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5 Rhythm Games like Guitar Hero: Hitting the Right Notes

James-Brindley-authorMusic games like ‘Guitar Hero’ have taken the market by storm ever since they burst onto the scene. They’re as addictive as they are challenging. If you’re looking for such a challenge, I recommend ‘Amplitude’, ‘Piano Tiles’, and ‘Cytus’. ~ James Brindley

Moving with the Music

Though rhythm games are incredibly popular, they vary from title to title. In the western world, it’s easy not to look past the twin titans of ‘Guitar Hero’ and ‘Rock Band’ and given that they’re great franchises, that’s perfectly understandable. Sometimes however, you want something a little different.

Luckily for you, I’ve friends in high places and they’ve given me a list. With these games under your belt, you’ll always have something to tap to, whether it’s on your console, pc or phone. Be warned though, when you’re looking for a game like ‘Guitar Hero’ some of the choices can get a little bit… crazy.


Games Similar to ‘Guitar Hero’…

‘Amplitude’ (Harmonix, 2003)

If you ever wanted to smash out some tunes with a more sci-fi edge, then ‘Amplitude’ is the game for you. Players take control of space ships that shoot notes to play a song. Yep. Switching lanes is part of the crazy fun, but you should probably work together if you don’t want Led Zeppelin sounding like a nursery music lesson.

This game became so much of an indie hit that Sony resurrected the game in a 2014 reboot for PS4, so you don’t have to dust off the PS2 again even if you’re blinded by nostalgia.

Similarity Match: 75%
Think ‘Guitar Hero’ in the neon lights of a sci-fi dream. The game is a lot more fluid at times, chaotic at others, but this should still hit the note.

‘Piano Tiles’ (Umoni Studio, 2014)

You’ll notice as this list goes on that we’ll move further and further away from the ‘Guitar Hero’ stereotypes. ‘Piano Tiles’, otherwise known as ‘Don’t Tap the White Tile’, is a game that is as simple as it is challenging. A medley of interlocking piano melodies will serenade your desperate attempts to tap those tricksy tiles, culminating inevitably in a fumbling, sweaty palmed mess as you attempt to go for your high score.

If you get bored, you can even try some different game modes, adding speed changes, special rules, and even changing tile sizes to the frenzy.

Similarity Match: 75%
We’re moving away from the guitars and onto the piano, but the sense of timing you’ll need and the difficulty you’ll face are strikingly similar.

‘Cytus’ (Rayark Games, 2012)

Asian rhythm games scare the hell out of me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone play one that isn’t incredibly good at it, their nimble fingers effortlessly darting across the screen like some music robot.

Maybe I’m being slightly overdramatic, but this game gets difficult fast. The beauty of the rhythm genre is that it has endless potential for more music to be implemented. ‘Cytus’ just means you get to truly test your reactions and memory whilst listening to the music you love.

Similarity Match: 70%
This game has a much more eastern feel to it than the likes of ‘Guitar Hero’, and you’ll be tapping on the screen in ever shifting patterns rather than following the tracks of rock, but you’ll enjoy yourself all the same.

‘Music Catch 2’ (Reflexive Entertainment, 2009)

After the insane pressure a game like ‘Cytus’ puts on you, I thought I’d include a game that takes a little bit of a step back in the rhythm department. However, what it loses in timed tappery, it gains in relaxation potential.

Sweeping up shapes like a musical janitor, you’ll be charmed by the beautiful melodies as you forget the fact that you’ll never be able to beat your high score in any of the other games on this list.

Similarity Match: 70%
If ‘Guitar Hero’ is a rock show, then ‘Music Catch 2’ is lying in a field looking at the stars. With both titles you’ll be amazed how well the music creates atmosphere, but here you won’t be in quite as much of a panic.


If You Like ‘Guitar Hero’, You Will Like…

Sometimes no matter how diverse rhythm games get, they tend to have the same feel. What if you could combine the head nodding, foot tapping motion of a music game with the excitement and charm of a roguelike, dungeon crawling arcade title?

You’d get a masterpiece, that’s for sure.

‘Crypt of the NecroDancer’ (Brace Yourself Games, 2015)

It took me a while to get to this game. I’m a person who has to be in specific moods to play specific genres, and I couldn’t work out what the hell ‘Crypt of the NecroDancer’ was. I was apparently missing out. Combining the dungeon-crawling, item hording experience of ‘The Binding of Isaac’ with rhythm-based movement and musical gameplay, this title is a mad genius’ best work.

Plus, the shopkeeper sings with the music. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything that quite compares to the amazing soundtrack of this game, so beautifully implemented in the gameplay.

‘Guitar Hero’ and ‘Crypt of the NecroDancer’ are both tied intrinsically to their music. However, I’d prefer to be fighting monsters whilst I’m rocking out, thank you.


This Is Eleven

Trying to find the right music game for you can be maddening at times, especially with the limitations of specific platforms ruining the experience. However, if you look hard enough, and with the help of this list, I’m sure you’ll find that perfect jam session just waiting for you.

Can you think of another game like ‘Guitar Hero’ that I’ve missed?

Be sure to tell me in the comments below!

Hey, I’m Jamie, a guy who spends most of his time either imagining stories or writing them down. When I’m not working at itcher I’m playing video games, watching movies, or being nerdy in some other strange way that I find amusing. When that doesn’t quite cut it, I’m off to a rock concert, eating pizza or chilling with my friends.
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