The sixth generation of consoles (PS2, Gamecube, Xbox) was great for reasons that went beyond heightened processing power and more expansive software. Developers were more comfortable in sending over localized titles that might have seemed niche to an American market. For instance, just one or two generations prior (Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil and the even more obscure Japanese title Mr.Mosquito) but they were also willing to take many creative risks.
As such, it wasn’t uncommon to see bizarre peripherals such as a keyboard for the Nintendo Gamecube or game-show styled buzzers to go along with a trivia game. It was towards the middle of the Playstation 2’s life cycle that Bandai Namco’s Taiko series saw a Western localization in the form of Taiko: Drum Master in late 2004. For those unfamiliar with the series- it’s a set of rhythm arcade games that make use of a Taiko drum controller (think Japanese Donkey Konga). Many of the Taiko games have unfortunately remained overseas, but that’s going to change before the year is over!
Taiko No Tatsujin: Rhythmic Adventure Pack (slated for a Winter 2020 launch) contains a duo of Taiko games that were previously only released in Japan for the 3DS family. Translating to Rhythmic Adventure 1 and 2 respectively, these games plop Don-Chan (the hero of the arcade games) into an overhead RPG. He’ll be traveling through time and taking on a host of over 250 monsters in rhythmic battles. Since these are RPGs at heart, the 3DS releases were full of dialogue. It’s worth noting that there will be no American voice-overs for this localization- just subtitles in various languages. In addition to these two RPG titles, you’ll also have access to the original “Taiko No Tatsujin” rhythm game mode- packed with 130+ songs to drum along.
Interestingly, the Taiko Drum add-on for Switch is nowhere to be seen in the West. While you can play with the joy-cons serving as drum sticks, reviewers such as NintendoLife have stated that you won’t get the most out of a game like this without the unique add-on. For the time being, you could simply import one since the Switch is region free. That being said, it’s an odd decision that the drum isn’t being bundled with a physical release or being lined up on North American shelves for individual purchase at the very least.
It’s great to see Bandai Namco showing more love to its more niche IPs as of late. First Mr.Driller, now Taiko. I still have my fingers crossed for something Klonoa related in the coming months. Perhaps if we’re really lucky, we’ll see a proper localization of something like Wagan Land in the future.