I’ve talked a bit already about how the right music can change the experience of a game, transforming it to something better. This is all the more true for rhythm games, where the music is a central focus of the game.
Games like Rock Band are probably the biggest examples of rhythm games right now, with players taking the stage and transforming into rock stars with a few button presses in time with the music.
But Rock Band is only available on consoles, and there are lots of different rhythm games out there, taking the core concept of syncing gameplay to music into completely different genres. Here are a few available on Steam right now.
Dungeon Crawler: Crypt of the Necrodancer
Over the past few years at PAX, I’ve had the chance to see this one a few times. There was always a good crowd around, watching players groove their way through the dungeons on a dance pad. That’s right – a roguelike dungeon crawler played with a dance pad. You can also play with a controller or keyboard if you want, but why would you if you can dance your way to victory?
There are several soundtrack remixes available, either unlockable in-game or as DLC, and a prequel is in the works, now on Steam Early Access. The recent Xbox One release includes bonus tracks by renowned chiptunes artist Chipzel.
Platformer: Inside My Radio
Work to save music itself in this unique platformer from #IcebergEntertainment and #SeavenStudio. As Bit, an LED moving inside a dead radio, it’s your job to revive the music in the system. Gameplay is heavily rhythm-based, as all jumps, attacks, and dashes need to be timed to the beat.
Your journey will take you through various different type of music, including electronic, dub, and disco, and features an electric neon color scheme. If you’re having trouble finding the beat, you can also toggle a metronome-like visualizer to help.
Bullet Hell: Retro/Grade
Despite its bullet hell trappings, #RetroGrade is probably the most traditional rhythm game on this list. As it turns out, defeating the big boss in an epic space battle undid the fabric of spacetime, and now you have to fix it, playing through everything in reverse.
To do this, you’ll jump back and forth between lanes of bullets — the traditional note highway of games like Rock Band, though it scrolls right to left, instead of up to down — absorbing back your shots while avoiding the bullets fired by enemy ships coming at you from the opposite direction.
You can play with a keyboard, controller, or guitar controller if you really want to challenge yourself. The soundtrack features original music created by Skyler McGlothlin (who also did the soundtrack for Neverending Nightmares) and is available for purchase through BandCamp.
Okay, I admit this one may not fit the list since it isn’t available on Steam now, and probably never will be, but it’s just too cool of a concept not to mention. I mean, an FPS rhythm game?
Announced by #Harmonix in 2014 and developed in conjunction with #HiddenPathEntertainment, #Chroma is a class-based FPS where players are rewarded for jumping, shooting, reloading in time with the beats.
After a short closed alpha period, Chroma faded away from Steam. Harmonix indicated that there was some “substantial retooling” to be done to make the concept work, but alas, in the nearly four years since then, nothing more has been heard of it.
Action: Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians
While you’re free to swim in any direction you choose, enemy movements and obstacles are set to the beat, so you’ll have to time yourself carefully. Additionally, the music itself can be affected, as certain enemies control some of the tracks, and other sounds and instruments are represented by interactable objects in the environment.