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Music Powered Play Games Rated ESRB EVERYONE and Younger

Music has been an important part of video games since specialised sound chips made composing and playing back music possible during the advent of 8-bit home computers in the 80s. This gave many games a unique sound, but it was how the music interacted with gameplay that was really interesting.

We worked on this list of games where music is integral to play with Andreas Zecher. He runs the amazing Polylists resource, a website for those working in games to share lists of recommended games under self-chosen topics. His list, here, features games where music goes further than just providing a great soundtrack. In these games, music is at the core of the player’s experience. Some putting players in a state of flow, and others reacting to the player's every action like an instrument being played.

The sensory experiences of Tetris Effect Connected or Thumper would not be possible without the music that they are based on. Everyday Shooter and Sayonara Wild Hearts let players interactively experience a lo-fi indie rock and frenzy pop music album respectively. Sound Shapes is a clever platformer that doubles as a 16-step sequencer, common in the creation of electronic dance music. These games spark curiosity in how music works as they explore rhythm, harmonies and the joy of performing and actively listening to music.

This list includes 23 games from the last 16 years, with 73 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to .

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 7
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE
Australian Ratings: G
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Traversal and World Building
Total Likes: 73
 

 

140

Release Date: 16/10/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One

140 is a sliding, rolling and jumping game where you control a changing geometric shape to traverse a minimalist world. It's challenging for the timed jumps and reactions but keeps distractions to a minimum with its abstract colorful graphics.

LocoRoco

Release Date: 23/06/2006

Platforms: PS Vita, PS4 and PSP

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

This creates a world of plants and creatures to investigate. The novelty, besides the character’s singing and cute aesthetic, is that you control the game with just two buttons, tilting and bumping your characters through each level.

Railbound

Release Date: 06/09/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Railbound is a track-bending puzzle game where you lay track, switch points and use tunnels to get the carriages to the engine in the right order. Although it's the puzzles that keep you playing, there's also a real joy in connecting tracks and seeing...

Cadence of Hyrule

Release Date: 13/06/2019

Platforms: Switch

Cadence of Hyrule is a Zelda infused version of a popular rhythm action indie game called Crypt of the NecroDancer. Like the original you go on an adventure viewed from above and progressed by moving, attacking and dodging in time with the music.

Miska

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Miska is a relaxing narrative adventure game about the flora and fauna of Australia. Rekindle your connection to family and nature through acts of restoration.

Rhythm Paradise

Release Date: 31/07/2008, updated in 2016

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GBA, Wii and Wii U

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Rhythm Heaven (also known as Rhythm Paradise, Rhythm World and Rhythm Tengoku) is a Japanese rhythm game where you perform everyday action in time with a musical beat.

Supertype

Release Date: 26/03/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Supertype is a puzzle game you play with letters, but isn't about making words. You use the peculiar shapes of these most familiar of symbols to cover one or more dots on the level. Each letter has different uses as you try and get them to land where...

Sound Shapes

Release Date: 07/08/2012, updated in 2013

Platforms: PS Vita, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Sound Shapes is simple rolling and jumping game where you make music by completing the levels. It features music from artists such as Beck and visual elements from other games and game makers. Originally on the Vita, it uses that systems touch screens...

Super Sports Beat

Release Date: 28/10/2015, updated in 2017

Platforms: Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Super Bear Sports is a sports rhythm game where you move your character in time with the music to swing, volley, and score points in different events.

Tetris Effect: Connected

Release Date: 09/11/2018, updated in 2021

Platforms: Oculus, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Tetris Effect is a tile-matching puzzle game (just like the original Tetris) but with a surprisingly powerful aesthetic twist. The game places each level in a themed area and ties gameplay to the beat of the music across its thirty different stages.

Bit Trip (Series)

Release Date: 28/04/2009, updated in 2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360 and iOS

Bit Trip (Bit.Trip) is a series of games with a focus on simple game-play, retro visuals and chip-tune music. The games range from pong to platforming but each one requires you to play in time to the music.

Conga Master

Release Date: 14/09/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Conga Master is an action dancing game about getting the most people to join your conga line. It's like the classic Nokia game Snake with an unusual dancing twist. Play involves using two buttons to steer left or right. You dance your way around a club,...

Melodyssey

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Melodyssey is a music puzzle game in a calm stress free exploration adventure. You play a young child journeying through a musical landscape looking for musical inspiration. It stands out for the pastel presentation, simple block moving thinky puzzles...

Onde

Release Date: 17/03/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Onde is an ethereal movement and exploration game where you dive into a fluid world full of sounds. As you move through the abstract landscapes they respond with notes and music. It's an unusual experience because the interactions invite you not only to...

Sonority

Release Date: 25/05/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Sonority is a fantasy adventure where you progress by solving musical puzzles. You help Esther explore a lost world to collect musical notes and playing arrangements next to blocks to unlock the way forward. What's clever is the connection between the...

The Lullaby of Life

Release Date: 24/07/2020

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

The Lullaby of Life is a rhythm puzzle game where you use music as the catalyst to trigger new lifeforms. You float around to explore a music-driven world. To progress through different areas you need to use the three notes you have on your creature,...

HarmoKnight

Release Date: 28/03/2013

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

HarmoKnight (Rhythm Hunter: HarmoKnight in Japan) is a rhythm based running, jumping and whacking game. You play a boy named Tempo who is fighting enemies with a musical note staff. You are joined by an archer named Lyra, a buff warrior named Tyko, and...

Ecstatic

Release Date: 14/06/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Ecstatic is a fast and hard retro shooting game where you control a mechanical Spider that freezes time and shoots rockets. You need to both keep moving and keep shooting to stay alive. It's like what are sometimes described as bullet-hell games,...

Everyday Shooter

Release Date: 14/02/2008

Platforms: PC, PS Vita and PS3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Everyday Shooter is a collection of shooting games presented as a music album. The shooting action is familiar but here the dissolute sounds of destruction are replaced with guitar riffs harmonizing over the soundtrack. The visuals join in the...

Oddada

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Oddada is a game where you make music with toys in a miniature blocky world. You set-up your little world and then take your train through different landscapes, machines and buildings to collect melodies and rhythms.

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is a musical adventure game where you restore the harmony of Moomin Valley from grotesque parks. It's the variety of play and the beloved characters that make this game a great experience for small (and not so small) kids.

Solas 128

Release Date: 25/01/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Solas 128 is a thinking puzzle game where you redirect rhythmic pulses of light to restart an ancient machine. You rotate and position mirrors to connect light sources and unlock further puzzles. The novelty, beyond the retro visuals and rhythm is that...

Wii Music

Release Date: 20/01/2008

Platforms: Wii

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Wii Music is a rhythm-music game where you use Wii Remote motion controller to play different instruments. Unlike other music games, here you collaborate on playing arrangements of existing songs. The result is a super-approachable music game that's...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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