5 rhythm games to play on your phone while social distancing

If you've been missing Guitar Hero, this is what you need.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
3 min read

You can also play Sayonara Wild Hearts with an Apple TV remote. 

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Remember that feeling of accomplishment when you nailed a riff on Guitar Hero back in the day, or a combination of moves on Dance Dance Revolution? Music and rhythm games can be immersive, tactical experiences -- and a great way to stay occupied at home during coronavirus lockdowns, quarantines and shelter-in-place orders

If you're a fan of rhythm-based games or just games with a killer soundtrack, check out these five apps, most of which are available on both iOS and Android.

Sayonara Wild Hearts


Sayonara Wild Hearts, named Apple Arcade's Game of the Year, is an electric new take on the endless arcade runner. You play a woman who's had her heart broken with such force that it rattles the balance of the universe. Every level gets more challenging as you face lasers, motorcycle battles and the woman's "other self" -- The Fool. All the events are set to soaring, upbeat J-Pop-style electronica. To play, you'll need to subscribe to Apple Arcade for $4.99 a month, but you can try out Sayonara Wild Hearts and more than 110 other mobile games in a month-long free trial. 

It's also on Nintendo Switch for $18, on Xbox One for $13, on PC at Steam for $13 and on PS4 for $13.


Google Play Store

Eloh is a visually beautiful musical puzzle game for Android and iOS that teases your brain without stressing you out. Each level features island spirits that you can move. Once you get them into the right spot, tap the red speaker and music will start. The goal is to bounce the "sound waves" off the spirits and hit the spiral icon. It's kind of like banking a shot in billiards. 

The levels get progressively more challenging, but there's no timer, ads or in-app purchases. The only downside is the app costs a one-time $2.99 to download.

Parade! The Rhythm Battle 

Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Parade! The Rhythm Battle is a surprisingly challenging free game for iOS and Android where you must mimic rhythms and collect animals to join your parade. You start with basic rhythms, which you can repeat by swiping on your device. You can also collect coins along the way as more animals follow you. When I tested the app, I had a small fleet of cats, Shiba Inu dogs and a couple of penguins. The more rhythms you master, the more animals will join you -- gators, elephants and lions, oh my! 

Read more: 15 video games that are fun (and secretly educational) for your kids to play

Thumper: Pocket Edition 

Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

If you like Super Impossible Road on Apple Arcade, you might like Thumper: Pocket Edition for iOS and Android. The endless runner's psychedelic style is reminiscent of the old-school visualizations in Windows Media Player. You play as a space beetle racing through nine levels of gameplay and battling a giant mechanical head. You can download Thumper: Pocket Edition for $4.99. 

Tiles Hop: EDM Rush

Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

If Guitar Hero is a bit out of date for you, but you're not keen on investing in Beat Saber, you might check out Tiles Hop: EDM Rush for iOS or Android. Use the touch and drag controls to make a ball jump from tile to tile. Each run is accompanied by a song, and if you master the rhythm, you have a better shot at completing the level. The app is free to use with an optional VIP access subscription of $8 a week. Otherwise, you can just watch video ads between runs. 

Watch this: How Ring Fit Adventure rhythm dance game is the workout I need

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