Rhythm games provide one of the most compelling experiences in VR, combining exercise, timing, music, and fun. I’ve tried all of the popular VR rhythm games and picked 12 of my favorites to cover in this article. Whether you’re looking for great tunes, competitive play, a high-tempo workout, or particular game mechanics, I’m sure I can help you find your perfect VR rhythm game.
The best VR rhythm games are Beat Saber, Synth Riders, Pistol Whip, Ragnarock, and Smash Drums. Audica is the best option for fans of hardcore rhythm games, whilst PowerBeatsVR provides the most intense workout in a VR rhythm game.
Whilst there are many more VR rhythm games out there than I have included on this list, I’ve only included games that I feel are worth playing. I’ve put in hundreds of hours playing all of the games on this list to help you decide which of them is the best option for you.
Beat Saber is undoubtedly the most popular VR rhythm game, and I’m sure most people are familiar with it already. If you only want to get one VR rhythm game, it’s hard to go wrong with Beat Saber. With loads of great music, fantastic gameplay, custom songs, an active modding community, and a great competitive scene, Beat Saber has something for everyone.
In Beat Saber, you use your two controllers as lightsabers to cut through blocks in time to music as they come toward you. Things start off easy, but there are multiple difficulty levels and modifiers to provide as much of a challenge as you like.
In addition to it being loads of fun, you can also get some serious exercise done in Beat Saber, and you will definitely work up a sweat as you try to perfect the more challenging tracks.
Where Beat Saber really shines is through the intuitive gameplay that works flawlessly. It’s the classic easy to learn, difficult to master game. Any time I think I’m getting good, I just have to go watch some videos of the best players in the world, and I’m instantly humbled by the insane skills on show.
Beat Saber is available for SteamVR, Oculus/Meta, and PSVR headsets.
- Most popular VR rhythm game
- Flawless gameplay
- Active modding community
- Great competitive scene
Pistol Whip is a really clever mix of FPS and rhythm game, that has you shooting enemies and dodging bullets in time to some pumping beats. Pistol Whip is like an on-rails shooter, where you have to physically move your body to dodge enemy shots and take down enemies as quickly as possible after they appear.
You get a really good workout from all the dodging, and my legs usually feel like jelly after a good session in Pistol Whip. It’s a really intuitive game to pick up and play, and anyone will get the hang of it in a matter of minutes. The graphics are really simple and stylized, and although they didn’t immediately appeal to me, I soon found myself loving the aesthetics of this game.
Pistol Whip has a reasonable range of songs that are really well choreographed to the action on screen, and plenty of modifiers for the levels that give it a ton of replayability. It requires quick reflexes and intense focus to make it through the levels, and one lapse of concentration can spell disaster. This is a game I keep coming back to, and the quality and fun shine through every time.
Pistol Whip is available for Steam VR, Meta, and PSVR headsets.
- Unique gameplay
- Excellent workout
- A mix of shooter/rhythm game
Synth Riders is a rhythm/dance game that will get you moving and breaking a sweat as you move your hands and body to hit orbs and ride rails in time to some great beats. It’s one of the more popular VR rhythm games with a very healthy player base and community.
The goal in Synth Riders is to hit incoming orbs and rails with color-matched hands in time to the music. Not only do you have to hit the orbs, but you need to get as close to the center of them as possible to score the most points.
The gameplay is really satisfying and movements are responsive. Hand movements as you dance and move in the game feel really good and the orbs and rails are well laid out in time to the music, making it feel like you are dancing your way through the tracks, rather than simply playing a rhythm game.
The learning curve is a little steeper than Beat Saber, and it took me a while to get into a rhythm and consistently score well. Once I got the hang of it, I found the gameplay to be every bit as satisfying as the best VR rhythm games.
There are plenty of environments to play in, all with a retro sci-fi aesthetic and 55 free licensed tracks that come with the game, along with at least 30 paid DLC songs. You can also download user-generated tracks to significantly increase the number of tracks and songs to play.
There are several game modes, including;
- Rhythm Mode – Hit orbs, ride rails and avoid obstacles to get the most points.
- Force Mode – Similar to rhythm mode but you have to punch the orbs to get the maximum score.
- Spiral Mode – Lean your body to follow the line of play around a spiral-shaped track.
Synth Riders can be a really good workout, particularly once you move on to the more intense tracks, and there is a built-in calorie tracker, so you can monitor your exercise as your play.
With tons of songs, environments, game modes, modifiers, and satisfying gameplay that encourages you to constantly improve, Synth Riders is a game I keep coming back to and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
Synth Riders is available for Steam VR, Meta, and PSVR headsets.
- Satisfying and responsive gameplay
- Steeper learning curve than some games
- Healthy player base
Ragnarock is pitched as a VR Viking rhythm race that has you commanding Viking ships as you pound drums in time to music to make your ship go faster. The music is very much focused on the metal and rock genres, so this is a perfect game if you prefer this type of music. There is also the option to make custom songs, so there aren’t technically any limits to the range of music that you can enjoy in Ragnarock.
The environments and graphics of Ragnarock have a great style to help immerse you in the Viking world. I became completely absorbed in the task of drumming to the music and hitting the targets on time.
Things start off easy in Ragnarock, and the base gameplay feels a bit like rock-band in the way the targets approach you and must be hit on time. The difficulty settings can be ramped way up, making it a very difficult game to master.
You can play solo and multiplayer modes, with all of the features that you expect from a good VR rhythm game. The multiplayer is brilliant fun due to it feeling like a race against other Viking boats, which brings out my competitive spirit.
Ragnarock was launched considerably later than some of the most popular VR rhythm games, but it has quickly grown in popularity. This is definitely one of the top choices if you are looking for a good VR rhythm game, and I would be inclined to base your choice on whether the graphics and gameplay appeal to you more or less than the other popular contenders.
Ragnarock is available for Steam VR and Meta/Oculus headsets.
- Tons of fun and character
- Strong rock/metal focus
- Mainly drumming
Smash Drums is a major contender for the best VR rhythm game and it is a total blast to play. It has you using your controllers to play a virtual drum kit in time to music, and whilst the premise of this game is simple, there is plenty of complexity.
I love the easy to learn, difficult to master mechanics of Smash Drums, with timing, aim, and intensity of drumming all contributing to a good score. It comes with 36 great songs, 8 environments to play in, and co-op, and versus multiplayer.
There are live global leaderboards that update in real-time as you play each track, giving you powerful feedback, and making it so hard to resist playing one more song to try and beat your high score.
There are four difficulty settings (easy, normal, hard, extreme), and each of these can also be played with modifiers, giving you loads of different ways to play. The game also incentivizes you to play, with tons of tracks, skins, and achievements that can be unlocked by collecting points called “rock stars”.
Smash Drums is exclusive to Oculus/Meta headsets, but I would totally recommend it as one of the new contenders for best VR rhythm game.
- Excellent gameplay
- High skill ceiling
- Meta/Oculus exclusive
- Live leaderboards are fantastic
OhShape is a whole-body fitness and rhythm game that is great for getting active. The basic premise is that you must move your body to fit through holes in a series of walls that come toward you. There are also walls that you must punch through, obstacles to dodge, as well as yellow orbs that you must touch.
The game does a great job of mimicking your entire body position using just your headset and controller positions, and the gameplay was satisfying and fun. The walls are slightly transparent, so you can see what obstacles are coming next, and you can see a shadow of your body position on the upcoming obstacle, providing feedback on whether you are in the right position.
The game starts off fairly easy, and the movements are quite intuitive, only requiring a few minutes to learn the basics. As things get more intense, and obstacles come at you more quickly, I found it very difficult to react in time. This is a game where you will need to learn the tracks to know what is coming next at higher difficulty levels.
You also need to be quite precise with your movements to successfully get through obstacles, and this did make me feel a bit frustrated at times.
There is a level editor that you can download, to create fully customized levels, although there is a bit of a learning curve to get up to speed with building levels.
OhShape has quite innovative and unique gameplay in the VR rhythm game genre, and it is a well-polished and fun game. I’d struggle to recommend it over games such as Beat saber and Synth Riders, but it is still plenty of fun and a very good option.
OhShape is available for Steam VR, Meta, and PSVR headsets.
- Unique gameplay mechanics
- Good workout
- Not quite as good as some other options.
Audica was developed by Harmonix, the same company that developed Guitar Hero and Rock Band, so I had high hopes for a premium VR rhythm game, and thankfully, I haven’t been disappointed.
Audica has you wielding a pair of rhythm blasters to help you shoot and smash targets in time to a great selection of licensed music. It has a high skill ceiling, requiring you to learn new skills and deal with more and more targets as the difficulty increases.
It took me a while to understand and get to grips with the basic game mechanics, but once I did, it felt so satisfying to play and improve my skills over time.
Audica is more suited to the competitive, hardcore rhythm game player, and is quite a step up from the more casual feel of some other, more popular VR rhythm games.
It doesn’t require as much physical movement to play, and you won’t get as much exercise playing this as some other VR rhythm games, but in terms of skill requirements, there is nothing more demanding in the genre.
Whilst there is only a fairly limited selection of licensed songs, there is a small but dedicated modding community that has produced countless custom songs and levels for you to enjoy, so you are unlikely to run out of content any time soon.
Audica is normally priced higher than most other VR rhythm games, and I don’t feel it is worth the premium price, unless you are sure you are going to love a hardcore VR rhythm game experience. If you can get this on sale, it is a great option.
Audica is available for Steam VR, Meta, and PSVR headsets.
- High skill ceiling
- Great for hardcore rhythm game enthusiasts
- Less physically active
- Often more expensive than other VR rhythm games
Dance Central originated as a launch game for the Xbox Kinect but returns now as an Oculus exclusive, story-based VR dance game. Dance Central is set in a dance club and the main gameplay is taking part in dance-offs with other characters in the game. There is a story mode, where you can meet and interact with other characters, building up your reputation with them over time by inviting them to dance.
VR is a great medium for this type of dance experience, and the headset and controller movements translate really well to the dance moves you have to do. Everything is well polished and intuitive.
Dance Central leans more toward fun and entertainment, rather than being a competitive VR rhythm game, so if this is what you are looking for, it is an excellent option.
Dance Central is exclusive to Oculus/Meta headsets.
- Dancing is great fun
- Unique gameplay
- Oculus/Meta exclusive
X-Fitness is a rhythm-based VR fitness game that mixes a combination of boxing, slashing, squatting, lunging, dodging, and shielding to create a good mix of a VR rhythm game and full-body workout.
X-Fitness combines a number of mechanics that are present in other VR rhythm games, such as swiping (Beat Saber), deflecting (AudioShield), and punching (BoxVR), and focuses on providing a great fitness experience.
X-Fitness delivers a fun experience in terms of gameplay and visuals, but I did find that the intensity of the workouts was lower than I would ideally like for a fitness game.
The accuracy of the controls was generally pretty good, but I did find that the slashing movements could sometimes be slightly off-beat, and hit detection for boxing was occasionally a little patchy. These were generally only minor issues and didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the game.
You can add your own music to the game and the track generation and variety is excellent and customizable to your own preferences, nothing beats exercising to your own favorite music.
Overall, I was reasonably impressed by X-Fitness and it is a good option for anyone looking for a VR rhythm game with a greater focus on getting a good workout. It’s not the best VR rhythm game on this list, and some of the other options can provide a more intense workout, so it wouldn’t be my first choice.
X-Fitness is available for SteamVR compatible headsets.
- Good combination of gameplay mechanics
- Workout intensity is not particularly high for a fitness game
- Hit detection caused some isues.
- Only available for SteamVR compatible headsets.
PowerBeatsVR is another VR rhythm and fitness game combined. You use a combination of punching, dodging, and squatting to hit a variety of boulders and dodge obstacles. There are a good variety of songs from different genres, but you can also import your own songs into the game and create custom workouts. I was very pleased with how well this worked, and the intensity of the workout could be changed by adjusting a few simple settings.
I loved that the scoring system isn’t just based on how accurate you are, but also on how hard you hit the boulders as they fly towards you. This increases the intensity of the workout considerably and turns it into a boxing match.
The usual selection of fitness game features are included, such as calorie tracking and heart rate monitoring.
PowerBeatsVR feels polished and user-friendly, and it is reasonably priced. It’s also the game on this list that gave me the best workout overall, so I’ve no trouble recommending this one if you’re looking for a game with a higher intensity.
PowerBeatsVR is available for Steam VR and Meta headsets.
- The most intense workout of all VR rhythm games
- Great scoring system encourages you to work hard
- Good custom song support
BoomBox is a fantastic VR rhythm game that combines drumming, exercise, and plenty of fun, in a really well-made game. The mechanics feel fairly similar to Beat Saber, but your controllers are virtual drumsticks that you use to hit pink and green drums in time to the music, as they come towards you while dodging & ducking floating barriers.
There is a good selection of songs in the game, 20 environments to play in, and there is a level editor downloadable from the developer’s website.
BoomBox has a wonderful lobby environment where you can practice some freestyle drumming, or pet Pupa the cat, who is an ever-present feature in the game. It’s hard not to like this game, and the passion of the developers to build something with real character comes through.
The overall package isn’t quite as good as Beat Saber or Smash Drums, but I’m confident that most people will have hours of fun with this one.
BoomBox is available for Steam VR and Meta headsets.
- Tons of character
- Great gameplay mechanics
- Not quite as good as some other options.
If you’re looking for a good VR rhythm game on a budget, Rhythm Defender is a good option. Rhythm Defender has you punching UFOs as they come towards you in time to music. It comes with 10 songs, but you can import and play along to any custom songs with ease, which significantly increases the options for this VR rhythm game.
Whilst I had plenty of fun trying Rhythm Defender, it is not up to the standard of more premium options such as Beat Saber, Audica, Ragnarock, and Synth Riders. I got a great workout and had plenty of fun for a few hours, but it’s hard to recommend this when there are plenty of better options.
The good news is that Rhythm Defender is normally for sale for $5, and there is plenty of fun to be had here, so it does provide value for money. However, if you want a more premium VR rhythm game that you’ll be playing for months, if not years, look elsewhere.
Rhythm Defender is available for SteamVR compatible headsets.
- Great value
- Fairly basic
- Only available for SteamVR compatible headsets
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