Drumming video games can be a whole lot of fun to play by yourself or with friends. Although they can’t be a replacement for a real drum set, they can still really help improve your coordination and rhythm skills.
There are several different platforms on which you can play these games.
In this article, I’m going to pick the best video games for different gaming platforms and try and show you what the best games on the market are today.
The Best Drumming Video Games
Rockband 4 (Playstation 4, Xbox One)
Rock Band is probably the most well-known band simulator game series in the world. The concept is excruciatingly simple—you get several players to play together songs by pressing the right buttons on their devices at the right time.
In the latest version of the game, up to seven players can play at the same time, but you can also play solo if you like.
This game is played with special controllers, in drummers’ case a set of mock drums—they look the same as electronic drums, with the basic set of 4 drum pads and one pedal, which you need to hit accordingly to screen graphics to get a score.
Technically, you can connect a standard electronic drum set (such as an Alesis Nitro kit) and play the game through it, but it can be a hassle, and you would need to buy additional connectors and go through some technical steps to get it working properly.
All in all, this game series has set the drumming in games to today’s standard, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t check out this game.
Taiko no Tatsujin (PS4, Nintendo Switch)
Taiko no Tatsujin is a well-known drumming game in Japan that made quite an impact when it was released in the rest of the world.
The whole game is based on a similar principle to Rock Band, pressing the right buttons as they appear on the screen. It’s available for almost every platform you’ve ever heard of and can be played on the normal controllers that come with the device (joysticks and such).
You can get a special controller that looks like and is played as a taiko drum to get the full experience of the game. The game is a bit more arcade-looking than the Rock Band series and can be interesting even for smaller children.
Older Drumming Video Games
This old arcade game is now long gone and can be found in rare spots that still keep them, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t the first really successful drumming simulator. It had a complete set of electronic drums as well as a list of songs and a screen, and you could play in rhythm with the song going on playback.
A spin-off of the famous Guitar Hero series, Band Hero was a Rock Band before Rock Band—it was actually made by the Rock Band developers in the beginning. It featured electronic drums and was essentially the same as Rock Band, but more pointed toward teenagers having fun than the actual playing of the drums.
The Best VR Drumming Games
This is a great VR game that’s not exactly drumming, but it is still a rhythm-based game.
The game is played exclusively with a VR set, and the point of the game is that you have two sabers in your hands with which you have to slice boxes at the right time.
Even though there is no drumming, you have to have a great rhythm, and you can use this like a great rhythm practice.
The first real drum simulator app, Paradiddle, enables you to play real drums with your VR set. You can use controllers for other games, and there is still some work to do to get this app to really give you a full drumming experience, but it’s a great start.
DrumBeats VR is more on the track of that Guitar Hero, Rock Band style of game—you need to hit the blocks coming at you at the right time. It has a nice song list, and the gameplay is nice.
Drums Hero is a mix of the previous two—it’s a music game, but with a full drum set to be played. As such, it has the best of both worlds. You don’t have to know how to really play the drums, but you have the full experience of drum playing.
Other Virtual Drumming Options
Freedrum is a virtual drumming device used to play drums without any drums in front of you. Check out our video of it above. With it, you get Bluetooth devices you put on drumsticks and your feet, connect with your phone or computer and play the drums. The sensors read where your sticks are, so you can play the full drum set without a problem.
Another virtual drumming system, this device works on a somewhat different system than the previous one. With AeroDrums, you get two sticks and two feet sensors as well as a lamp and a PS Eye Camera, which you connect to your computer and download the software needed. See our video of it below to view it in action.
After that, you can play – the lights coming out of the sticks and the lamp is recorded by a camera and thus make the sound when the sticks move. It can be a great way to practice drumming if you don’t have space for electronic drums or just want to try something new.
Other Interactive Drumming Applications
Melodics is a great learning program for drums, as well as keyboards and sequencers. It works on the same principle as most of the games – hitting the right drum as the graphics on the screen show. But with Melodics, you have to connect the real electronic drum set (you can play on other MIDI instruments or computer keyboard, but there is not much point in that, really), and the program actually teaches you how to play the song.
There are a lot of songs you can buy and learn to play from many different styles, and this program will actually teach you how to play some songs and basic rhythms and styles of playing. And it’s fun. What more can you ask for?
Even though video games can’t be used for any serious learning of drumming, they are still a lot of fun to play. Whether alone or in a group, you will enjoy playing them and trying to get the highest score possible. You will learn how to keep your rhythm when playing these games, which can help you play any musical instrument!