Taiko: Drum Master

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a game by Namco Limited
Platform: Playstation 2 (2004)
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 9.3/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Rhythm Games, Rhythm Games
Taiko: Drum Master
Taiko: Drum Master
Taiko: Drum Master
Taiko: Drum Master

Apparently, Japan was having a whale of a time banging on traditional drums to their favorite tunes. Why can't the Western market share into some fun? Well, you're in luck. Taiko: Drum Master is released to introduce just how rhythm games with folk instruments are done. Will it have the same impact on its audience as it does in its homeland?

You can see why Taiko: Drum Master might struggle to find a market outside of Japan. It's one of those esoteric rhythm games that many wouldn't be willing to make too much effort to try and figure out. However, with familiar songs, more intuitive mechanics, and a trove of cutesy colorful graphics - could this refine rhythm games in the Western Market?

Bang Goes The Drum

If you purchased the game new, you should have a drum peripheral with Taiko: Drum Master. That piece of hardware serves as the core of the gameplay, and we can say here - that it would be pretty mundane without it. You can use your controller if you want - but it will nowhere near get the full effect of being a traditional drum master.

So is repeatedly banging your taiko drum to songs beat any fun? You'd be surprised how entertaining it can be. The main intrigue of Taiko: Drum Master comes from the increasing difficulty of gameplay. Using your cognitive skill to align beats as they come in the song is more challenging than you think. Neither is it too frustrating in the early stages of the game. The cutesy visuals relieve the pain of level failure.

Having said that, playing by yourself does feel a bit redundant. Taiko: Drum Master is a game built for arcades. You want to share your skills and experience with others in a social area. Banging on a drum peripheral by yourself does feel strange, and you'll definitely want to purchase a second drum to play with others.

Besides the fact, you'd want to have a second player on board, Taiko: Drum Master is a fun rhythm game. It certainly has its appeal to the Western market, given that it's a perfect formula for Japanophiles. Colorful visuals, familiar tracks, and innovative rhythm gameplay, to say the least. It's definitely a taste of the homeland on home consoles and will appear to a broad audience.

Can I Get It Taiko?

'Taiko: Drum Master is part of a series that brought rhythm games into a popular sphere, so it should be heralded as an innovator. That doesn't mean it's a canon game for the genre, though. It is nice that there was an effort to put this popular game onto home consoles. However, the inherent problem is that it was designed to be played in arcades.


Arguably, the Taiko: Drum Master experience is lost, considering it plays more like a party game than anything else. It has inspired a better refinement of home rhythm games like the Guitar Hero or Rock Band series. But where else are you going to get to play such a unique video game from Japan? On that note, it's worth playing, but make sure you're ready to invest in peripherals to create a home arcade!


  • Cutesy visuals soften the game's difficulty
  • Easy-to-learn, hard to master
  • A varied yet familiar tracklist


  • Better with two players, requiring a purchase of a second drum
  • Some of the levels are overly difficult
  • The game is only entertaining in short bursts

Download Taiko: Drum Master

Playstation 2

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Snapshots and Media

Playstation 2 Screenshots

See Also

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