10 Best Rhythm Games Contained Within Other Games

A longstanding tradition in games is to insert smaller, divergent experiences to liven things up. These mini-games help to break up the flow of the game, giving the player a brief reprieve. One interesting development in recent years is the frequency of rhythm games that have been materializing as mini-games.

From the oh-so-popular karaoke-style games popping up in open-world titles to the host of Guitar Hero homages that have been featured in a number of titles over the last few decades, there are actually quite a few of these mini-games embedded in the titles we love. We are here to celebrate the very best of them in all the forms they have taken.

10 Super Mario Party, Strike It Rich

Mario Party is basically nothing but mini-games. Well, at least when it comes to the "game" part. However, when you think about it, a reasonable amount of those games involve an element of rhythm. It is almost like the Mario Party series is secretly half rhythm game.

One of the best parts of these games is how short and sweet they are. One of our favorites from Super Mario Party is Strike It Rich. Here you just have to jump and hit blocks to the sound of the music. Like everything else in the series, it is super, super simple. However, when everyone is nailing every note it starts to feel genuinely collaborative, despite being inherently competitive. Which feels oddly poetic.

9 Zack & Wiki, Bonelich's Mini-Game

Zack & Wiki is a legendary Wii adventure game known for its excellent implementation of the Wiimote. This is a game that really utilizes the controller to its utmost and provides a vast array of unique experiences. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that one of them would be a rhythm-focused mini-game.

Here you have to shake the Wiimote in time with the bells. The best part about this mode is that the music is all taken from classic Capcom titles. The only downside is that Zack & Wiki was released before the Wii MotionPlus was a thing, which means that it can be a tad frustrating if you are looking to get those high scores.

8 Ring Fit Adventure, Rhythm Game Mode

One of the best things that VR has brought to the table is a ton of excellent rhythm-based games that are great for exercise. But not everyone has a VR headset. You could, of course, drag out your old DDR mat, or maybe even your Wii-Fit Balance Board, but wouldn't it be nice to have something on one of the more modern consoles that can do the same thing for you?

Well, you're in luck; Ring Fit Adventure has you covered. Included with this impressively long RPG is a rhythm-based mini-game. It is pretty simple, but it still provides a great little workout. And more importantly, it is a lot of fun.

7 Ephemeral Fantasia, Guitar Mini-Game

Hey, remember that PS2 RPG that featured a time-loop scenario and a hero who used a guitar as a sheath for his sword? No? Well, that's a shame, because Ephemeral Fantasia is fascinating. And as you may have guessed, that guitar sheath isn't just for show.

Yes, this is a medieval RPG that features a tough-as-nails guitar mini-game. Since this is a Konami title, they obviously have a history with the rhythm genre, which explains why this mini-game is so very solid. Ephemeral Fantasia isn't an RPG without issues, but its eccentricities are enough to justify a playthrough.

6 Kirby Triple Deluxe, Dedede's Drum Dash

Part platformer, part rhythm game, Dedede's Drum Dash is one of the interesting mini-games that makes Kirby Triple Deluxe the alluring package that it is. The controls play a key role in differentiating Dedede's Drum Dash from other rhythm games. You aren't just on track, always progressing to the right (as is typical for the genre). Instead, you can move between drums freely.

You are also required to dodge enemies, sometimes threading the needle between multiple foes as you bounce from drum to drum. It is a very neat addition to a great little Kirby game. And hey, if you get enough of a kick out of it, you can purchase the spin-off title that extends the experience.

5 Lost Judgement, Dance Club

The Judgement series of games is an off-shoot of the Yakuza series. So, it is only appropriate that it have its own rhythm game, seeing as that is such a time-honored tradition for the series. Lost Judgement's Dance Club substory is a fantastic time. Not only does it have a charming narrative associated with it, but there is a fair amount of variety and visual flair.

Mechanically, this is very similar to the classic DDR format of rhythm game. There is the ability to freestyle, but that seems lifted directly from something like Rockband. Still, it is all very competently done. And what it does better than more is nail the visual flair.

4 Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Risette: Live On Stage

If you are looking for novelty in your rhythm-based mini-games, then look no further. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is a fighting game that features a colorful cast of characters with a number of pretty novel gameplay mechanics tethered to them. Rise is a professional singer, and her combat style reflects this.

When you land Rise's super attack, (named Risette: Live on Stage) she will enter into a rhythm game. Your opponent just has to watch and pray that you drop notes. If you hit all of them, she will do massive damage. And it isn't just one song, either! There are different versions of the super depending on which button you use to activate it: each version plays a completely different song!

3 Night In The Woods, Band Practice

Here we have the classic Guitar Hero setup. Night In The Woods distinguishes itself by having minor narrative elements be tethered to the band sections of the game. It also does a great job mimicking that grungier, unpolished sound that you would expect from an amateur act.

That being said, while the aesthetic and narrative connective tissue makes this an extremely compelling rhythm game, it is going to be the bane of your existence if you are looking to grab the trophy for perfectly playing a song because this mini-game doesn't go easy on the player.

2 Yakuza Zero, Disco Dancing

When you hear "rhythm game" and "Yakuza" together, your first thought may be the excellent karaoke game that has been a long-standing series staple. And that mini-game is a ton of fun. However, the disco mini-game found in Yakuza Zero is simply on another level. In a series that is lined with some of the best mini-games in the entire medium, the Disco mini-game may just be the best of the bunch.

Here the obstacle is to make it from tile to tile on a grid. Make sure to be on the correct time by the time it lights up. This is super simple stuff. However, there is a flourish. You get more points when you take a more circuitous route. This means that there isn't just a timing element to this game, but a push-your-luck element. It is simple, but this aspect absolutely makes the game. It is feverishly addictive.

1 The Last Of Us Part 2, Guitar Simulator

Most games that include a rhythm-based mini-game tend to follow a pretty familiar formula. They tend to fall back on a classic DDR-esque style experience. That isn't true for The Last Of Us Part 2. Instead, the rhythm game here essentially acts as a guitar simulator. A knowledgeable enough guitar player will be able to play a variety of songs in The Last of Us Part 2.

It is incredibly impressive. This degree of detail should almost just not exist in video games. It is an absurd achievement, but it is also the type of flourish that will keep people talking about this game for generations. The way it is (devastatingly) incorporated into the story is just the cherry on top.

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