There are far few things better than enjoying music, and rhythm games have become more popular within the video game industry. Music-driven titles tend to be as diverse as music tastes themselves, offering unique experiences that match the tempo and emotion of the music itself. Whether you find yourself keen on some heavy metal, quintessential pop stars, or even electronica, there are more than a few titles that players can sink their teeth into.
Here’s our list of the best rhythm games of all time.
Related: The 11 Best FPS Games for PC
10. Rocksmith 2014 Remastered
It’s difficult to learn the guitar, but that doesn’t stop millions of people from trying to make the instrument sings like Slash does. Rocksmith claims that it can teach players how to play the instrument, and it’s not an idle boast. While the initial learning curve is steep, as players attempt to deduce various icons on their screen while strumming along, anyone with the tenacity and perseverance will be well-rewarded for actually learning how to play the guitar.
It doesn’t hurt that the gameplay aspects are tuned towards enjoyment, either — while some applications have attempted to teach music before, Rocksmith is an enjoyable experience that pays dividends for the time investment. It should be noted that the newer version, Rocksmith+, is going to be a subscription service from Ubisoft. If you’re interested, make sure you’re looking for Rocksmith 2014 Remastered.
9. PaRappa the Rapper
PaRappa the Rapper was originally released in 1997 worldwide, and for many was the first introduction to the terms ‘input-latency’. Sony has released the original on the PlayStation Network, allowing a new generation of funk-masters to attempt to win the hand of Sunny Funny. Be warned, however: it’s still a brutal title that simply isn’t as forgiving as modern rhythm games.
Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind.
8. Lumines Remastered
Lumines was originally released on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in 2004, and it was enough of a hit to warrant a remaster called Lumines Remastered, which was released on all major modern platforms. Group together color groups, and then wait for the groups to clear as the beat markers cross the gameboard. It’s an action-puzzle game that brings pulse-bumping music to the forefront with style to spare, and the years have been more than kind to it.
7. Metal: Hellsinger
With a soundtrack crafted for the sole purpose of this title, and featuring a wide range of legendary vocalists such as Serj Tankian, Metal: Hellsinger tasks players with tearing through the legions of Hell in a story of vengeance. Shoot, reload, and dash to the beat while all sorts of monstrosities attempt to bring an early end to your journey.
Metal: Hellsinger has a shorter game time of around three hours, but it’s not safe to head bang much longer than that. Every step through this world is crafted for the heavy metal vibe, and it delivers in spades throughout the experience.
6. Rock Band
Rock Band is a legendary title, spurring the rhythm genre forward from its inception in 2007. Players still will need to grab all of the accessories necessary, but it elevates the game far higher when you have a full house of friends singing, jamming on guitar, and beating the drums as you reprise legendary rock ballads. Unfortunately, developer Harmonix has stated that the official instruments are no longer being manufactured, so players keen to let loose their inner Mick Jagger will need to scour some secondhand stores.
5. Beat Hazard 2
Beat Hazard 2 is what happens when the original Asteroids received a shot of adrenaline to the heart, flavored by your preferred music. With real-time leaderboard tracking, desktop music recognition that works with any music player, and a pulsating bullet-hell, Beat Hazard is a little-known rhythm game gem that will transfix anyone brave enough to challenge it.
It works best with heavy metal and techno, but keep the music heavy: in this game, you become stronger based on the tempo and bass, so try to avoid longer periods of silence. It also has a built-in soundtrack if you’d rather play it with a more vanilla flavor.
4. Crypt of the Necrodancer
Dungeon-crawling has been quintessential gaming since the Atari, and its fusion with a jaw-dropping soundtrack has resulted in Crypt of the Necrodancer being elevated beyond the sum of its parts. Enemies only move when you do, on every other count of the soundtrack, and strategizing in real-time on how best to impale that dragon with being burned to a crisp is exhilarating.
Add in the shopkeeper operatic performance, brilliantly creative bosses, a slew of loot and characters, and even multiple accessibility options, and it turns classic dungeon crawling on its head. Its not hard to see how Crypt of the Necrodancer has won the hearts of so many players.
In specific circles, high skill within the game osu! is tantamount to godliness. For good reason, too: the music comes fast and hard, the prompts can last for milliseconds on the highest difficulties, and the skill ceiling is daunting. In spite of this, osu! manages to be surprisingly friendly to new players, and many FPS players swear by it to hone their aim. Start slower in this title, and come to grasp with the mechanics; once you understand the basics, the sky is the limit.
2. Beat Saber
Beat Saber is a rhythm game that takes place entirely in VR. Players cut blocks and dodge obstacles that fly towards the player while grooving to a wide range of massive hits. With the ability to constantly add new tracks through modding, the party never has to stop. There’s a reason Beat Saber is one of the most-played VR titles on Steam — it’s a fun and immersive game where time seems to simply disappear.
1. Just Dance franchise
Ubisoft’s Just Dance franchise has had players shaking in their living rooms for the past decade, and there’s no sign of stopping. With a varied soundtrack coming with each annual release, and more DLC songs, the franchise consistently has a tune for most palates. This title shines with choreographed dancers for every song guiding players into moving like they’re on stage themselves, and party mode is an instant classic for anyone that isn’t overly concerned about looking goofy.