My Heart Beats Like A Drum, Taiko Master
This one a bit special to me. The first time I came to Japan was already over 6 years ago. In February of 2010, I enjoyed my first Japan experience. Of course, I also went to a game center back then. My sense of rhythm was really bad back then. It was still way before I started playing bass and actually got a real sense of rhythm. None the less, you probably were just like me, when bored in school, in the office or at your own desk, you would grab a pen and use it as drum sticks, the drums and snares being whatever objects were available on your desk.
I had also seen a few clips of Taiko drummers on the internet. It’s an amazing spectacle. The raw power, yet the gentle motions, combining various sounds and creating an unparalleled type of music. Drumming on a regular drum set and drumming on taiko drums are really different. In terms of technique as well as in the sound they produce. I wanted to try it out. And well, with the game, I could. I still play it every once in a while at the game centers around Tokyo. SEGA, Taito Station, Adores, they all have it, as it is a really popular game. Sometimes you have to wait in line.
First, you chose a drum and grab the drum sticks. They are smaller than the real ones used for taiko, but bigger and heavier than those used for regular drum sets. The drum has four areas, that are the controls for the game. The outer edge are left and right respectively to the side you hit, the middle it the confirm button, so to speak.
Your character is a taiko drum with a face, using do~n at the end of every sentence, the sound of a drum in Japanese onomatopoeia. You can get new costumes during events or when you level up. I was lucky and got Raimu from Touhou Project, when those songs were popular and had an event in the game.
As of now, there are various genres to choose your favorite song from. J-Pop, including AKB48, Kyarypamyupamyu, Sekai no Owari, EXILE and more, Anime, including Love Live, Idol M@ster, Dengen Toppa Gurren Lagan and more, Game including Super Mario, Touhou Project, Megaman/Rockman and more, and the ever popular Vocaloid.
Gameplay is a simple as it can get. You hit the drums according to the symbols that float towards the hit area. Red means you hit the center, blue means hitting the rim. A long yellow bar allows you to hit as many times, as your hands and arms allow you to. Small symbols are for one drum stick, big ones are for hitting with both. The more hits, the more points. With good hits, you fill up the bar for success. Combos of 50 and 100 and every further 100 give you extra points.
If you play against a friend, there are sometimes actions, where the one that hits better, gets the points. It still counts as a hit for both, but the points go to one side, unless it’s a tie.
Taiko no Tatsujin, Taiko Master is a long time favorite of mine. It just feels good to hit the drums, rhythmic or not, trying to beat my previous scores, get the full combos I missed the previous times, and just let out a lot of frustration in a fun and harmless way. I’m playing to have a good time. And so far, it never let me down. So why not try it on your own?