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Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: 7tsu no Shima no Daibouken review (DS)

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Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: 7tsu no Shima no Daibouken review (DS)

Post  Adminassassin on Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:57 am

Translating to “Extreme! Taiko Drum Master DS: The Great Adventure of the Seven Islands,” this is the second of three games on the handheld, none of which have been released outside of Japan. With it looking unlikely to receive a translated release, your best bet is to find a Japanese copy. But is the game worth the price of importing?

The game has very simple mechanics, all of which use the touch screen. Musical notes scroll from right to left as the songs play and it’s up to the player to hit the drum on the touch screen at the right moment. Red notes require a tapping of the drum itself, which makes up the majority of the bottom screen, while blue notes should be met with hitting the edge of the drum or the area outside it. There are several other types of notes in this edition, but most of them either require continuous drumming or alternating drumming. A new copy of the game comes with some goodies, including some stickers of the various characters, but it is the other included item that will actually help players. Nestled to the side of the cart itself is a white box that includes two Taiko styluses. On the later difficulties, it is to the player’s advantage to use a stylus for each color and the red and blue ones included are both aesthetically pleasing and practical to use. As with other music games, players are judged on their timing as well as their accuracy. Hitting the note just right will bring about gold text over the note (Perfect), while just barely making it will result in white text (Okay.) The key to a good score lies in hitting lots of Perfects and keeping a combo going for as long as possible.

Like the other games in the series, Meccha! has four difficulties to choose from, which ensures that gamers of all skills can enjoy the title. The player starts with the options of Easy (represented by sakura flowers), Normal (represented by bamboo shoots), and Hard (represented by a bonsai.) The player can also later unlock the fourth and most challenging difficulty: Oni. As its name suggests, this makes the number and rate of the beats fairly demonic.

Meccha! offers a diverse range of mode, including a fairly standard “pick a song off the list and go for the high score” mode as well as costume, practice, multiplayer and story modes. The story mode is quite lengthy and makes up the bulk of the enjoyment, although it can also make for the most difficulties. Seeing as the story mode is somewhat text-heavy, it can be a little frustrating for non-Japanese speaking gamers, especially since some levels require certain costumes to be worn in order to progress. The costume mode eventually offers a sizeable amount of costumes and possible combinations, so this can be a problem when needing a certain outfit to get to the boss. Thankfully, a quick search on the internet can provide quick guides on what to wear in these spots.

Each of the seven islands in the story mode is broken into around a dozen levels, each with different goals. While not always immediately obvious from the level select text box, objectives are usually straight-forward. They can range from achieving a certain score or not missing a note to boss fights where successfully hit notes do damage while “misses” and bomb notes hurt you as the boss tries to confuse or distract you by partially covering the notes. Also popping up in a good portion of the levels is a Team Rocket-like trio that repeatedly challenges you with their doppelganger drum creatures. The downside of these levels is that they add a power-up based multiplayer aspect, with many of the power-ups making it very difficult to maintain a combo while rarely providing the player with any major advantage. Seeing as power-ups randomly decide to hinder either the player or the computer and the fact that skipping them counts as a “miss,” the power-ups in general are usually just annoying.

Besides the occasional costume-based confusion in story mode, the title isn’t too intimidating to import. The menus are organized and fairly straightforward and the principles of the game and its genre don’t lead to needing too much explanation from the game itself. Although a few songs have Roman characters in either their title or artist name to help keep track of which is which, players can also cycle through songs and get audio previews of what they’re about to select. The puzzling exception is in multiplayer mode. Here, the game plays some background music and doesn’t offer the audio samples to help navigate the extensive list of songs. On the plus side, the game only requires one player to have the game and the entire unlocked library is available to play here. Multiplayer is solid score-based fun, although it also has the annoying power-ups mentioned earlier.

The game carries a constantly cute and cheerful presentation that starts with its cartoony cast and continues on to its creative, yet odd assortment of costumes. The squeaky, high-pitched voice of the drum-based protagonist, who spouts Japanese phrases after every selection in the menus and several times during songs, can grate a little at times. It would have been nice to be able to turn the voice off in the options.

Containing a diverse soundtrack of original songs and those from Anime, other Namco games, J-Pop and historic composers, the game boasts around 50 songs, about 15 more than its predecessor. With such a wide range, nearly everyone is sure to find a few songs they recognize, whether it’s “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” (the theme to Neon Genesis Evangelion), “Linda Linda” by The Blue Hearts, or “The Entertainer” by Scott Chaplin. Most songs are fun and catchy, even if the player doesn’t recognize them, and they make up for a few relative duds like “Yankee Doodle” or “The ABC Song”. The game keeps track of everything from high scores and medals to the highest % of notes, “Perfects”, “Okays”, and “Misses” ever hit, adding another layer of addiction in striving to improve.

Hopefully one of these titles or their big brother title on the Wii (also currently Japan-only) will see a wider release soon. Importing Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: 7tsu no Shima no Daibouken, your only option at this point, will be a little bit more expensive and a little more difficult than your average DS game but for those who even moderately enjoy music games or just like a good challenge, it’s fully worth the extra trouble.

SCORE: 8/10

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Re: Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: 7tsu no Shima no Daibouken review (DS)

Post  Adminassassin on Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:09 pm


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Re: Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: 7tsu no Shima no Daibouken review (DS)

Post  Twilight_Crow on Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:02 am

Good review Smile. I play this game on my emulator is great, it should come to America.
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Re: Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: 7tsu no Shima no Daibouken review (DS)

Post  Adminassassin on Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:36 pm

Yeah there are some good PC emulators/rip-offs.(Which I'm perfectly ok with since you have to import practically every game which is silly.) I really need to get one or two of them. Also, love your new avatar.

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Re: Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS: 7tsu no Shima no Daibouken review (DS)

Post  Twilight_Crow on Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:36 pm

Thanks O_B, koromori is awesome Very Happy, tried some pokemon white jp (is gonna be a great game btw, day one purchase Exclamation ) and fell in love with him.

Since I got the emu, I've tried many japanese games, so many great games we won't see comming Sad. Some are unplayable, but this one is a blast, only tried this Meccha Drum game so far, and already would love to see an NA version, on any system (the wii version would be great).
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