Without me telling you this, we all know there is a bunch of Japanese music that goes undiscovered regardless of how exceptional the music may be. So I came up with the idea of sharing my favorite rhythm games to hopefully allow you to discover great music in an entertaining way. These games offer a big variety of Japanese music you most likely wouldn’t otherwise have come by, so definitely give them a try!
Starting off with the number one pick, since this game definitely deserves your rhythmic attention! Cytus II offers an exciting gameplay, and in my opinion, the best graphical interface any rhythm game has to offer on mobile. Unlike traditional rhythm games, the judgment line is constantly scanning up and down, the player will then have to hit the appearing notes at the moment the line passes—the notes may also appear at any spot on the screen. As difficult as it may sound, this is the charm of the game as it keeps it incredibly lively and fun!
One of the many features contributing to Cytus II being a top seller in 100 regions is the story development and its elegant artwork. Currently, there are 12 main characters in the story; each character can be viewed as a song-pack (that includes ~15 songs). As you play through their songs, you’ll reveal more of the story from the perspective of each individual character. As of version 2.3.9 (released May 31, 2019), Hatsune Miku has even been added as a character with an original story.
The game includes a total of 194 excellent songs (and counting) in various genres; pop, electronic, hardcore, metal, symphonic, rock, and jazz. About 40 songs are available out of the box, the rest can be purchased for a fair price, typically what an album cost, $1 per song. The entry price for Cytus II is free on iOS, but $2 on Android.
Alternatives to Cytus II
Arcaea preserves a standard five lane layout at the bottom in addition to a unique upper “sky input” zone! The notes appearing in the sky input zone are referred to as “sky notes” and “arc notes”. Fundamentally, sky notes are the same as regular notes, you just hit them to score. However, with arc notes, you will have to tap and hold and follow its shape. The arc itself can take various shapes and even twist at times, making the entire game much more dynamic and entertaining.
Currently, there are about 120 songs (and counting) available in Arcaea, with the majority of the songs being a symphonic electronic combination. Pricing of the song packs is reasonably priced, like Cytus II, it sits around $1 per song.
A super elegant and refined game following the orthodox layout of vertical rhythm games where notes rain down. Well, except that all these freaking judgment lanes are shuffled around as you play, increasing both the difficulty and enjoyment! The game is very straightforward and easy to learn—but like with every rhythm game—hard to master. To play VOEZ, you will need a constant internet connection, so keep that in mind.
Out of our three top selection, this game has the biggest song library, reaching around 200 songs (and counting) to pick from! A handful of them being served as free songs to play, and within this selection, there is a category of time-limited songs that updates every week. Pricing remains around $1 per song here as well, just like our other two top picks.