I have played a fair amount of Taiko No Tatsujin drum games in my time - from the large drum machines in arcades to the drum version for Nintendo Switch - I’ve enjoyed my time smashing away and listening to music in languages I don’t really understand. And, now, on Apple Arcade, you can play Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat. It's a beautiful version of the game.
GameplayOn your screen, you will see all of the classics from the game - your strange drum character, loads of music to choose from, and an outline of the drop. There are four ways to hit your drum - one tap in the middle for small red marks, two taps at the same time in the middle for large red marks, one tap on the outside of the drum area for blue tap marks and two taps on the outside of the drum area for big blue marks.
In Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat, you will find a new variety of songs - from things you may have heard before like the My Little Pony Theme Song or the Alphabet Song to lesser known ditties like Feed Me Chocolate or Bandai Namco’s own original Halloween Song. These often have a lot of Japanese in them - meaning you probably can’t sing along, but there is a definite beat that you can follow, carefully matching the icons that come across your screen.
Sounds fun, right?The screen itself, if you are watching someone play, is wildly entertaining. Dogs dance across the screen, the weather changes, the images start moving and animating along the bottom, there are rainbows coming off the drum character as it dances and ghosts appear when a note is missed. Depending on the song itself, there are different dances, characters and general themes, though you can’t really watch these if you are actually playing as you will need to pay attention to the notes, of course. This amount of detail and fun in watching reminds me of the arcade machine version, where people would be watching, waiting for their turn, and I am glad this detail is still in the game.
Character CustomisationWhen it comes to your character, you can customise their outfit, colour and hat. These can be picked from an inventory of options and you can unlock more over time. They don’t have any bonuses to them and are just for looks. These are unlocked through treasure chests, which are quite an interesting new addition. When you play a level, once the level has ended, you will get points towards unlocking a chest.
These points are awarded for random things - playing a level, completing a level, being one of the five you have played that day, playing ten songs in that level and so forth. There is no list of achievements that you should be aiming for to get extra points to unlock a chest but I wish there was. If you are going to go for a whole “complete these tasks to unlock more stuff” approach, you should tell us the tasks. I was surprised when I first hit an over 100 combo and didn’t get a little bonus towards my treasure chest, there should totally be more bonuses for these sorts of things!
Unlock the treasure chestsInside the chests, along with cosmetics, there are different note sounds and other small gains. So far, after unlocking loads of these chests, I have not found any new songs, so there is hope that they are adding new songs over time, as some of the categories are looking pretty empty and I am missing my favourite song, TRAIN TRAIN.
Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat has an online multiplayer where you can select a multiplayer mode and enter in a code that your friend has, to join them. If you know another person with Apple Arcade, you can easily connect and show who is the best at drums.