The cover art from the rhythm games Muse Dash and Metal: Hellsinger.

Rhythm Games You Need to Try

The genre is alive and well, so get ready to bob your head to the beat and let your fingers fly.

Written by:
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Carley is a professional JP-EN translator and writer currently based in Des Moines, Iowa. She has written hundreds of articles for popular sites such as Siliconera, Gameranx, and Otaquest, and has been playing games nonstop since 1996.

Reviewed by:
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Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

Key Takeaway

Our favorite rhythm games include:

  • Crypt of the NecroDancer
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts
  • Metal: Hellsinger
  • Spin Rhythm XD
  • Theatrhythm Final Bar Line
  • Muse Dash
  • Amplitude
  • OSU
  • The Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series

If you love music and aspire to improve your hand-eye coordination, rhythm games are for you. Some staples of the genre have either faded into obscurity or are only found in arcades, but there are plenty of at-home titles perfect for getting your groove on and testing your reaction speed.

Table Of Contents

    About the List

    When hearing the words ‘rhythm game,’ many people will immediately think of popular titles like Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and Just Dance. While these are certainly genre-defining franchises, recent years have seen a spike in unique music games expertly designed to put your timing to the test. Whether you’re a fan of bubblegum pop or heavy metal, you’ll find something on this list to help scratch the rhythm game itch.

    Below, we’ve included our favorite games in the genre. They’ve all been released over the past decade. These titles vary in price, and while they are all unmistakably rhythm games, you’ll find a variety of subgenres and tones represented.

    As such, we hope you’ll refer to this list each time you’re looking for a new music game fix!

    Crypt of the NecroDancer

    Pixel art featuring a skeleton and other scary creatures on the cover of the rhythm game Crypt of the Necrodancer.

    Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS

    Combining music with monsters and mayhem, Crypt of the NecroDancer combines the best aspects of rhythm and roguelike games. Originally released for PC in 2015, the unexpected hit has found its way onto consoles and mobile devices, making it easier than ever to get down in the underground.

    The title asks players to explore a series of dangerous procedurally generated dungeons. However, there’s a funky twist—you can only move or attack by sticking with the beat of the music.

    While the original game features an incredible soundtrack by Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Issac composer Danny Baranowsky, you can also import your own favorite tunes.

    Several additional soundtracks have been added to the game over the years, with musical genres ranging from heavy metal to EDM. Whether you play with your keyboard, a controller, or a dance pad, this spooky release from Brace Yourself Games can quickly become addictive. If you’re a fan of this macabre musical, be sure to check out its spin-off game: Rift of the NecroDancer!

    Sayonara Wild Hearts

    The cover art for Sayonara Wild Hearts featuring a number of characters riding on motorcycles while holding weapons.

    Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS

    Released in 2019 and developed by the Swedish indie studio Simogo, Sayonara Wild Hearts is on the more surreal side of the rhythm game spectrum, boasting a superb pop soundtrack and a signature style.

    Players control a broken-hearted woman as she traverses a trippy landscape on her trusty motorcycle, pressing buttons at just the right time to avoid obstacles or defeat enemies. The alternate universe you inhabit is tied to the power of the Tarot. It’s up to you to restore harmony to the world after it was stolen by Death and her allies.

    Although the title’s mechanics are simple, it has a distinctive minimalist style. Its brilliant retro-infused score is enough to hook even the most discerning players. After the credits roll, head to Spotify to put the soundtrack on repeat.

    Metal: Hellsinger

    The cover for the game Metal: Hellsinger featuring a devilish creature with a flaming gun.

    Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

    There aren’t many first-person shooter rhythm games on the market. Created by the Swedish developer The Outsiders in 2022, this title wowed audiences and critics alike at its release. Metal: Hellsinger snagged the award for Best Audio at the Golden Joystick Awards and got a BAFTA nomination.

    Heavily inspired by the Doom franchise, the game sees players navigate through a frightening landscape as they fight armies of demons and avoid dangerous projectiles. Attacking to the beat of the heavy metal soundtrack will trigger bonus damage against your infernal enemies.

    The title’s soundtrack was entirely composed by Two Feathers: a studio specializing in video game music and sound. However, each track features a guest artist including prominent bands like System of a Down and Lamb of God. If more mainstream hits are your thing, the Essential Hits DLC includes tracks from Disturbed, Paramore, Gorillaz, and more.

    Spin Rhythm XD

    The cover for Spin Rhythm XD with two sleek characters preparing to dance.

    Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch

    Super Spin Digital’s 2019 release Spin Rhythm XD is all about immersion. From customizable levels to MIDI DJ turntable support, this EDM rhythm game was crafted for the more discerning music lover. The game has over 60 songs to choose from, but it’s also possible to import your own favorite tracks.

    Players must flick, spin, and tap their controls in time with the music, matching specific colors and beats to reign victorious. There are five difficulty levels. You chose those ranging from easy to impossibly tough XD difficulty. If you’re having trouble, Spin Rhythm XD also includes a stunning amount of accessibility features, from color customization to low-impact visuals.

    As far as rhythm games go, this one feels more familiar. However, the sense of flow it brings to the genre and the sheer amount of customizable options make it a contender for one of the best and most beginner-friendly music titles we’ve played in recent memory.

    Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

    The cover art for Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, a game featuring Final Fantasy characters and music.

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

    The Final Fantasy games have some of the best and most recognizable music in video game history. As such, creating a rhythm game based on the series was a smart move by Square Enix. This fifth installment in the Theatrhythm franchise features a whopping 385 songs from the long-running Final Fantasy series. On top of that, more tracks were added via DLC.

    This rhythm game is a lighthearted trip down memory lane. You’ll control your favorite Final Fantasy characters—heroes and villains alike. As each track plays, you must press buttons and slide the left stick in time with the music to level up, earn treasure, and defeat enemies. The game also offers multiplayer mode for up to four players.

    Theatrhythm Final Bar Line has added music from more recent Final Fantasy titles such as Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy XVI. DLC also adds music from other Square Enix classics like SaGa Frontier, Octopath Traveler, Nier, and more.

    Muse Dash

    The colorful cover art for the game Muse Dash featuring one of the female characters and a collection of adorable penguins.

    Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS

    This adorable side-scrolling rhythm game seems deceptively easy. After all, it only has two buttons. But looks can be deceiving, and this colorful anime-style title from PeroPeroGames is simple to pick up yet incredibly difficult to master. With a massive music library and a seemingly constant stream of DLC, you’ll never run out of tunes to try.

    The premise of Muse Dash is simple: choose a character, select a song, and rush across the screen defeating enemies and avoiding obstacles while staying on beat. One button triggers an attack on the ground, while the other button sends your character leaping into the air to defeat enemies above. Characters have unique skills, and knowing which to choose can lead to more points and an easier victory.

    Muse Dash has collaborated with many other popular games and series, including Groove Coaster, Touhou Project, and Needy Streamer Overload. In 2023, the virtual idol Hatsune Miku was added to the title as a collab character.


    The cover of the rhythm game Amplitude showing a futuristic ship speeding along a windy track.

    Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

    In 2003, Amplitude, a sci-fi rhythm game from developer Harmonix, was released for the PlayStation 2. Quickly gathering a dedicated following, the title defined the potential of music games in the early 2000s, launching Harmonix to celebrity status.

    A Kickstarter campaign launched in 2014 raised over $800,000 for a new Amplitude title, which was released in 2016 for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

    In Amplitude, players control a ship known as a Beat Blaster down winding paths split into different tracks. These tracks correspond to a certain aspect of the song, from its vocals to its use of percussion. As you hit the correct buttons in sync with the music, portions of the track can be “captured.” Once this is done, you’re free to jump to other tracks to “capture” them as well.

    Many unique powerups appear during this game, allowing players to instantly capture tracks, double their score, slow down the music, and more. Additionally, cooperative-competitive mode was added in the 2016 release, allowing two teams to attempt to play through a song without failing.


    The logo for the rhythm game Osu featuring the game's title in a pink circle.

    Platforms: PC, Android (Open Beta), iOS (Open Beta)

    Created by a single man: Dean “peppy” Herbert, Osu! is a free-to-play rhythm game available for PC and currently in beta for mobile devices. You’ll find countless community-made levels, known as “beatmaps,” on the game’s website.

    Osu! has four official game modes. When you’re in Standard Mode, you must click circles to the beat as they appear on the screen. Mania Mode is reminiscent of Dance Dance Revolution, as notes fall vertically in different lanes. As such, each is mapped to a different key.

    Taiko Mode features gameplay identical to Taiko no Tatsujin and simulates playing a taiko drum. Lastly, Catch Mode requires players to move a catcher to grab fruits falling from the top of the screen.

    The Osu! community is incredibly robust, with numerous tournaments and conventions being held around the world each year. You’re encouraged to upload your own MP3s. Try your hand at making a level of your own!

    The Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Series

    Hatsune Miku, the main character of the Project DIVA rhythm game series.

    Platforms: PSP, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, PC

    Vocaloid characters and songs have become popular worldwide over the past decade. Originally released in Japan as a singing voice synthesizer, Vocaloid software was marketed as a “singer in a box” when it was released in 2004. In 2007, everything changed when the program’s mascot character, Hatsune Miku, first appeared on the scene.

    Original songs featuring Miku’s voice began popping up all over the internet. Then, soon enough, other characters with unique voices began appearing by her side. In 2012, the first Hatsune Miku: Project Diva title was released for the PlayStation Portable. As of January 2024, the series boasts nine titles and several spin-offs.

    Each game in the Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series includes dozens of Vocaloid songs and music videos. As a song plays, directional buttons appear on the screen. When they do, you must press them in time with the beat. With dozens of different costumes to unlock and items to be found, these rhythm games can keep any Miku fan busy for hundreds of hours.

    Rhythm games aren’t a one-trick pony. The genre is more diverse than you may think, with music-focused titles now coming in all shapes and sizes. From metal and rock to techno and pop, at least one of the games listed above is sure to interest you. Go on—everyone could use some extra training in hand-eye coordination.

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