Games provide a great distraction from the boring hours of everyday life. Add music to the equation and you have whole days’ worth of time wasted! From a puzzle musical game like Cadence to cute role-playing games (RPGs) like Adia: Playlist Music Game, these musical games are entertaining, challenging, light-hearted and just downright fun! (btw: Anyone remember Indie Music Manager? Nah, didn’t think so.)
Cadence is a one of a kind minimalist puzzle that has players connecting dots to solve the puzzles and make music. Players can build on their own curiosity and make music that no one has heard before. Players can also custom create sounds with editing tools that help them to expand the overall sound they want to create.
Composer and programmer Peter Cardwell-Gardner says he made Cadence so people could fall in love with music again. He describes it as a game about “making connections”. The player has to make these connections to find loops within the music by connecting the dots. As the game progresses, the player must solve puzzles in a whole variety of instruments, which they can then change and tweak.
It’s still in development, but the beta version is downloadable so you can play and contribute to the game, help them change it or point out mistakes. The designer Rodain Joubert says that people are solving puzzles in new ways they didn’t know about. They say they want to answer the question: Can players make music by playing a game?
Cadence is still in development and only works on Windows PC. Apply for access here.
Lumines is another puzzle game based around light and music patterns. Similar to Tetris, players have to stack blocks on top of another in order for them to disappear, so they gain points – but they have to do it in time to the music. Players have to make as many blocks of the same colour match to get the most points before the BPM bar clears away combos after each measure. This makes for an interesting game because it doesn’t entirely centre around where the blocks are put (like classic Tetris), it also bases itself around what the music is doing as well.
The music for Lumines is electronic, and the game features come with a range of different options such as multi-player and online. Fast music means the blocks get cleared away faster and slower music means blocks lay stagnant while players wait for the BPM bar to sweep away combos. There’s an option to connect controllers and enable the bass to flow through players’ hands through vibrations.
Available on almost every gaming platform, it was made by Q Entertainment and has been around for quite a few years, but was remastered in 2018. Lumines is available on Steam for Windows here.
This indie musical game, already with 175 million users and 10 million creators, supports independent Soundcloud artists through gameplay by playing with over 170 million tracks.
Players play story mode as Adia, a young girl wearing headphones and carrying a cassette tape. Players have to keep the rhythm going through collecting tapes to achieve each layer of the game, all while collecting stars and combos. Through this, players discover new music made by independent Soundcloud artists. Adia encourages players to record and share their tapes with the world!
Created by the creative production and technology company Aquest, this indie game has the potential to connect millions of users to Soundcloud musicians, effectively boosting their listenership. Adia can be found in the iOS app store.
Again Tetris-inspired, players have to match up the blocks and every block put down will expand on the song that they choose for that level. Unlike regular Tetris, the player can break up blocks and create new sections that make different sounds. Each block placed has the possibility to create a different sound that the player can experiment with and grow on. It can become a bit of a bore as the level plays the same song again and again, but if you manage to make different patterns and sounds then it becomes less repetitive.
This game was developed in 2010 by Zoë Mode and published by OneBigGame, a non-profit gaming development company that works to develop games for the benefit of charitable organisations. Any purchases of this game will see 5% of profits go towards Save The Children and Starlight Children’s foundation. Chime is available for Windows PC on the Steam website here.
Audiosurf is a music-adapting puzzle that is somewhat similar to the popular Subway Surfer. Players can upload their own favourite songs which determine the speed, shape and mood of the kind of game they play. Players have to cluster together blocks of the same colour on the highway to get the highest score. You can play this game with other online users based on the song you are playing to.
This puzzle/rhythm hybrid game was released in 2008 by a company called Invisible Handlebar and was composed by Pedro Camacho. Audiosurf 2 was released in 2015 by Steam and created by Dylan Fitterer as a sequel for the original Audiosurf. Available on Steam here and Audiosurf 2 here.
This game, released by Simogo in February 2012, is based around rhythm where players have to tap to the beat of the music that is playing to move their character. If players tap on the beat, they manage to successfully sneak around the house and steal, but if they miss a beat or tap off the beat then their characters get caught. The game seems fun, but as things progress, the catchy music can get a bit too much to handle, soon bordering on annoying. Beat Sneak Bandit can be found in the iOS or Android app store!
Released in 2015 by Game Circus, this is a classic take on the game 4 Pics 1 Word. Players are given four photos that describe a song which they have to figure out. This kind of game would be good to stretch the mind and challenge the extent of musical knowledge and puzzle-solving. It would be an excellent music game for visual learners – and it’s available for free in the app store!