Whether you’re a rhythm-gaming master or just enjoy getting down to the funky beat, there are a wealth of games available on Switch that cater to the musically inclined. From games that give you a full body workout to titles that test the timing of a single digit, we were surprised to see just how many excellent rhythm and music-centric games Nintendo’s console has accumulated since launch.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the very finest examples of the best rhythm and music games on Switch. Dancers, drummers, tappers, mashers – there is a wide variety of beat-based gaming to find below, all available on-the-go with a pair of headphones or at home with the hi-fi turned up to eleventy-stupid.
So, grab your headset, sit back and relax: it’s time to take a look (in no particular order) at the best rhythm and music games on Switch.
Publisher: Berzerk Studio / Developer: Berzerk Studio
We kick things of with one of Switch’s real hidden gems. The energy and verve of Just Shapes & Beats is utterly infectious. True to its name, the elements are simple, but Berzerk Studio explores and executes on its modest premise with an exceptional level of polish in this self-described ‘musical bullet hell’. Bullets are the least of your worries – objects to evade range from simple Euclidean shapes to laser beams, spinning saws, spiralling tentacles and ocean waves made from EQ bars. It’s a celebratory explosion of the audio-visual in video games and showcases chiptunes in their natural habitat. Simply put, it’s one of the best games on Switch.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Brace Yourself Games
Nintendo gave indie outfit Brace Yourself Games the keys to the Zelda franchise and the studio managed not only to return it to the platform holder without any dings in the paintwork, but to craft an incredible entry in the series that feels totally at home alongside the greats. A transfusion from Crypt of the NecroDancer gives the old top-down template a fresh rhythm-based spin, but Cadence of Hyrule is a Zelda game to its core which puts the music front-and-centre and breathes new life into familiar tunes. It might take a while to get into its way of doing things, but once you’ve nailed the beat-based gameplay, it’s an utter joy.
Publisher: MERJ Media / Developer: MERJ Media
Floor Kids is a breakdance battler and, as with many rhythm games, might take a little while to ‘click’. Once it does, though, it reveals itself to be one of the most infectiously brilliant rhythm games on Switch which enables you to create your own dance moves and improvise in a way many games in the genre don’t. Satisfying and unique, it’s another of Switch’s hidden gems you’d do well to add to your collection.
True to its name, Thumper is brutal. You control a shiny beetle-thing hurtling on rails ever-onwards to a raw pulsing beat, repelling ‘attacks’ and progressing through surreal stages in a battle for survival and high scores. It’s an assault on the senses and a difficult game, so bear that in mind if you’re after something relaxing – you won’t get an easy ride here. What you do get, though, is one of the most intense, gruelling and rewarding rhythm games on any platform.
Publisher: Humble Bundle / Developer: Greg Lobanov
A breezy tonic to the intensity of the last entry, Wandersong is a platformer with a rather unique singing mechanic that has the passionate bard you control saving the universe with the power of song. Your dulcet tones are mapped to the right stick and you’ll have to hit the right notes to defeat enemies in a world that reacts to your voice. With beautiful visuals and excellent writing, Wandersong is a wonderful, colourful little ditty.
A few frustrating issues with touch controls make this one better with buttons, but Superbeat: Xonic brings an eclectic mix of stylish, club-ready beats through jazz, trance, techo and samba to Switch. You hurtle through a ‘tunnel’ as notes emerge and run outwards from the centre of the screen towards a ring at the outer edge. With balanced progression and a high level of polish, this is a very solid entry in Switch’s rhythm game charts.
Publisher: Flyhigh Works / Developer: Rayark
VOEZ is a gorgeous-looking rhythm game with a mixture of mainly J-pop, K-pop, electronic and Vocaloid tracks that started life as a touchscreen-only title thanks to its mobile roots. Don’t let that put you off, though. What the soundtrack lacks in variety the game makes up for with beautiful visuals and solid rhythm gameplay which elevates it well above your average smartphone two-bit tapper. Which regular updates adding even more songs and an update adding controller support for docked play, VOEZ is well worth investigating.
Publisher: Flyhigh Works / CIRCLE / Developer: Rayark
Coming from Rayark, the developer behind VOEZ, DEEMO is another mobile game adapted for Switch and arguably improves on the studio’s previous effort thanks to its eclectic mix of genres coupled with a less-hectic input mechanic. Inspired by the pianist protagonist, the game has you tapping as notes fall from the top of the screen with rhythm gameplay that’s every bit as beautiful as its predecessor and a little more accessible to boot. You can also use your Nintendo Labo piano Toy-Con to play, and with a sequel in the works it’s the perfect time to dip into the delights of DEEMO.
Publisher: Springloaded / Developer: Springloaded
A Rōmaji rhythm runner, Hiragana Pixel Party is a hugely enjoyable game that functions as an effective Japanese language training tool for the uninitiated. Many fans of Japanese games will likely have entertained the notion of learning the language at some point or other, so what better way than with PaRappa the Rapper-style call and repeat rhythm gameplay elegantly attached to a runner? With an excellent chiptune soundtrack and a cute art style, Hiragana Pixel Party is both fun and educational.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games / Developer: Bandai Namco Games
Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! is overflowing with energy and colour and gives Europeans a long-awaited taste of Japanese drum-fun we’ve had to import for so long. It’s fun, although this game comes with a caveat. Switch’s touchscreen functions admirably, but you’ll really want to consider forking out for the taiko peripheral to see the game at its best. The motion control options here are poor to the point that they’re unworkable on anything but the lowest difficulty, which is a shame. It’s not a perfect game, then, but it is beautifully bold and bouncy, and the Party Game section helps shore things up, offering short bursts of multiplayer fun as a credible stopgap until Rhythm Paradise arrives on Switch.