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*Epilepsy warning: If you’re sensitive to flashing lights, skip this video!*

Playing video games at work? Why not! It’s time for pro drummers to put some well-known rhythm games to the test. Watch Jared and Dave play through titles like Rock Band, Beat Saber and more as they rank each one based on how fun they are, how useful they are for learning rhythms, how accessible they are, and if they put existing drumming skills to use.

You’ll find out which ones they love, and which ones just don’t make the grade.

Will Dave school Jared at these games? Will Jared trash talk Dave so much he explodes? Watch the video to find out!

Thumper

This game was once a popular PS3 title, and was later re-released on PS4 with the VR option. You control a ‘beetle’ that cruises through a course, reacting with the controller as the rhythm changes. If you don’t hit the right button at the right time, your beetle blows up.

A game built on sensory overload, Thumper offers over-the-top graphics and an intense musical experience. It’s relatively affordable at around $20 USD, but it’s likely not a game that helps you nail rhythms.

Jared’s Rating: 5/10
Dave’s Rating: 6.5/10

Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun!

A mini taiko simulator complete with plastic drum controller and plastic sticks, do you use your ears or eyes more in this game? You’re tasked with hitting the drum or rim when the circles get to the side of the screen. You need to play in time and on the right surface, either with one stick or two.

A game with colorful and entertaining (but distracting) graphics,
calibration is key and it might take some time to get used to where and when things line up. It’s more about sight reading than sticking, but it’s a great way to train yourself to play different rhythms along to music. Taiko no Tatsujin has a variety of difficulties so there’s something for everyone.

It’s a more expensive game (about $230 USD) and it’s available on Nintendo Switch.

Jared’s Rating: 8/10
Dave’s Rating: 7/10

Ring Fit Adventure

Ready to sweat? This Nintendo Switch rhythm game will give you a surprisingly good workout. Ring Fit Adventure comes a wheel – plus a controller you put on your leg – and gets your whole body moving. You might be standing, you might be squatting, you might move to the left or to the right. Most actions happen on the downbeat in easier levels.

In the challenge featured in this video, the idea is to match the wheel to the incoming ring shapes, which means moving the wheel around, turning it right and left, and squeezing it horizontally or vertically as it follows the beat. It might take a few tries to get the hang of it, but it’s fun! This game will set you back around $80 USD.

Jared’s Rating: 7/10
Dave’s Rating: 6/10

Rock Band

Out of all the games reviewed in this video, this is the only one where you play with actual drumsticks. Rock Band is a now classic game that’s been extremely popular for over a decade. If you aren’t familiar with it, you need to hit the right color of drum pad when the moving rectangles get to you (or stomp the pedal when the moving line gets to you).

This game teaches you song form, bass drum patterns, hand/foot coordination, and sight reading, and some drummers have said that learning to drum was easier because they were able to transfer to the kit many of the skills they gained from playing Rock Band. However, if you’re already an intermediate or advanced drummer and know the songs in the game, it may be trickier because you need to play the right pad at the right time or you’ll lose points.

It’ll cost a few hundred bucks if you buy it new, but it’s a fun and worthwhile investment.

Jared’s Rating: 7/10
Dave’s Rating: 7.5/10

Beat Saber

This VR game (typically played on the Playstation VR headset or with an Oculus) involves ‘slicing’ red and blue blocks with your lightsaber-esque controllers. While the blocks come quickly toward you, you also need to duck or dodge ‘walls’ and other obstacles that might get in your way.

We can’t stress this enough: make sure you have enough space to play this game so you don’t take out a real wall or a friend. Seriously.

This futuristic game is easier than it looks at the lower levels, and every motion you’re doing is in time – from 8th notes to 16th notes and triplets, the music is great and you’ll get a light workout too.

Without a VR setup, you’re looking at $400+ USD. If you already have the VR at home, the game itself is about $30-40 USD.

Jared’s Rating: 8/10
Dave’s Rating: 9.5/10

Final consensus

If you want to improve your rhythm, get Taiko no Tatsukin (Jared’s favorite). It focuses on combinations (like groups of 4 and 5), and gets you moving your hands to different parts of the drum.

For a balance of fun, rhythm, and exercise in one game, get Beat Saber (Dave’s favorite).

And if you want a good cardio workout, get Ring Fit Adventure.

The fact that developers are gamifying music and music education is promising – it means that there are likely even more creative approaches to rhythm yet to come.

Do you play any rhythmic games? Which do you like, and which haven’t you tried yet? What games should Jared and Dave try next?


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