By Makeda Byfield
From the moment I opened Taiko no Tatsujin (or Taiko Pop Tap), I couldn’t stop grinning. The Japanese drum game lights up the screen – literally – with it’s bright colors, cute characters, and lively music. The point of the game is to feel the rhythm and keep up with it. It’s straight forward, it’s fun, it’s adorable – and as a stressed student, it’s exactly the type of game that I needed when I wanted a quick break!
Taiko Pop Tap was recently released through the Apple Arcade, making it accessible for mobile players who were familiar with the Nintendo Switch version and new players as well. The instructions are simple: blue and red circles will appear from the right side of the screen; tap one side of the drum in time with a small red circle, the outer edge of the screen for a blue circle and use two fingers in the respective location for a big circle. Tapping the drum at the right time gives you points, which goes towards treasure boxes that give your avatar a costume! My avatar is currently dressed up like the cutest little dancing bumble bee you’ve ever seen. You can use hats, coats, and skins to change what your little drum buddy will look like. Your dressed up buddy will join you in the drum session and dance along with you; The vibrant color scheme, energetic music, and characters that dance along with my drumming truly make it feel like a party!! In fact, my younger sisters were drawn out of their room after hearing the festivities coming from my iPad. We all agreed that the varied music itself was one of our favorite parts of the game.
However, most of the critiques on the App Store were about the music – or lack of it. Users seemed disappointed in the limited song selections available. Maybe it’s because I never played the Switch version of the game, but I was thoroughly pleased with the peppy song list! There are about thirty different tunes to choose from with four difficulty levels for each (easy, normal, hard, and extreme). That’s about 120 chances to play each level once! I’ll agree that there’s not too many songs, but the different levels give players plenty of playing experiences to make up for it. There was a decent mix of songs, everything from “My Little Pony” to “Dragon Ball Z” to classics like “The William Tell Overture.” These are songs that appeal to fans of many genres but they’re all brought together for anyone to like because they’re positive and energetic. Adding songs in future updates would be beneficial, though.
In addition to a variety of difficulties, players have the option to use the multiplayer mode! While I’ve tried to use this mode two or three times, I have yet to match with a random player who was online and waiting for a partner at the same time as me. That was unfortunate. But the game also offers a “secret room mode.” A code allows you to play with one of your friends on another device. This option is great for competitive players!
If I were to give one more critique, I’d say that I got overwhelmed and couldn’t play as long as I would have liked too. My eyes easily grew tired from all the commotion, but digging through the settings made it clear that the gamemakers kept this sensitivity in mind. There were two other options available for the graphics that toned down the amount of light and movement on screen. I cannot remember if these options were available when I first downloaded the app; if not, the game could make it easier for light-sensitive players to find these settings immediately.
With all that being said, I don’t think I can complain about much in Taiko Pop Tap! The charming animations and upbeat songs made me look forward to playing during my lunch break each day. As a new player who just discovered the game through Apple Arcade, I was more than content with just about everything the game had to offer.
Makeda Byfield is a Bronx high school senior majoring in drama. She is our newest NYVGCC writing intern.