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Music Powered Play on PC

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 11 games from the last 19 years, with 16 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 12
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB TEEN
Australian Ratings: G to M
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Physically Active, Platform, Puzzle, Racing, Rhythm, Shooting and Simulation
Total Likes: 16
 

 

Joust Mania

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/06/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Fighting and Physically Active

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Ad Angert (@AdAngert)

Players: You can play with 16 players in the same room

This movement-sensitive game of tag is played in the real world, holding PlayStation Move motion controllers. First appearing as one of the games in the Sportsfriends pack, and then evolving as Joust Mania with more modes and up to 16 players, it’s an...

Thumper

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 10/10/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Fighting and Rhythm

Developer: Marc A Flury (@MarcAFlury)

Players: This is a single player game

Thumper is a rhythm game where you guide a beetle-like creature through music track by pressing buttons in time. Unlike other music games, the focus is on impact and combat rather than soaring tunes. It's described by the developer as a rhythm-violence...

Heartbeat: Regret

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 23/08/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure, Puzzle and Rhythm

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: My True Sound (@MyTrueSound)

Players: This is a single player game

Heartbeat: Regret is a horror rhythm-typing game. It's a tough game where you are hunted in a mansion by a dark monster. Unusually, you need to press buttons in time with the audible heart beat to move around and then type directions to take specific...

Rez Infinite (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 11/01/2002, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Oculus, PC, PS2, PS4 and Xbox 360

Genres: Physically Active, Rhythm and Shooting

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Mizuguchitter (@Mizuguchitter)

Players: This is a single player game

Rez is a shooting game where you fire musical energy rather than bullets. As you guide a figure through the darkness of space you bring down enemies in time with the music. Rez is novel for its use of music and vibration feedback to create a sense of...

Bit Trip

Content Rating: PEGI 3

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

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

Genres: Action, Platform and Shooting

Developer: Totally Choice (@TotallyChoice)

Players: This is a single player game

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

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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

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

Genres: Action, Puzzle and Racing

Developer: Undercoders (@Undercoders)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room

Conga Master is a 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,...

Tetris Effect: Connected

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7-16 year-olds

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

Platforms: Oculus, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Puzzle and Rhythm

Developer: Mizuguchitter (@Mizuguchitter)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

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.

140

Content Rating: PEGI 3

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

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

Genres: Platform and Rhythm

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Carlsen Games (@CarlsenGames)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Aaero

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 11/04/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Rhythm and Shooting

Accessibility: 10 features

Developer: Mad Fellows Games (@MadFellowsGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Aaero is a rhythm game where you control a spacecraft with on stick and target with the other. At times it's like flying an X-Wing on a trench run while at others it's like soaring high and free targetting enemies in a Starfox game. It's an on-rails...

Everyday Shooter

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10-13 year-olds

Release Date: 14/02/2008

Platforms: PC, PS Vita and PS3

Genres: Action and Shooting

Developer: Mango Lychee (@Mango_Lychee)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Just Shapes & Beats

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/06/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia and Switch

Genres: Action, Rhythm and Simulation

Accessibility: 25 features

Developer: Shapes N Beats (@ShapesNBeats)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

Just Shapes & Beats is a two player rhythm game where you dodge bullets in time with the music. As well as this unusual premise, play extends the novelty as you have to both avoid the various shapes and move to the Beats. It’s a new spin on the shoot...

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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