It feels like once upon a time, you couldn’t swing a dance mat without hitting the latest rhythm game. While those halcyon days may be over, there’s still plenty of rhythm-based fun to be found on the latest Nintendo console, in fact with the number of indies embracing the genre and giving it a fresh twist, it’s never been so exciting.
Rhythm games now cover a wide array of genres, with action games, DJ simulators, and even a rhythm-based twist on an RPG classic. All are available right now on your Nintendo Switch. We even live in a timeline where a fantastic rhythm game is based on The Legend of Zelda. What a time to be alive! So, we created a guide with the best Switch rhythm games, so you don’t skip a beat.
So, whether you want a traditional rhythm experience, or want to venture out and sample some fresh beats, we have it all for you right here. Battle to the beat, run to the rhythm, parry to the pulse, and fight to the flow; these are the best Switch rhythm games.
Here’ our guide to the best Switch rhythm games.
More action than rhythm, but you need to master the movement here if you want to succeed. Thumper is a frantic on-rails action game, where you react to the music to stay alive, and it rules. Psychedelic visuals swirl around you and react to your actions, it’s absolutely mesmerising to play. Your performance is also dependent on how quickly you react, and things get really tough, very fast. It’s an action game like no other, and a particularly engrossing entry, with a killer soundtrack. If you want to add some thrills to your playlist, this is an essential rhythm game.
Cadence of Hyrule
I still can’t quite believe this game exists. The original Crypt of the Necrodancer is a brilliant mixture of rhythm-based combat and dungeon crawling, that almost plays like a puzzle game where you must remember to attack enemies to the beat and react properly to obstacles. So when a sequel was announced based on The Legend of Zelda, it felt like a match made in heaven.
Adding items from the Zelda series, an incredible pixel art style to bring it all to life, and slapping on top some of the best remixes of songs from the series you could ever hope to find. This is a fantastic rhythm game in it’s own right, but any Zelda fan who hasn’t experienced Cadence of Hyrule yet is missing out on a bombastic celebration of the beloved series.
Taiko No Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun
It’s not a Nintendo console without some peripherals, and this could be one for the ages. Taiko No Tatsujin: Drum ’n’ Fun for Nintendo Switch brings all the fun of the arcade original thanks to its great drum-pad controller (if you can find it), though playing by shaking Joy-Cons is still a fine way to experience this.
Wave your controller to the beat, with heaps of great music including tracks from Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2. It’s great for either a traditional rhythm experience or just to let off some steam. There’s even a recent adventure RPG spin-off if you just can’t get enough.
Another action-focused twist on the genre, Aaero feels like a mixture of a rhythm game and StarFox, as you control a small craft and battle waves of enemies, but try and do it all to the rhythm of their attacks. It’s got a pumping dubstep and techno-inspired soundtrack including some great licensed songs.
Plus, while it’s tricky to learn early in the game, once you understand the different elements and can just go along with the gameplay and the music while destroying hordes of enemies, this is an incredibly satisfying game. If you fancy a space-based shooter with a fantastic soundtrack, this is a no-brainer.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
A short but sweet experience, Sayonara Wild Hearts plays more like an interactive concept album than anything else. It’s a technicolour whirlwind that tells an emotional tale through gameplay, and it may leave you teary-eyed by the end. The soundtrack here is absolutely stellar and the gameplay shifts with each song, so nothing gets old. This is also a tougher game than you might assume, and chasing the highest score possible in each chapter adds some replay value. You can probably finish this one in an evening, but it will stick with you much longer than that.
Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory
Well, you asked for Kingdom Hearts on Switch, didn’t you? The beloved RPG series featuring Square Enix and Disney characters has a rabid fan base, so of course, the series made its way to Nintendo, as a rhythm game. React to over 140 songs from the series, and experience a visual journey through the entire series.
While this is likely only one for hardcore fans of the franchise, especially as it covers some major moments from the games, this is a really solid action-rhythm hybrid that looks fantastic on the Switch. Essential for players who love the series, but others should maybe wait to play the originals first.
Carrying the torch originally lit by DJ Hero, Fuser throws everything and the kitchen sink at the genre by giving you all the tools you need to be the world’s best DJ. With a fun story mode that charts your rise to success, and a huge library of licensed songs ready to be stripped apart and played in whatever mash-up you can imagine, Fuser does a lot right.
The moment to moment gameplay is also really fun as you pick apart the stems of the tracks and concoct some amazing (and awful, the tools are there) tracks. With so much to unlock for both your characters and stage, you can truly craft your own personal perfect festival experience.
There you go, that’s plenty of beat for your buck! We hope this guide helps you find your next rhythm-gaming favourite. If you need even more things to play though, why not check out our guide to the best Switch casual games so you can unwind after dancing to all those great game soundtracks.