A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Some friendly competition added to the mix, but bulk of game's focus is on learning to identify rhythm of music and on importance of the beat.
Positive Role Models
A few interesting cameo characters appear throughout game, but not really any story or character development. You're simply a drummer trying to keep up with the rhythm, flow of various musical tracks.
Ease of Play
There have been special drum controllers bundled with other games in this franchise in the past, but this time around Bandai Namco skipped the specialty accessory in favor of using DualShock 4 controller. Thankfully, game's basic, standard controls are relatively easy to learn, with multiple buttons and pads on PS4 controller used to follow the beat on-screen.
Violence & Scariness
Some minor cartoonish violence occasionally during some challenges.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session! is a music rhythm game available on the PlayStation 4. Players follow along with on-screen prompts and try to match the rhythmic drumbeats of various musical tracks. Drum Session! ditches the custom Taiko drum controller used in previous games, but the standard controller is easy to learn while still requiring a fair bit of skill to master. Some of the challenges in the game pit players against other characters in drum battles, which does feature some very minor cartoonish violence: beating opponents as they beat their drums. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found in the game.
Is It Any Good?
Although this new installment in the popular drum franchise has lots of content, the gameplay feels a bit too repetitive to appeal to anyone but large drum fans. Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session! is the latest game in the franchise to bring the beat out of the arcades and into the home on the PlayStation 4, though with one glaring omission: a drum. Other games in the franchise either made use of touchscreen and motion controls or had the option of picking up a dedicated drum controller as part of a bundle. This time around, there's no bundled (official) drum controller, meaning that fans are forced to use a combo of button and pad controls on the DualShock 4 to get their groove on. While there's a bit of a learning curve, the controls do actually work well. The problem is that it feels more like you're literally just going through the motions of a run-of-the-mill rhythm game versus banging out beats on a drum.
Despite this disconnect, as a rhythm-based game, there's a surprising amount of content. The selection of songs is a dream to fans of anime and J-pop music, with songs pulled from a variety of different anime series. They even managed to sneak in a Japanese version of "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen. It's an odd mix of songs that covers a wide range of styles and speeds to play. Each song has its own set of challenges, presented as a sort of tic-tac-toe game card, where completing a line earns you coins to unlock cosmetic customizations for your Don-chan mascot in the game. Online play is a nice addition too, though you're never playing against people in real time. Instead, you play against ghost data other players have uploaded. But at least you never need to wait for someone to be matched up with you, or deal with any potential toxicity from a sore loser (or winner). Still, while there's a lot of content in Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session!, it's hard to ignore the repetition that comes with tapping out the same buttons the same way throughout the game.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.