We searched high and low to find the best rhythm games available for iOS and Android. To us, the best games match movement requirements to screen size, use music that you actually want to listen to, and maybe even include some extra bits like storylines and character bonding.
Though of course, different games work better in different situations–some games are better for sitting down and playing for hours at a time, while others are great for when you’re stuck waiting in a line. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve handpicked our favorite rhythm games for both Android and iOS.
Top 10 Best Rhythm Games for iOS and Android to Buy Online
Choosing a rhythm game to play should rely heavily on what kind of gameplay you’re looking for–super interactive or more casual.
1. Rayark International – Cytus II
Price: Free from the App Store; $1.99 from Google Play
Best Difficult, Storyline-Driven Game
Not going to sugar coat it–this game is pretty tough. It involves tapping all around the screen to the beat of music across all genres, though you should expect to hear more electronic music than anything else, including music from Hatsune Miku.
With the initial download, you can play through a few characters, though in-app purchases allow you to play more songs and different characters. Each character has their own distinctive musical style that matches with the plot points.
|Music||Included and with purchase; All genres|
|Extras||Story, character bonding|
2. RobTop Games – Geometry Dash
Best Platform Game with Custom Levels
If platform games are more your style, Geometry Dash is the rhythm game for you. It requires you to tap precisely on the beat to avoid obstacles through 21 nearly impossible levels. After that, you can make your own or play other users’ levels too.
Unlike most rhythm games, there are no in-app purchases, and once you pay the $1.99, you have access to everything. If that’s too much, there’s also a Lite version.
3. Rayark International – Deemo
Price: $1.99 from the App Store; Free from Google Play
Best Classical Music-Focused Game
For those not into beat-focused electronic music, this app is filled with gentle piano melodies. But don’t let that fool you–some of the levels, particularly on hard mode, can be deceivingly difficult.
Gameplay involves tapping to the beat at the bottom of the screen, but you’ll still need two hands to get it right. There is a storyline, but it isn’t too apparent as you’re playing.
|Music||Included and with purchase; Piano|
4. OutOfTheBit – Planet Quest
Best for Playing in Short Sprints
This delightfully simple rhythm game has you playing as an alien trying to abduct animals from various planets. It’s a single tap game that you can play for just a minute or for hours on end.
This app is completely free to play through all levels (though feel free to go ad-free with an in-app purchase). On top of that, it’s beautifully designed and features all original music.
|Music||Free; Original music|
5. KLab – Love Live! School Idol Festival
Best for Character Bonding and Story
If you’re looking for something that goes beyond tapping to a beat, this could be the game for you. This game centers around a girl pop group. The rhythm games represent concerts, but there’s also a heavy story aspect that allows you to bond with characters.
While there are in-app purchases, you can basically play through everything without them and don’t need to buy anything unless you’re trying to get to the top of the leaderboard.
|Extras||Story, character bonding, events|
6. LoadComplete – Ride Zero
Best RPG Shooter-Style Game
Tired of rhythm games with stories that seem kind of like an afterthought? Well, this game uses rhythm challenges to battle opponents, collect supporters, and progress through the story.
However, it’s important to note that this game has a lot of “bubblegum” pop music, so if high-pitched, upbeat tunes aren’t your cup of tea, it might be best to steer clear.
|Music||Free and with purchase; Electronic, Asian|
7. Skytree Digital – Hachi Hachi
Best Player vs. Player Game
Rather than the typical line at the bottom, this game uses a unique circular format that really gets you involved and moving. There’s also a tournament mode that lets you battle against players from around the world.
While this game is free to download and play a few levels, you will hit a paywall pretty quickly, and it’s significantly easier to progress by buying coins. So if you’re not interested in spending money, this may not be the game for you.
|Music||Free and with purchase; All genres|
|Extras||Story, player vs. player, tournaments|
8. Iowiro – Arcaea
Best Game with Regularly Updated Free Songs
This game features a wide selection of free songs to play across all genres, and it’s constantly updating its library. The gameplay is well-devised and each song feels like it plays using different rules.
The mechanics require you to tap, hold, and slide along with the music but allows your hands to stay in one portion of the screen. Some reviewers note that this game is much better when played on a larger screen, like a tablet.
|Music||Free and with purchase; All genres|
|Extras||Story, character bonding|
9. Cheetah Games – Dancing Line
Best to Casually Pass Time
This rhythm game has you exploring an ever-changing world by tapping on the beat in order to turn. It’s a relaxing journey to original music that crosses all genres.
Most of the music is completely free, and watching ads can help you buy more lives. However, reviewers note that there can sometimes be too many ads and that the upgrade to remove them is quite expensive.
|Music||Free and with purchase; Original music|
10. Broken Rules Interactive Media – Eloh
Best Rhythm Game for Peace and Tranquility
For something a little different, in this game, rather than playing along with the music, you actually make it yourself. Eloh is a puzzle game where you have to solve each puzzle to the right beat to make it to the next level.
This game will leave you chilled out to the max as it’s pleasing to both the eyes and ears. There are no in-app purchases, and once you buy it, it’s completely available offline.
|Music||Included; Original music|
How to Choose a Rhythm Game for iOS and Android – Buying Guide
While it’s easy to just download games to try, it can save you a lot of time if you know exactly what you’re looking for ahead of time.
Consider Screen Size When Picking a Movement-Intensive Game
Some rhythm games require you to park your hands at the bottom of your screen and tap when the image lines up (think DDR), while others require you to hit points around the screen or even drag objects across it.
With smartphone screen sizes ranging from 4 inches up to nearly 7 (larger if you’re planning on playing on a tablet), it’s important that you consider how much you really want to move your hands and whether you might even need to set your phone down in order to play.
For those with smaller phones, this may not be much of an issue, but for larger screens, you should definitely take some time to think, as a high movement game might make it harder for you to play on the go.
On the other hand, certain games are optimized for larger screens. The gameplay tends to be more challenging and engaging, but when downloaded onto a smartphone, it may be difficult to hit the buttons correctly.
Find a Game with Your Preferred Music Type
The whole point of a rhythm game is to tap along to music, so it makes sense that you find a game with music that you appreciate.
Many games will come with a number of songs across a wide range of genres and can be appreciated by most people. A lot of rhythm games come from Asian countries and thus feature Asian (normally Japanese, Chinese, and Korean) music. Regardless, given the beat-based nature of these games, you should expect a lot of electronic music.
Some games even let you upload your own music and beatmaps. Just pay attention, as many apps will give you a certain number of free songs and then ask you to buy single songs or packs after that.
Storylines and Extra Features Compel You to Continue Playing
While many rhythm games are arcade-style games that let you pick songs and pass through levels without much commitment, some have stories and plotlines that compel you to keep playing. If you’re the type of person who appreciates games that are more woven together, picking a rhythm game that has a story will probably make it more enjoyable for you.
Other games feature Gacha, where you can roll for your favorite characters, or special events with limited edition prizes. Just be careful, as many of these types of games are stamina-based, meaning that to play a song, you have to use up a certain amount of stamina. Once you run out, you have to wait quite a while before it restores.
On the other hand, if you just want a game to play in your downtime or while waiting in line, feel free to go with a game without a story. In fact, not having a story is probably better for those who find themselves easily distracted.
Offline Availability Allows You to Play Anywhere, Any Time
While wifi and cell data are almost universally available now, there may be times when you don’t have service–like if you’re in a basement, on a road trip through the countryside, or just ran out of data for the month.
In these cases, you’ll probably still want to be able to play your games, so it’s important to look for games that have offline availability and don’t require data to work. Just note that games with offline availability tend to have larger file sizes, so if you’re short on memory space, you might not be able to download these.
Rhythm games are a fun way to weave music and gaming together, and having it on your mobile device means that you can take it just about anywhere. Just remember to pack your earbuds, and you should be good to go.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
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