|The ninth Taiko no Tatsujin game on PS2 in Japan, Doka mostly follows the formula of lots of songs to drum to in different genres, plus an assortment of amusing minigames.|
An all-new adventure game mode comes along this time--potentially a very big addition to the series, but perhaps mostly lost on non-Japanese-speakers such as myself. It's a way to make the player go through a series of (probably) escalating song drumming challenges, and, if you know Japanese, no doubt a place to find an amusing story and learn more about the colorful cast of characters, but, not being able to understand that part of it, I'm not sure how much trouble I would go to to get through this mode (plus, the songs are set on high difficulty!).
As usual, the four new minigames are kind of a mixed bag, all cute, and a few pretty fun, particularly multiplayer. And as a bonus, they're Christmas-themed! (I also appreciated part of the Nutcracker being one of the included drummable songs. :)
In a snowball-throwing one, you tap the left and right drum rim edges to dodge left and right, and drum to fling snowballs at your opponent. Each of you has three snow barriers to hide behind, but these can be reduced by barrages of snowballs. The balls move so fast that dodging, at least for me, is more or less a random affair, and I often to better just staying still and throwing balls as quickly as possible (ie, drumming like crazy). Which may have been the design intent, after all. Frenetic and pretty cute.
I'm not as fond of the second one, in which you play a taiko drum Santa, swooping over the city on your sleigh, dropping off presents to sleeping boys and girls. The presents drop slowly and arc due to your momentum, so it takes some skill to get them on-target. You can speed up or slow down, but at high speed, delivering the presents on-target is nearly impossible. There's some kind of timer mechanism involved here, but I'm not quite sure if it's related to accuracy or what. So basically I fly slowly overhead, missing most of the time, and run out of time at the third or fourth stage, not having had a whole lot of fun at it.
The third game is another that may be largely lost on those who don't savvy the language. It's a quiz, I think mostly involving numbers. I don't understand the first part at all, so I just have to guess (guessing "No" seems to be the higher percentage option). There's a single-digit addition/subtraction bit in the middle, which is kind of fun, as you have to do it as quickly as possible. Then there's a count-the-blocks segment at the end, which is okay. The incomprehensible first part is a pretty big downer for me, though.
The fourth game has you drumming madly to power up a rocket, then drumming to break off its booster sections as it soars into space, while simultaneously dodging falling space garbage. This one's pretty fun.