Between interactive odes to Katy Perry, socially-networked karaoke challenges and Facebook-friendly indie record store simulations, there’s been no shortage of rollicking music and rhythm games in 2010. But if you're looking for an entry-level, ultra-reliable good time, here are four games to stuff in a stocking or make sure to have around for yourself.
Rock Band 3 (MTV Games, PlayStation 3/Wii/Xbox 360)
Makes hoisting plastic gear fun for all ages, adds greater resemblance to actual instrument play and introduces MIDI keyboard support. Break it out at your next party to watch the interactive icebreaker’s magic at work.
DJ Hero 2 (Activision, PlayStation 3/Wii/Xbox 360)
Lets you r-r-remix exclusive tracks featuring with artist pairings like Kanye West and DJ Shadow using two (faux ) turntables and a microphone. Extended solo and online options will have glowsticks waving.
Riddim Ribbon (Tapulous, iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)
Hurtle along a neon-lit musical nightscape, tilting your smartphone or digital music player to keep a ball twisting and turning in time with head-bobbing beats. Mixing music and racing, it’s cheap, portable and potently addictive.
Dance Central (MTV Games, Xbox 360)
This dance simulation forces you to bust actual moves, rather than hold a motion-sensing remote or stomp on metal mats. Thank Microsoft’s gesture-tracking Kinect camera, which enables full-body play.