Taiko Drum Master : 4 of 5
This awesome rhythm game from Japan finally made it to the US just before Christmas, so I decided to get it as one of my birthday presents from my parents. I knew this would be a fun game, but I never expected it to be so wonderful, mainly because the graphics and characters are so cute that it's criminal! The first time I started it up and the opening music and animation began, I swear I was laughing out loud for so long I couldn't even play (it's a funny little cartoon that has the characters of the game getting ready for a festival, all set to a funny Japanese song with subtitled lyrics). The game itself is like Dance Dance Revolution with a drum, and the drum controller itself is pretty cool. You have to hit either the head or rim of the drum, with one or two sticks simultaneously, based on icons that move right to left on-screen (while cartoon squid, dogs, and even takoyaki dance around!). The song selection is pretty good, featuring some US pop hits and a few anime themes, plus several classical music tracks, which are actually my favorite (you would be amazed at how fun it is to drum with the march from Carmen!). I've passed every song on the first two difficulty levels, but the next level will be tough. I'm ready for the challenge!