game Pass, it may attract enough attention to warrant the development of an Xbox drum controller.
Still, even playing with buttons is still fun, made even better by its inclusion on Xbox Game Pass. What would normally be a difficult game to recommend to anyone is now much more accessible thanks to its availability on Microsoft’s subscription service, which recently surpassed 25 million users.