Best rhythm games on the Nintendo DS
If there is any genre of games that I love with a passion, it is definitely rhythm games. There is something strangely exhilarating about tapping with the beat or “playing along” with a great track – I am a real junkie for this kind of stuff, which is why I decided to compile a list of the best rhythm games available on the Nintendo DS as of writing. The DS is infamous for getting a lot of shovelware games, and the rhythm section is no exception. There are some really horrible attempts to profit off of the Guitar Hero and DDR franchises. But let’s not focus on that – let us instead focus on some of the best handheld rhythm games today.
Ontamarama is a Rhythm game by Japanese game developer Atlus and interestingly the only game on the list that is available in English! The gameplay revolves around tapping spirits called “Ontoma” with your stylus to fill up notes and then press the corresponding button on your D-pad in time with a rolling track. Even though this game is clearly marketed for children it’s very demanding and requires some serious multi-tasking. The game flopped on the american market with only around 30,000 copies sold, which is a shame because the game is really fun. Gameplay video below!
#3: Taiko no Tatsujin DS and Meccha! Taiko no Tatsujin DS
I guess you could call Taiko no Tatsujin a “drum simulator” for the DS. By controlling a taiko drum with one or two special styluses on the bottom screen of the DS you can drum your way through a wide array of music. The makers of the game have really tried to get every musical genre in there, with everything from classical pieces to country. The concept works fairly well, but to be frank the game does get very easy after a while, with only two different “moves” even the hardest pieces become fairly simple. Gameplay video below!
#2: Rhythm Tengoku Gold (a.k.a. Rhythm heaven Gold)
Rhythm Tengoku Gold is the second game in the Rhythm Tengoku installment (the first one being for the GBA) and is a rhythm game from the makers of Wario Ware and features a wide collection of rhythm-based mini games where you tap, slide and flick your way through all kinds of interesting and often slightly bizarre scenarios. It has a wide following in Japan with over one million cartridges sold, and is relatively import-friendly. Some of the mini games can be quite a pickle to understand the first time around, but the game lets you practice until you get the hang of it before you are playing “the real deal”. Enjoy the commercial/gameplay video below.
#1: Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2
If you are a rhythm game buff or an avid importer you probably saw this one coming, it’s the rhythm game that was so popular it spawned a western counterpart, Elite Beat Agents – which you may include into this ranking if you liked the song selection and style changes that they made. The game mechanics were unique at the time of the release of Ouendan and the usage of the touch screen still impresses today. The gist of the story is that you are the Ouendan, a team of cheerleaders whose mission is to help people in distress by cheering for them. The game is extremely import-friendly and you’re guided through each story by colorful images on your quest to help all of the lovable characters. Gameplay sample is to be found below.
Honorable mention #1: Jam Sessions
While not a rhythm game in its true form, Jam Sessions turns your DS into a portable guitar and allows you to easily come up with beautiful chord progressions whether you’re on the bus or in your own bed. Besides, the commercials for the game were awfully raunchy (and that’s always a plus, right?) Just take a look at the one below.
Much better than the G-rated stuff they put out afterwards…
…and a “gameplay” video to finish it off…
Honorable mention #2: Korg DS-10
Music creation on handhelds has always been confined to the kind of boring “block”-type games that just let you match up predefined sounds and drums the way you wanted them. Let’s just say it allchanged with the Korg DS-10.