Kumi-Daiko Beatoff 64

Kumi-Daiko Beatoff 64 (組太鼓・ビートオフ 64) is a Nintendo 64 homebrew game by Team Riistahillo and released on 13 December 2020. This is an arcade-style game where you control a kabuki mask spinning a taiko drum around to fight off floating tengu masks. This game was made for the 64brew game jam 2020 , and won 2nd place alongside Sblobber 64. Nice!

You can download the ROM and source code from the download page KDB64 by using the password riistahillo64 or see the source code on Github and download from Drive.

Kumi-Daiko Beatoff 64 gameplay and style

KDB64 has a fairly unique style of gameplay with a Japanese twist.

Menu

The game has a very straightforward menu. It’s pretty much a mode and player number selection screen. It has a nice rotating 3D checkered background and the character masks along the sides.

The score screen is the same thing but with taiko drums instead of masks.

Gameplay

In this arcade-style game, you play as a mask swinging a taiko drum around in a circle. The object of the game is to use this swinging drum to ward off your foes, be it evil tengu masks or other players.

You rotate the joystick around in circles which makes it feel like swinging around a weight on a string. Hitting something like an enemy or another player’s drum will make you stumble and lose your momentum making it hard to pick back up your pace, which makes for a very intense style of gameplay.

Maybe it’s just me but it’s very reminiscent of Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (the game that inspired Jumping Over It with Nathaniel Bandy), with its use of swinging in circles and momentum.

Survival mode

In survival mode tengu masks come floating in from all edges of the screen towards the nearest player, and you have to beat them off with a swinging drum. Keep it up for a high score

Every once in a while you’ll find a tengu that’s bigger than the rest. Beating it will make your drum much larger which helps out by decreasing the momentum lost when hitting an object.

This mode can be played with 1-4 players. More players make grant more total lives (3 per player) but there are more obstacles in the way so you’re not as free to move.

Battle mode

This mode doesn’t have any tengu masks, so you battle in PvP rather than cooperate with each other.

Battle mode is quite hard to win because it’s really hard to hit an opponent without getting yourself hit in the meantime. It does become a very hectic game though.

Style, theming and music

The style in Kumi-Daiko Beatoff 64 is very obviously Japanese – the theme, the music, the characters… It oozes Nippon all over. This is the kind of game you play when you’ve beaten all Goemon games and still want some more.

The ‘size’ aspect of this game comes from the differently-sized enemies. Larger tengus require more force to take down, but defeating them gives you a larger drum with which to take others down easier.

The strange thing about this game is that the title is Kumi-Daiko, which refers to an ensemble of taiko drums but they’re only individual drums and they’re never beating in unison (believe me, I’ve tried).

I like how every object in the game is in 3D: the masks, drums and background in the menu, the enemies and the background that shakes in the game… It’s completely unnecessary but it adds a bit of N64 charm to the game that would be difficult to replicate otherwise. You can see their nose when you get a game over.

The styling of the game was intended to be a bit silly looking and it shows – that grinning face hovering over is both creepy and hilarious.

Credits

The game was made by Team Ristahillo:

  • Samuli Jääskeläinen @Zhamul (3D models, audio implementation)
  • Petteri Timonen (physics, programming)
  • Pyry Takkunen @DevinTappy
  • RufioV (audio assets)

Conclusion and review

Kumi-Daiko Beatoff 64 is a nice little game that goes quite far in its efforts to be a homebrew classic. The gameplay is simple and easy to grasp, but even a novice can swing out-of-sync and still get some kills before getting knocked out.

I think that the beauty of this game is that there are other classic n64 games that use the circular controls on the joystick (Mario Party and Zelda’s spin attack come to mind) but it was always hard to pull off. KBD64 on the other hand makes it feel natural and calming in a way.

Hitting enemies is always very satisfying. Sometimes they fly away and I think I’ve seen them burst a few times but it’s always a lit of fun when you can get a few of then with one swing.

I don’t mean to be too nitpicky, but I did find these two glitches in the game, they’re not game-breaking but rather some oddities. The first one is that when there is a collision, the game shakes a little and sometimes you can see the void behind the background. The other is that I once got a weird creepy bunch of dots floating towards me like a tengu mask, but they couldn’t kill me and I couldn’t kill them Maybe it was the ghost of one of the big guys, I don’t know.

I would recommend Kumi-Daiko Beatoff 64 as a fun little party game to have some fun beating your friends and fanily with, or it can be a competitive arcade game with which to attempt a high score.

Great job!

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Kumi-Daiko Beatoff 64 is a Nintendo 64 homebrew game by Team Riistahillo in which you swing a taiko drum around to smash your opponents.
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