Rhythm video games at one time used to be insanely popular. Titles such as Guitar Hero, Rockband, and Dance Dance Revolution has gone on to become a bestseller in the video game market, selling millions of devices through the last half of the 2000s (and beyond).
Not only that, but rhythm games have also been critically acclaimed games. While these eleven games have their own unique style, it is what they offer that makes them amazing in the eyes of video game critics.
11 Elite Beat Agents – 87%
An international counterpart to the Japanese release Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, Elite Beat Agents follows three government agents deployed by Commander Khan. Unlike most government agents, these men in black instead rely on dance movements to encourage those who need help to overcome the challenges they face.
Elite Beat Agents has fifteen licensed songs (and three bonus tracks) that government agents can dance to as individual stories get dumber and dumber as the game progresses. This award-winning Nintendo DS title has won numerous awards in 2006, garnering praise for its gameplay and humor.
10 DJ Hero – 87%
DJ Hero was released in 2009 and was intended to be a spin-off title for Guitar Hero series. It boasts a soundtrack of 100 individual songs, 80 of which have been remixed. The gameplay is based on a typical turntable, where the player has to adjust the fades and scratch the turntable by pressing buttons.
DJ Hero has been praised by critics for how fresh it is, especially compared to its sister series Guitar Hero. The turntable-based gameplay is also noted, where the difficulty curve helps the player hone their skills as a DJ master.
9 Crypt of the NecroDancer – 87%
The crypt of NecroDancer looks like a dungeon crawler game on the surface, except that it has only one rhythm component in it. The main character, Cadence, must move and attack in time as she navigates through a crypt in search of her missing father.
Much of the praise for The crypt of NecroDancer has gone to the soundtrack, which was composed by Danny Baronowsky. Most critics admire the game’s originality and how well it combines rhythm gameplay with a rogue-like dungeon crawler to make an almost perfect combination.
8 Samba de Amigo – 89%
Do not let the title of the game fool you – unlike traditional samba music, Samba de Amigo contains instead mainly Latin pop songs. Either way, it makes the player shake the maracas around in time, and at the right height. The better the performance, the more people the game’s star, Amigo, will attract.
Compared to other rhythm games, Samba de Amigo is often noted as being very unique. Many critics enjoy the game’s addictive gameplay and for being a fun title on the game unfortunately forgot the Dreamcast console. Unfortunately, maraca controllers are the only way one can really enjoy Samba de Amigo.
7 Dance Dance Revolution – 90%
PlayStation port off Dance Dance Revolution plays like the arcade version, but only with a few new kinks added to the mix. Apart from new music tracks, it has two new modes that are not included in the original – an edit mode and an event mode.
Dance Dance Revolution is considered a defining title for its genre, being the first music game to make the player move his feet to the rhythm. Its fun and addictive gameplay has made it a favorite of most video game critics.
6 Guitar Hero – 91%
The first Guitar Hero the game has a very simple premise. The player must use a guitar-based controller as they play rock music. Thirty rock songs are featured in this game, which ranges from 1967 to 2004.
Guitar Hero is well received by critics, many of whom are big fans of the classic soundtrack as well as the Gibson SG-based guitar controller. The game’s status as a sleeping hit helped kick-start the game Guitar Hero series that would continue to dominate the music video game landscape for the foreseeable future.
5 Rock Band 2 – 92%
Rockband 2 takes what the original had and improves it. Along with improved controls, the game comes with multiple instruments and collaborative band playing. The downloadable content is out of this world as over a thousand songs can be downloaded.
Critics can not see Rockband 2 as a brand new game, but rather as a title that polishes and enhances things that were in the prequel. Rockband 2 is considered to be a more enjoyable experience for players, with how many songs and game modes it has.
4 Guitar Hero II – 92%
Thanks to the breathtaking success Guitar Heroits successor Guitar Hero II was released a year later in 2006. The original gameplay is retained as new note combinations and multiplayer modes are added. There is even a training mode where players can practice certain song sections.
Much like the original, Guitar Hero II is a success both commercially and critically. Critics enjoy the aspects of the game that were worked on, such as gameplay mechanics and replay value, though they find that the new game modes and heavy soundtrack leave much to be desired.
3 PaRappa the Rapper – 92%
Rapper PaRappa is largely considered to be the first true rhythm game. With its rap-inspired gameplay and a witty story that follows, it follows PaRappa as he raps his way through multiple stages in his attempt to win over Sunny Funny.
Critics find the songs in the game quite catchy, though the lyrics are a bit crazy. The animation has also received praise, with the paper-thin character design and 3-D backgrounds providing an eclectic combination. Maybe the only bank on Rapper PaRappa is how short it is.
2 Rockband – 92%
Harmonix is used to produce Guitar Hero games, at least until Kindle was purchased by MTV Records. When Neversoft became the new developer, Rockband was later conceived – to be the first game in what would become a best-selling and influential video game series.
Rockband allows up to four players to play together and rock out as they use instrument-based controllers (and even a USB microphone). Several game publications have praised this title and call the gaming experience fun and the co-op gameplay pretty rewarding. However, the game’s single player mode is seen as a disadvantage.
1 Rock Band 3 – 93%
Rockband 3 improves what Rockband 2 already established, with new instruments and vocal harmonies found in Rock Band spin-off titles. It has a Pro mode that mimics playing on real instruments, as well as a MIDI adapter for electronic drum kits and keyboards, making it one of the best co-op games available back then.
Not only is Rockband 2 seen as better than its predecessor, but it is also considered a landmark title for rhythm games. Critics love how ambitious the game is and how the Pro mode helps players learn to play real instruments. The addition of the keyboard is also seen as a plus in terms of expanding the range of Rock Band’s music collection.
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