While Taito might not be a household name, the Japanese game company is behind the likes of Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble and many other high profile releases since it began producing video games in 1973. More recently, in 2011, Taito debuted a rhythm game titled Groove Coaster for mobile devices, and soon had a new hit on its hands. Subsequent entries into the Groove Coaster catalog have followed every year since. The most recent, for the Nintendo Switch, is titled Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party. Its early November release was Japan-exclusive, but soon after, the game popped up with no prior announcement on the English-language Switch store.
Like virtually all rhythm games before it, Groove Coaster's gameplay requires timing correct inputs to the beat of a song selected from a catalog of real-world tunes. Also like many rhythm games before it, Groove Coaster's visualization of its gameplay is sorta psychedelic, featuring a simple line, constantly changes perspective on a 3D plane that acts as a path for the player's anime avatar across colorful, shifting backdrops.
The list of songs within the game trends toward J-pop, and, reflective of the present-day Japanese pop music industry, includes a number of vocaloid artists. DLC allows players access to levels built for songs from the Touhou franchise and Undertale/Deltarune. Levels with songs from both games feature environments from their source material, including some cameo appearances from Sans, Papyrus and the gang.
Previous Groove Coaster releases have only ever been for mobile devices and in arcades (though the original Groove Coaster was also ported to PC via a Steam release.) The Switch release of the franchise's newest entry allows for players to choose from among a variety of control options, making full use of the wide range of controller settings that the Switch offers.
This isn't the first English-language release of a Groove Coaster game, and English-speaking gamers technically already had access to an English language option within the Japanese release. That said, its availability on the English-language eShop makes it significantly easier to locate and download for English speaking audiences. Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party is available now.