Previously on the SwitchArcade Special, we’ve had our favorite fighting games, 3D platformers, JRPGs, action RPGs, and more highlighted for Nintendo Switch. Today, we are looking at one of my favourite genres of the last few years: rhythm games. For rhythm games, I’m going to be highlighting my favourite music and rhythm games on Nintendo Switch and there were a lot to choose from. While a majority of my playtime in the genre had been on PS Vita and iOS a few years ago, most developers have brought out Nintendo Switch versions of older games or moved to Nintendo Switch to support the variety of input methods and flexibility available on the system. In no particular order, here are our picks for the best of the bunch.
Superbeat Xonic ($29.99)
Superbeat Xonic from PM Studios and Nurijoy was a game that surprised me back when it debuted on PS Vita. Unlike most rhythm games I had played at the time where I was familiar with the music beforehand, Superbeat Xonic impressed me with its slick interface and with its eclectic selection of music. It is full of more relaxing tunes, upbeat and heavy music, and more. The best part about Superbeat Xonic on Nintendo Switch is that it plays brilliant on both touch and with a controller. The game was clearly designed for symmetric sticks like Katamari Damacy though so it will take a bit of time to get used to if you use a controller. There was a touchscreen issue at launch but it was finally addressed in a patch. The Nintendo Switch is home to some big name rhythm games but this is easily one of my favourites in the genre and one that I go back to often.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix ($39.39)
As with Superbeat Xonic, I was introduced to the Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA rhythm games on the PS Vita. On Nintendo Switch, Sega has taken the arcade Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA release and ported it with little compromise. This is both good and bad. It is good because the game with DLC includes a massive list of songs. The bad part is that these note maps are based on the arcade version and not tuned for controllers. The other downside is only if you have access to a PS4. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone on PS4 is better visually but the ability to play Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix on portable and docked under a TV seamlessly has ensured it is one of my most played rhythm games in a while. It even has a demo so it is definitely worth checking out if you’ve never played a Hatsune Miku game and want to know what the fuss is about. I love that Sega went the extra mile and added a nice touch control option here and even a motion controlled mode with its own beat maps that sadly isn’t a lot of fun.
Cytus Alpha ($49.99)
Cytus is a name most mobile rhythm game fans will know. Cytus Alpha on Nintendo Switch sees Flyhigh Works bring Rayark’s classic rhythm game with all content in a single package that includes more than 200 songs. Cytus Alpha includes support for touchscreen and controllers and having played it ever since it launched, it isn’t just one of the best rhythm games on Nintendo Switch but also one of my favourites on any platform. The only complaint I have with Cytus Alpha is that the menus might seem a bit confusing initially for someone who just wants to get into the action. Other than that, it definitely justifies its high price with the sheer polish across the board and I’m glad there’s a way to have it all as a single premium package here.
Deemo is another rhythm game that debuted on mobile before it started seeing ports just about everywhere. Deemo follows a mysterious character playing a piano who comms into contact with a girl who falls into the world through a trapdoor in the sky. As Deemo, you play music to try and help the girl to get back to her world. Deemo is a very piano-focussed game when it comes to the music selection. It has a great selection of music. Out of all the versions I’ve played including iOS, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch, and PS4, the PS4 version is definitely the most impressive visually but the Nintendo Switch version is my go to way to play Deemo. If you enjoy good stories and piano music, Deemo is a must play and it is one of the best rhythm games on Nintendo Switch.
Taiko no tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! ($49.99)
Bandai Namco finally brought its beloved Taiko franchise to Nintendo Switch with Taiko no tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun that has become the definitive entry in the franchise for me after all its updates and DLC. If you ever saw videos of players banging away at a big drum in an arcade alongside a song, it was likely a Taiko no Tatsujin arcade cabinet. While it is clearly designed for playing with a drum controller (that adds to the fun), Taiko no tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun supports buttons and touch controls well. It relies on only a few input types but can get very difficult depending on the song and difficulty level. It even has mini-games and online modes. It even includes a lot of music from anime, games, classical composers, and more.
Just like Cytus, Voez from Rayark debuted on iOS for free and eventually released on Android. Flyhigh Works brought it to Nintendo Switch as a premium release with all songs and content included. While it initially launched with only touch controls, it was updated to add controller support. Notes or touch targets of different types flow down from the top of the screen here and your aim is to press or tap alongside the music. Voez has a gorgeous minimalist aesthetic and a lovely set of music that you will likely take a long time to go through. It was one of the early releases on Nintendo Switch and remains a rhythm game I can recommend to anyone now.
Brace Yourself Games’ excellent rhythm game brought both music games and roguelikes together for one of the most creative games I’ve played. The gameplay is like a turn based dungeon crawler but you need to take turns along with the beat. Crypt of the Necrodancer arrived on iOS as well in a fantastic conversion and it has one of Danny Baranovsky’s best soundtracks ever. If you don’t like keeping up with a beat and just want a well designed roguelike, there’s even an option for that here and in the game featured in this list below. Crypt of the Necrodancer is a must play regardless of your platform of choice.
Crypt of the Necrodancer: Nintendo Switch Edition was so popular and excellent in its own right that Nintendo teamed up with Brace Yourself Games and Spike Chunsoft to do a version of it with The Legend of Zelda. Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda was an excellent take on Crypt of the Necrodancer but with The Legend of Zelda mechanics, music through remixes, and much more. It feels like the perfect blend of both and my only real complaint about Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda after all its DLC finally released is that Nintendo hasn’t released the official soundtrack in any form yet.
Gal Metal ($19.99)
Gal Metal is one of the more unique rhythm games available today. It tells a story of an aliens invasion and the power of metal in a comic book style aesthetic. What makes this game stand out is that it requires you to learn patterns and perform like you would in real life. It doesn’t have you just keeping up with symbols and timestamps on the screen. Gal Metal also has multiple control options and I enjoyed playing it on the touchscreen. It feels like a rhythm game from another time where developers weren’t afraid to change things up a ton. This game may not be for everyone but it definitely is a blast if you enjoy metal.
Thumper is yet another game that is available on just about every system. The rhythm action experience from Drool eases you into its adrenaline pumping music but it gets super difficult very quickly. You control a scarab-like creature in Thumper trying to navigate through levels full of creativity and a metallic aesthetic while avoiding a plethora of obstacles alongside the beat. It even has boss battles that play out across different phases. While it is available on iOS at a much lower price point, Thumper’s implementation of HD rumble is excellent. Thumper remains one of the best rhythm games on Nintendo Switch.
Hopefully developers continue to bring more quality music games to Nintendo Switch in the future. Not only do games like this introduce people to music they might not normally listen to but they also serve as great examples of creativity across visuals and storytelling. What do you think? Do you have any rhythm games you’d want us to include or think we missed? Feel free to comment below and let us know.