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 exciting gameplay, and in my opinion, the best graphical interface any rhythm game has to offer on mobile. Unlike traditional rhythm games, the notes may appear at any spot on the screen while the judgment line scans up and down. 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 more than 20 main characters in the story; each character can be viewed as a song-pack that includes about 15 songs. As you play through their songs, you’ll reveal more of the story from the perspective of each character. You can even find the inclusion of Hatsune Miku and virtual YouTube singers such as Kizuna AI, and Kaf.
The unique feature about Cytus II—in comparison to any other top picks—is that it can be played offline, making this a great travel companion!
Cytus II includes about 200 excellent songs 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 costs, $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 200 songs available in Arcaea with more songs added continuously, the majority of the songs take on a symphonic electronic theme. The song packs are reasonably priced, like Cytus II, it sits around $1 per song.
Alternatives to Arcaea
“HATSUNE MIKU: COLORFUL STAGE!” provides an arsenal of splendid songs from the Vocaloid, niconico, and anime scene, but also trendy pop and rock songs. At first glance, the gameplay might look like your typical traditional rhythm game, although, the charts (level designs) are typically very creatively built as each note can vary in size on the horizontal length. Sometimes we see rather unusual and interesting charts because of this.
Perhaps the best part of it all is that you can unlock all of the songs without spending a penny. As long as you don’t care about the gacha (loot box) aspect of the game, it’s completely free to play.
On top of the gameplay itself, there are weekly events that progress the story. The stories are voiced and told through animated characters using Live2D which allows for an immersive experience. More fun can be found through the scheduled virtual live shows that people all over the world can attend. These shows are performed by the characters in the story alongside impressive choreography.
Alternatives to HATSUNE MIKU: COLORFUL STAGE!