We’ve seen videogames moving into every genre of entertainment over the past years. Movies, TV shows, books. Name it, there’s a video game for it. So really, it’s no surprise that music was also eventually moved into the world of gaming, with specialized controllers and customized game mechanics to give you the full experience of making you think you’re a musician. Whether you want to imitate a classical instrument like the piano or violin, or if you want to go for an all-out Rock Band, you can do it all using the power of your video game console. Hailing back all the way from the 1980s, this genre of gaming started off awesome and has kinda saturated by now. So, taking into account over 30 years of gaming, and before some of these games move into obscurity, here are six music-based games to rock your heart away.


Lips,Music,Game,Rhythm
Lips

Ever wanted to see how well you pit up against a professional singer? Thought you sang "Walk Like an Egyptian" better than the Bangles? Well, get ready to back up your claims because Lips, a karaoke game by Microsoft, is ready to let you know how much of a singer you really are. With over 110 tracks coming in the form of “on disk” tracks, DLC’s, and region-based releases, you’re bound to find something you want to sing along to. Grab a family member, a friend, or even an enemy, and do some synchronized singing. The games’ mechanics are very intuitive, with your voice having to match the highs and the lows of the music. All you need is a good microphone and you’ll be convinced of your superstar potential in no time! Just don’t quit the day job.

 

Guitar Hero,Music,Game,Rhythm
Guitar Hero

Who hasn’t played Guitar Hero? Whether it be rocking it out at home, or strumming along at your friend’s house, this is the video game franchise that revolutionized the music-based videogame industry forever. The game itself comes with a guitar that hooks straight into your videogame console and had a simple interface which allowed anybody to rock it out. Released back in 2005 to a market with no competition, it’s no wonder that this game hit the big time with its simple color-based music system being the centerpiece for attention. Over the years, the developers of the game have changed, along with the game itself with its last major release being in 2015. Well, it ran for a decade, and that’s not bad! Check out the collection of Guitar Hero 3 soundtracks (best playlist so far if you ask me) on iTunes.

 

Rock Band,Music,Game,Rhythm
Rock Band

The result of a divorce between the two video game development companies that made Guitar Hero, Rock Band made it big by not just having a separate guitar, but also a drum set which added more to the dynamic gameplay.

Ever wanted to be in a Rock Band but your mom wouldn’t let you? Well then, set the system up in your garage, grab up to 4 friends, and start your own Rock Band with any of the 20 releases of the game in the franchise. Single player mode is pretty fun too, especially if you have no friends. The game itself comes with the Stratocaster guitar and a drum set which costs anywhere from $400-$600 depending on where you buy, so keep in mind that this is a considerable investment compared to most other videogames. You just have to tap out the correct beat you see on screen, and if you don’t mess up, it’ll give you hours of fun. Rock it out as the Beatles, or AC/DC. Try going for heavy metal if that’s your style. Maybe immerse yourself in the full rock star experience with Rock Band VR and play in front of fawning crowds. Just don’t feel too disappointed when you remove your VR headset and have to head back into the real world.

 

Thumper,Music,Game,Rhythm
Thumper

This game is… well, it is… an audio-based game that does… umm… you have this metallic cockroach thingy… and this boss creature at the end… and lights and… and… Gosh, it’s really hard to explain what Thumper is.

Let me put it in simple terms: imagine going on an acid trip, except that all the craziness of a full eight-hour acid trip gets compressed into one. I’ve never seen the art style used in this game before. This game was under development for five years, and it isn’t a highway-based music game like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. It does involve having you smash keys at the correct moments to generate the perfect audio, but the entire theme of the game itself is different. The game is classified as “rhythm violence” and I can spend hours sitting here trying to explain what that means, but you really have to play it to feel it. The best part is, it doesn't require any specialized hardware, so give it a go!

 

DJ Hero,Music,Game,Rhythm
DJ Hero

I’m trying to cover every aspect of music-based videogames in this review so it would be amiss if I skipped out on DJ Hero. Since the music-based videogame industry is starting to go stale, games like DJ hero are needed to breathe life back into it. The game comes with a turntable controller that you can do some perfect head banging into. I mean, strumming it out on a guitar or banging on a drum set would have been cool and all, but have you tried rocking it out with a full DJ experience?

This game has a highway-based music system similar to Rock Band and Guitar Hero, and there is a ton of fresh new music that you’re supposed to remix. The gameplay depends on how well you can mix up, with you getting awarded up to 5 stars at the end. All these points add up and allow you to get new accessories, performance venues, and DJ sets. However, multiplayer is limited to just having DJ versus DJ, so there is room for improvement. Oh, speaking about room for improvement, please note that if you manage to actually play DJ hero on expert level, then you might as well move on to be a real DJ. It’s that hard.

 

Elite Beat Agents,Music,Game,Rhythm
Elite Beat Agents

In a world where alien attacks and firebreathing Gollums’ are an everyday occurrence, you might think that Earth would be protected by the Avengers or the Justice League. But nope. In this game, the world's mightiest heroes are three elite agents who solve all the world’s problems through the power of dance! Every time someone gets in trouble and needs help, the three agents go out there and dance their hearts out. They don’t directly get involved in helping anybody, but the power of their dancing motivates the person in trouble to solve their problems.

How much the person’s problem gets solved depends on how well you dance, and you have to dance to the tune by swiping and tapping along the path they give you. Every sequence has its own story complete with beautifully hand-drawn art. While the idea of three agents dancing to solve people's problems may sound stupid, the gameplay is just mesmerizing and will have you captured for hours. While some levels are pretty mundane, others are fanatical and excellent. Especially the level "A Christmas gift", which is harder than usual because you have to play through the tears and feels. Who knows, maybe if you’re going through a rough time, there just might be three elite agents dancing to solve your problems, right around the corner! Of course, they probably suck at dancing and keep falling on their faces, which is why your problems never seem to go away.

 

Tetris Effect,Music,Game,Rhythm
Special Mention: Tetris Effect

While the game itself is not a music based, but every aspect of Tetris Effect is heavily connected to the music. The music is precisely rendered into the actions the player makes in order to add a layer of new immersive experience. With each switch of the block type, you hear the drum beat. And with each line completed, you hear a much more complete rhythm, a more pronounced vocals and tone. It feels as if you’re playing music through an instrument called Tetris. And let's not forget the amazing aestetics of the visual effects. Mindblowing pieces of visual animated art which fills your screen with every color combination and shapes, building and breaking themes as you make your way through each level of the game.


Conclusion

All in all, music-based games are fun, if you can afford it. While the two main leaders in the world of rhythm-based games are Guitar Hero and Rock Band, they’ve both seen a decline in players, mostly due to their sets being priced from upwards of $190, which is more than three times the price of a normal triple-A game. If you feel like the nostalgic wave hitting you hard, check out this store to get best deals on gaming credits. Or maybe just check get your iTunes loaded up, and download the soundtracks for a good time. While the genre isn’t as popular as it used to be, it still has its good points, and only time will tell if the genre can keep on living, or if its time to bring out the coffin.

 

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, WII
Publisher(s): MTV Games
Developer(s): Harmonix Music Systems
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Rhythm, Music
Release Date: 2009-09-09

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