Drumming video games are becoming increasingly popular as an interactive way for beginner and experienced drummers alike to hone their skills. Not only do these types of games offer unique challenges and accessibility, but they also provide a fun way to engage with music and improve our timing.
This blog post will review some of the best drumming video games. As a drummer with more than 20 years of experience playing drums, I’m sure my expertise will help guide you in your next purchase. So strap yourself in and get ready to discover why even professional drummers can benefit from these incredible drumming simulations!
Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! (PS4, Nintendo Switch)
Taiko no Tatsujin is an exciting rhythm game for Nintendo Switch that will get you tapping to the beat with its colorful characters and catchy tunes.
Players take control of a virtual Taiko drum, unleashing powerful strikes on the pads to hit the song’s beats. With over 70 songs available (even some from Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2) and multiple difficulty levels, there’s something for everyone in this high-energy rhythm game.
The Nintendo Switch edition also supports four-player multiplayer and motion controls, so you can play with friends or add a bit of flair to your drum performances!
Paradiddle (Quest 2 VR, Steam VR)
Back in late 2020, I picked up the Oculus Quest 2. It’s a fantastic, affordable way to get into virtual reality. The idea of VR drumming always has fascinated me, and today, we have an app that lets you play drums virtually, wherever you are.
Paradiddle is a fantastic VR drumming app that allows users to explore their percussion skills freely in a virtual environment. Drum sets can be easily customized and scaled with drag-and-drop, and Paradiddle supports over 100 sound variations for each drum based on the intensity of hits.
Users can also record and share their songs with others in the Paradiddle community, with visual cues indicating drum hits during song playback.
Paradiddle is available for both Quest 2 and Steam VR.
Smash Drums (Quest 2 VR)
Sticking with virtual reality, next up, we have Smash Drums. Smash Drums is a unique VR drumming game that will have you rocking out and destroying multiple environments through chaos and flames.
With 50 songs in the entire game, you can choose from four difficulties to play in forward or 360° modes, with many modifiers.
In single-player mode, you’ll be able to rock out in 2 (out of 9) environments: a prison and a crystal cave. Watch yourself climb up the leaderboards in global or friends rankings as you play.
Smash Drums also features 90Hz gameplay on Quest 2 and multiplayer arena modes for 2-8 drummers in co-op and versus modes. Unlock tracks, skins & achievements while playing this AIXR 2021 “VR Game of the Year” finalist.
Beat Saber (Quest 2 VR, Steam VR)
While not a drumming game per se, Beat Saber will improve your timing. I’ve been playing since late 2020, and it’s my favorite VR rhythm game I’ve ever had the chance to try.
Beat Saber is a VR music game that combines rhythm and lightsaber-like motion controls to create an entertaining and immersive experience. Players slash through blocks in time with the beat while navigating obstacles and adding their flair to the mix.
With its intuitive motion controls, simple yet challenging gameplay, and a wide variety of songs, Beat Saber is quickly becoming one of the most popular VR (sort of drumming) games around.
GrooVR: Air Drumming (Quest 2 VR)
And finally, our last entry in the VR category is GrooVR: Air Drumming. GrooVR is a VR rhythm game that provides an immersive and realistic drumming experience. Players watch as small plates fly toward the drums to hit beats while the direction and stick usage are indicated with each beat.
With 38 songs in the game, composed to fit handmade levels across Punk, Metal, Pop-punk, Rock’n’roll & Industrial genres, players can learn to play drums in a great sci-fi environment. Mixed Reality Capture is supported; players can also change their drum setup. No drumming experience is required!
Rock Band 4 (PS4, Xbox, Wii)
Rock Band 4 is an iconic video game series offering an immersive and accessible experience for players of all levels. Featuring many songs for players to rock out to at home, it allows them to jam together in the comfort of their living rooms.
With support for four-player multiplayer, players can quickly form bands and create epic experiences with friends.
For drummers, the game lets both beginners and advanced players have a bit of fun and improve timing and technique. Unfortunately, Harmonix no longer makes the drum kit, but you may still be able to find one at a thrift store or used video game shop.
If you have no luck, users have successfully connected an Alesis Nitro Mesh with the Wii MIDI adapater. It may take a little extra setup, but this kit will work better than the original plastic kit.
To conclude, drumming video games are an excellent way for players of any skill level to entertain themselves and hone their skills. All three top picks bring something new and make for a fun gaming experience.
My favorites are Paradiddle, Beat Saber, and Rock Band 4, but there are a ton of other drumming video games out there that are worth checking out. Whether you’re a beginner or want to fine-tune your technique, these video games offer an accessible way to dive into digital drumming.
Plus, they’re an exciting and creative way to pass the time while playing with beats! So which one is your favorite? Let me know down below in the comments!