Do you remember those days of your youth wasted in game rooms or at a friend’s house with two Guitar Hero controllers? Maybe you just spent hours battling random people online in Amplitude. Others still spent tons of time perfecting the Shark level in Gitaroo Man. Rhythm games are varied and diverse, but most of them are a great refreshing break from action-adventure, FPS, RPG, or other types of games.
But not everyone has a history with these kinds of games that spans their childhood. Some gamers are just discovering old and new rhythm games. These 10 games are the best for beginners of the genre.
Updated March 24, 2022 by Geoffrey Martin: Rhythm games are an odd bunch in that people seem to love them or despise them, without much room for common ground. Luckily for those interested in the genre, there are plenty of games to jump into. While some rhythm games are downright punitive and often don’t guide players through their mechanics, there are also plenty of beginner-friendly rhythm games to choose from. Covering all sorts of musical genres, these additional rhythm games should pique the interest of budding gamers. If for some reason you don’t connect to one of these right off the bat, you can just jump into another experience.
12 Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory
The Kingdom Hearts series is no stranger to unique and quirky game mechanics and mashups. By nature, Kingdom Hearts is a crazy mix of Disney and Final Fantasy. It’s no surprise that Square Enix chose to create Melody of Memory, a pure rhythm game infused with the goodness of Kingdom Hearts.
You, of course, play through rhythmic songs from the Kingdom Hearts series. By taking control of the protagonists of the series, namely Sora, Donald and Goofy, you will work your way through the songs before tackling the most difficult pieces. Along with great music, you’re also treated to a spin-off story that manages to weave itself into the Dark Seeker saga.
11 beat the saber
Beat Saber is an incredibly popular VR-based rhythm game that appeals to both newcomers and veterans of the genre. In addition to the unique VR aspect of this rhythm game, it’s also known for how you manage to cross the different rhythms with colored swords. The combination of the saber-bashing action paired with the pounding music makes this game a winner.
Beat Saber is great for beginners as there are dozens and dozens of songs to choose from, with plenty of slower songs to get you started with the game’s unique saber mechanics. New players can get started with the difficulty modes and easy songs and eventually move on to more difficult and faster songs. Beat Saber might just be the epitome of an easy-to-learn but hard-to-master rhythm game.
Billed as a “musical adventure game”, Wandersong sees players portray a wandering bard (with a feathered cap). Their quest is to collect pieces of songs to prevent the destruction of the world. By singing, the player solves puzzles, manipulates the environment, and can also defend themselves against villains.
It’s available on Xbox One, PC, PS4, macOS, and Nintendo Switch, so it has a ton of accessibility (unlike some titles on this list). But one of Wandersong’s best accessibility-focused features is its directional cues on a song wheel. This style (instead of just hints based on color or music) helps deaf and colorblind players play the game.
9 dance dance revolution
The DDR franchise has taken the world from arcades to home setups by storm with pads stuck to office chair mats. The dance game featured music from all kinds of artists and combined physical activity with video games. What more could you ask for from a rhythm game? This is one of the reasons why games like Just Dance continue to be popular today.
But DDR’s popularity didn’t hold up once arcades started to be less accessible or popular in western countries. Still, it remains one of the best rhythm games for those new to the genre. There’s even a Disney version with all your favorite characters like Goofy and Donald Duck.
8 Friday night funkin
Do you remember Newgrounds? For some gamers, this term means wasted hours at school playing Flash games. But now Friday Night Funkin’ (and other titles) can be found on sites like open source giveaways. This means that the game is free and runs on donations only, as it was created as part of a 2020 game jam.
The game bears similarities to other entries on this list where “Boyfriend” must win rapping or singing duels to impress “Girlfriend”. It’s a great proof of concept and the developers want to release a full game soon.
7 PaRappa the rapper
Although PaRappa the Rapper was originally released in 1996 for the PS1, the amazing game was remastered in 2017 for the PS4. The adorable main character is PaRappa, the dog who makes his way through the different levels, guided by a mentor with an onion for his head. As with another great rhythm game of the time, Gitaroo Man, PaRappa does this for love.
The game features a voice-to-button-press mechanic with rap and scores based on player accuracy. It’s a fantastic game regardless of age or level of gaming experience.
6 Guitar Hero Series
Few series have reached the same popularity as the Guitar Hero games (apart from their main competitor Rock Band). The revolutionary five-key guitar-shaped controller with a whammy bar added a tactile element that a regular controller simply couldn’t replicate. Plus, Guitar Hero games were great for parties or just hanging out with friends after school.
For newcomers to the rhythm game genre, it will prove a challenge to work and practice as you gradually improve. That sense of accomplishment you get from finally beating a song on “Expert” is the kind of euphoria that never gets old.
5 Crypt of the Necrodancer
Crypt of the Necrodancer combines roguelike gameplay with fast-paced combat as the player moves to music by Danny Baranowsky. You can also use music from your own collection if you wish or opt for the Legend of Zelda: Cadence of Hyrule version.
Choose one of 15 playable characters and use a controller, USB dance mat or keyboard to play. It can be difficult to get a rhythm at first, but, as with all roguelikes, you get better the more you play.
4 geometric dash
Another game available on iOS, Android, PC, macOS, and PC, Geometry Dash combines rhythm mechanics with platforming. “Jump” controls the movement of icons and the overall goal is to complete each level. The fast and colorful gameplay can be both hypnotic and addictive.
Just like Crypt of the Necrodancer, players are expected to fail and fail again in this game. There is also a level builder so players can create their own nightmarish rhythm challenges for others.
It’s another blast from the past that was originally released on the PS2 in 2003. The game featured songs from tons of popular artists like P!nk, Run DMC, David Bowie, Blink 182, and more. Amplitude’s unique gameplay allowed the player to “build” each track by completing different sections corresponding to different musical instruments in a song.
Players could also create their own characters, unlock new cosmetics, and challenge people locally or online. If you can pick up the original or the 2016 remake for PS4, it’s worth it.
2 Muse Dash
The anime-like design style brings a distinction to Muse Dash that other rhythm games may lack. Players must banish bad guys to outer space by fusing beat ’em up combat with music and beats. The soundtrack contains electro synth pop at the moment, but the developers plan to add more tracks in the future.
Each character has unique pets and battle animations with each level featuring specialized villains. It’s a great “brain off” game in that you don’t have to remember who you romanced so you don’t accidentally flirt with someone. But that doesn’t mean the fight isn’t hard!
1 Ring Fit Adventure Rhythm Games
Like DDR, Ring Fit Adventure’s rhythm games have that physical exercise aspect to add another layer to the experience. Although something like Beat Saber offers a more immersive experience, the rhythm and dance games available on Ring Fit Adventure may prove more accessible for beginners.
Each game requires the user to manipulate the Pilates wheel in different ways to the rhythm of different tunes. Work up a sweat while using your brain and blocking yourself.
NEXT: Games Like Ring Fit Adventure On The Nintendo Switch
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