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The best rhythm games of all time

When people talk of the “rhythm game” genre, they’re probably referencing either Rock Band or Guitar Hero. But over the years, we’ve seen a staggering number of great music games that don’t belong to these two franchises. Whether you’re banging on bongos, spinning a fake turntable, or flailing your arms around in a VR game, the genre has done it all. Many of them are no longer in production — and several require proprietary plastic controllers — but the following 12 titles are among the best rhythm games the industry has ever seen.

Rock Band 3

Rock Band 3
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In order to prevent this list from being taken over by the Rock Band series, we’ve restricted it to just one game from the franchise. And Rock Band 3 is certainly the best it has to offer. Upping the ante by adding keyboard gameplay alongside the usual drums, vocals, guitar, and bass, Rock Band 3 was a wildly diverse title. Would-be rockers choose from more than 83 songs and play on a variety of difficulties to sate their inner rockstar. Included on the soundtrack are hit songs by famous bands and songwriters, including Avenged Sevenfold, The Cure, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Slipknot, and The Smiths.

Guitar Hero 2

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As for the best of the Guitar Hero franchise, the second installment is often cited as the finest in its roster. It improved upon the original by bringing massive singles from bands such as AC/DC and Metallica to an already stacked lineup, and the developers worked closely with these artists to get authentic recreations in the game. Guitar Hero 2 also improved the hammer-on and pull-off technique, allowing for a more realistic guitar-strumming experience. On top of that, it was the first time players were introduced to three-note chords, forcing them to learn completely new hand positions — and increasing the difficulty.

Beat Saber

Beat Saber in Steam Top Sellers 2019
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While it hasn’t quite reached the level of success of the Rock Band and Guitar Hero titles of yesteryear, Beat Saber is far and away the most popular new rhythm game. You’ll need a VR headset to play the hit title — meaning the cost of entry is a bit high — but besides that it’s one of the best rhythm games around. Players hold a saber in each hand, one red and the other blue. Colored blocks then start moving toward you in tune to the rhythm, and you’re tasked with slicing the blocks with the appropriate saber before they fly past you. It’s a simple concept, but one that proves that the rhythm genre is far from dead — and that VR might be its future.

You can check out our list of the best HTC Vive games and Oculus Quest games for more like this.

Crypt of the NecroDancer

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Combining two genres as disparate as rhythm and roguelike sounds as if it would be a disaster, but it’s one that works surprisingly well. Players must move and attack to the beat of the music — performing any action off-beat results in a penalty. Despite its difficulty, Crypt of the NecroDancer never feels frustrating. Instead, each failure can be seen as practice, as you learn the rhythm of each song and the movement of your foes. You can even choose to upload your own tunes, but the music by Danny Baranowsky is so good you’d be crazy to miss out on it.

PaRappa the Rapper

best ps1 games parrapa the rapper
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While there were a couple of obscure rhythm games before it, PaRappa the Rapper is often cited as the first true rhythm game, and the one that brought the genre to the masses. Players took on the role of PaRappa, a rapping dog who’s attempting to sing and karate kick his way into the heart of his true love, Sunny Funny. The story is a bit off the wall, but the rhythmic blocking, chopping, and kicking were as solid as anything else on the original PlayStation. With several difficulties available — as well as unlockable endings — PaRappa is truly one of the greatest music games around.


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If you’re hoping that your Guitar Hero expertise would translate to playing a real guitar — well, that typically didn’t work out too well. Rocksmith, however, did exactly that. Players would plug in a real electric guitar and the game would slowly walk them through the basics of playing a true instrument. It was packed with short lessons — disguised as mini-games — and once guitarists felt comfortable enough, they could tackle full songs by The Black Keys, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boston, and Pearl Jam. If Guitar Hero was about using guitars to make a video game, Rocksmith was about using video games to make a musician.

DJ Hero

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Just as the music game craze was coming to an end, DJ Hero stepped in and tried to revitalize the genre. But rather than use plastic guitars and drums, players stepped behind a plastic turntable. It was a solid — if basic — imitation of what a real DJ would use, but did an impressive job replicating the true experience. The falling-notes formula returned from the Guitar Hero games, but instead of tapping and strumming, players were tapping and scratching. With greats such as Daft Punk, DJ AM, and DJ Shadow lending their beats, DJ Hero remains one of the most unique rhythm games of all time.

Donkey Konga

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Since GameCube games missed out on the Guitar Hero and Rock Band craze, Nintendo decided to step in and fix the problem. And its answer had a decidedly Nintendo spin. The company took one of the most popular franchises — Donkey Kong — and created a music game spinoff. Donkey Konga saw players smacking a plastic set of bongos to the beat of “All the Small Things,” “Louie Louie,” and “Whip It.” It certainly stood out of the market — and performed well enough to earn a sequel — but the bongo fever died out almost as quickly as it came.

Sayonara Wild Hearts

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From the publishers of Journey and Flower, Sayonara Wild Hearts is another abstract adventure that keeps players on their toes until the very end. The title revolves around heartbreak and self-acceptance, using a powerful soundtrack to push the action forward. It’s much more story driven than most other rhythm games, but its tight gameplay and wonderful soundtrack make it a game that’ll stick with you well past the credits.

Super Hexagon

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The most simple game on the list, Super Hexagon isn’t a graphical powerhouse. It has no story, its controls are basic, and you’ll probably quit in frustration dozens of times. But once it clicks, Super Hexagon is an incredible game. The premise is simple — players move around in a circle as they try to avoid incoming obstacles. As the action plays out and the beat intensifies, the levels become more frantic, requiring precise moves to survive. But as far as fast-paced rhythm games are concerned, it’s hard to top Super Hexagon.


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This game requires you to upload your own music, so you’ll need seriously good musical taste if you want to optimize your AudioSurf experience. It’s similar to Guitar Hero while still distinguishing itself. The title includes multiple game modes, but in general, you can expect to soar through a psychedelic backdrop as you attempt to collect blocks of an assigned color. The game stacks the blocks behind your character, and you can trade them for points. You can strategize about where you put the blocks—groups of specific colors can get you a huge bonus. For instance, yellow and red blocks score the most points per block. It’s an entertaining and unique variant of the rhythm genre, using puzzle game mechanics in its action. 

Dance Dance Revolution

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While it takes some time and effort to set up, Dance Dance Revolution was a true revolution when it first came out. The game requires portable dance mats, which can make people nervous. But the trick is coordination and rhythm, rather than actual dance moves. Even amateurs dancers will start to feel like pros as they see their movements match the game. 

With the immense variety of rhythm games to choose from, players have hours of fun at their fingertips. Whether you prefer Rock Band 3, Donkey Konga, DJ Hero, or Dance Dance Revolution, you’re sure to find a new favorite from this list of our top 12.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
Starfield: Red Mile location and how to survive
Talking to Mei about the Red Mile in Starfield.

What space game would be complete without a seedy casino somewhere in the galaxy? In Starfield, that is best represented by The Red Mile casino and hotel where those willing to risk their Credits, and their lives, have the chance to strike it rich. Of all the games and entertainment available, the Red Mile challenge is no doubt the most deadly. You're free to visit this planet almost immediately after getting your ship, but this challenge isn't made for a fresh character. Even after you've leveled up, get some decent gear, and feel up to the challenge, the Red Mile Run has a lot of surprises that can cut your run short in the worst possible ways. If you think you're tough enough to make it to the end, here's where to find the Red Mile and the best tips on surviving it.
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The best weapons in Lies of P
Lies of P boss fight

This interpretation of the classic Pinocchio is nothing like the friendly (if a little creepy) original. Your puppet brought to life is sent out into a world of dangers around every corner, and only your weapons and reflexes will see you through. Lies of P is a Soulslike, after all, so finding and testing out new weapons is all part of the experience. That and dying, of course. Still, if you want to avoid doing the latter as much as possible, a strong weapon will come in handy. This game uses a system where you can customize your arsenal by swapping out the blades and handles, giving you tons of possibilities, but we'll focus on which weapons are the best out of the box in Lies of P and let you do the tweaking from there.
The best weapons in Lies of P

Puppet Saber
Because you can get the Puppet Saber right at the start of Lies of P, you might write it off as something that's only viable in the early game and should be dumped ASAP. That's not the case, as this fast-hitting sword can stay competitive at least until the midgame. It has a good range, is fast, and has a great charge attack you can use to zone enemies with. It scales at rank C in both Motivity and Technique, and comes with the fable art of Storm Slash, which unleashes a flurry of strikes on a target ahead of you. The other art it packs is Concentrate, which gives you a temporary attack buff.
Salamander Dagger
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Booster Glaive
There aren't a ton of area-control weapons in Lies of P, which makes the Booster Glaive stand out as a unique pick. You get good range, and the arc on each swing is perfect for crowd control. In tighter, more linear spaces, you can use the charge attack for a forward thrust. This is a Technique weapon, scaling at B, but it also has D scaling in Motivity. It shares the Storm Slash skill with the Puppet Saber, but also has the Patient Slash, which lets you charge up one large, powerful strikes.
Acidic Crystal Spear
Despite the word "Spear" being in the weapon's name, the Acidic Crystal Spear technically falls under the Dagger category of weapons. Regardless, this has the looks, range, and feel of a spear. It can do fast, poking attacks, and will deal acid damage on each strike as well. You get great A-level scaling with Advance, as well as D level in Technique and Motivity. The Radiate art is just like the Salamander Dagger's Ignite, only for acid, and Single Stab is a more powerful forward lunge attack.
Two Dragons Sword
With a name like the Two Dragons Sword, who could resist at least trying this katana out? This boss weapon gives you all the flair and speed of a katana, but it unfortunately cannot be disassembled or modified. Still, with A scaling in Technique and D in Motivity, you won't be wanting for much with this blade. Your two skills are Link Emergency Dodge, which has you dodge forward and gives you the option to use a Fable slot to do two follow-up attacks, and Wind of Swords, which unleashes a torrent of swords in an area of effect.

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The best Wishstones in Lies of P
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Whether it is a FromSoftware game or a title from another developer, like Lies of P, each entry in the Soulslike genre adds a few new mechanics to stand out and bring a new flavor to the formula. On the surface, you might expect the whole Pinocchio thing to be enough for this game to stand out, but the team took things a few steps further. Aside from a unique take on the weapons system and lore, Lies of P has special items called Wishstones that can grant you powerful buffs. These stones can only be obtained by trading Golden Coin Fruits with a specific NPC, and are consumed upon use. To make sure you're able to maximize the benefits, here are the best Wishstones you should be using in Lies of P.
The best Wishstones in Lies of P

There are a total of 13 possible Wishstones to get, but not all are immediately available. If you see some you can't get quite yet, keep playing until you beat the Black Rabbit Brotherhood. Once that's done, all Wishstones will be available for sale.Here are thebest ones:
Recovery Wishstone
This is the first Wishstone you can get and is one you will probably want to keep at all times. The function here is simple: to passively restore your health for a short amount of time. Since Pulse Charges are so valuable, and you will run out very fast while exploring new areas or fighting bosses, this is a fantastic backup healing option. You do still need to play carefully, and time it right to make the most of it, but more healing is always needed in Lies of P.
Friendship Wishstone
While Lies of P doesn't allow for co-op like some other soulslike games, it does still have a summoning system where you can bring in NPCs to help you take down the cast of challenging bosses. These summons are called Specters, who will do their best to help, but they typically don't last all that long in a fight. If you're willing to use a Wishstone slot, the Friendship Wishstone can keep your loyal companion in the fight longer by giving them a bit of healing.
Courage Wishstone
Fable Arts are your more powerful, weapon-specific moves that consume a part of your Fable Bar to use. This makes it so you can't simply spam your most powerful attacks all the time, but sometimes you need that extra damage output to ekeout a victory. The Courage Wishstone makes that Fable Bar recharge much faster, allowing you to unleash those powerful moves more often.
Frenzy Wishstone
Back on the Specter side of things, these helpers are lacking when it comes to survivability, so you might as well make them pack a stronger punch to pull their weight before getting crushed. This Frenzy Wishstone fires them up to deal more damage. They won't be able to solo a boss for you or anything, but in a game like this, every single point of damage can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Provocation Wishstone
What if you're feeling a little more ... cruel toward your Specter? There's no shame in it since they're only there to serve you, after all. With the Provocation Wishstone, you can put all the aggro onto your Specter, giving you some breathing room to heal, restore some Fable Arts, or just catch your breath. It also gives them a little defense buff so you don't have to feel too bad about it.
Explosive Wishstone
You might feel a little worse about using the Explosive Wishstone, however. Once activated, any time your unsuspecting Specter gets hit, they will explode and deal a nice chunk of damage to anything caught in the blast. If you're unsatisfied with what Specters can do for you normally, why not just turn them into a bomb?
Advance Wishstone
This Wishstone is the equivalent to the Courage Wishstone, only instead of boosting to your Fable bar, this one will help restore your Legion meter. Your various Legion arms are perhaps your greatest tool in Lies of P outside of your standard weaponry, but there's also a material cost. Unlike Fable, Legion does not replenish itself over time naturally and only comes back when you reach a Stargazer or use another consumable. You can bypass this limitation to get a few extra uses out of it with the Advance Wishstone, which gives you a little chunk back free of charge. This is best for builds that utilize Legion Arms more often, so it won't be a top pick for everyone.

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