|Could this be the greatest Taiko drumming game ever? Well, I can't be sure, since the only other I've played so far has been Taiko Drum Master (see entry 930) and there are, like, eight others on PS2 in Japan, but TnTP has every chance at the title, what with having a couple features that are, I think, new to the series: a bell instrument, and downloadable songs.|
What it has against it, by standard Taiko standards, is that you are stuck with the regular PSP controls, and can't bang away on your Tatacon drum controller (see entry 931). A serious drawback, admittedly. Still, the game plays surprisingly well on the PSP, with the shoulder and face buttons, and d-pad, standing in well for various parts of the drum.
Sometimes a little bell icon will zip along your song strip, though, and when it gets to the left side you have to twirl the analog nub around to ring the bell. It's quite a different sound than the usual drumming, and I'm not sure that it fits in perfectly, but twirling the nub to ring a bell is kind of fun on its own (and you can ring it any time you want--Taiko doesn't care!).
You can also play three little minigames, either by yourself, or over WLAN link (I think--haven't tried yet). These are a bit more involved than the games in Taiko Drum Master. First is a fun one where you control a sumo wrestler doll on the drum head by banging the drum in alternating ways; knock the opposing sumo doll off and you advance to the next opponent, with a tougher rhythm. Bad-assedness. Then there's a wacky one where you hold the system vertically, and drum to control tilting platforms down which are spilling nuts, bolts, and springs; get them to cascade down into one of the cups on the conveyor belt below and you get, um, satisfaction. Finally, groove to a dancing dog minigame where you have to match button inputs at set times to continue the dance, and wacky partners keep popping in to increase the madness. You will have so much fun that you will begin to doubt your own sanity.
As with most PSP games, you can share out a demo to another PSP, and engage in a little two-player drumming competition.
The heart and soul of any Taiko game, though, is the straight-up single player drumming mode, and the songs therein. TnTP comes with close to forty songs in the J-Pop, Anime, Variety (some American pop and rock), Classical, and Namco Original (Namco game music) genres. I haven't *gasp* played through all of them yet, but the ones I've tried have pretty successfully translated the beat into drum cues. It's a fun game to rock out to.
Now! The big deal is the downloadable songs: going WiFi and activating the downloadable song part of the game puts a special web page on your memory card. Transfer it to your PC, hop from it through a few pages on Namco's site, and you'll come to a download section where, as of now, you can download three additional songs. Transfer these back from your PC to that special TnTP directory on your PSP's memory card, boot up the game, and bang-zoom, you've got three more songs to play with. It's sort've a convoluted method, but once you get it right, you basically get a free, significant extension to an already keen game. I'm not sure how many songs Namco will end up adding, but boy, I hope they keep it up for a little while. This is so cool.
The usual bright, bold 2D Taiko art style comes through better than ever on the PSP's screen, and the 16x9 aspect ratio allows for a longer visible beat track during gameplay. Great stuff. This game turned me on to the whole Taiko console series.