Festival season is officially in full swing, which can only mean one thing: those either stuck in colder conditions or cursed with the kiss of Mother Nature will be flocking to the second best thing right about now. And when we say second best thing, we’re pretty much referring to video games, particularly ones that base their entire concepts around festivals and the music scene, in general. Granted, there aren’t all that many of them, but there are, if anything, enough to get the pre and post-festival blues lifted and virtually kicking.
So, which of these few festival-inspired games are actually worth picking up in 2023? Or better yet, which of them grant you the most freedom to channel your inner virtuoso? Well, here’s how we’d currently slate the best five based on their overall quality and replayability.
5. Festival Tycoon
In an age where tycoon games are becoming increasingly commonplace, it comes as no major surprise to see music-loving creators tap into the popularity of festivals. And that’s exactly what led to the birth of Festival Tycoon, a business simulation game that pours its entire heart and soul into delivering an authentic event management experience. The only difference with this one, of course, is that your assets are poured into the development of a booming music venue, and not, for example, a theme park or chain of hotels.
Festival Tycoon hands you the tools to build a highly sustainable festival that has the raw power to generate revenue around the clock. As the overseer of the grounds, you will have the opportunity to book bands, arrange attractions, and cater to your audiences in any way you see fit. From a standard backyard party to a globally recognized multi-day celebration, Festival Tycoon essentially gives you the chance to work your way through the motions and become the most sought-after booking agent and events organizer on the planet. The only downside to being said manager is that, contrary to popular belief, you’ll still need to scrub a few toilets every once in a while. There’s no excusing yourself from that one, unfortunately.
For those who are drawn to the world of EDM and all things beat-based, there’s Fuser, a rhythm game that puts players behind the decks of an internationally renowned music festival. In it, budding producers and mix-mashers must assemble their freshest tracks in order to please the masses and transform a densely populated campground into a full-fledged communal phenomenon. Easier said than done, of course, what with each festival stage housing an entirely different genre of music and what have you.
While the idea behind Fuser is relatively simple to grasp, the gameplay is slightly more complicated. Or at least, it is to those who struggle to comprehend the thought of mashing multiple tracks together and finding that perfect harmony, anyway. Dial it down to an easier and slightly more relaxed mode, however, and there’s really no stopping your inner festival DJ from coming out to set those turntables alight. It’s DropMix made a little more complex — and it works surprisingly well, all things considered.
3. Rock Band
If you’re willing to jump through a few loopholes to get there, then there’s no doubt about it — Rock Band is still arguably one of the best alternatives to consider. And while you will of course need to purchase several add-one and bits of plastic to make the most of your time as a fledging rock god, the experience alone is definitely worth the legwork. That is, of course, providing you’re willing to get your hands on some older hardware and all the matching DLC to boot.
For those of you who never experienced the rhythm series in all its glory, one can only describe Rock Band as a series of interactive music games—entries in which you and a group of friends wield plastic instruments and thrash it out to dozens of tracks for a virtual audience. There’s a lot to bite into with it — even in 2023, roughly eight years after its latest release. So, if the footwork isn’t an issue, then be sure to soak up some of the series’ godliest chapters the next time you take a trip down memory lane.
2. Forza Horizon
If you honestly couldn’t care less about the gameplay side of things, and are hell-bent on being one with the festival vibes, then Forza Horizon is an ideal choice. It’s an open world racing series at heart, but one that also just so happens to center its entire premise around a year-long festival in one of several countries. Take Forza Horizon 4, for example. In the British chapter of the acclaimed series, players are given the chance to get behind the wheel and enroll in an entire network of countrywide events, including episodes of Top Gear. And that’s barely scratching the surface.
Forza Horizon brings a list of high-octane circuits to a wholesome festival setting—a world topped off with liquid drum and bass and an entire ocean of seasonal content and story-driven arcs to indulge in. It’s wickedly fast, ferocious, and even perhaps one of the best festival-themed video games on the planet.
1. Avicii Invector
There isn’t an EDM artist in the world who doesn’t owe some amount of respect to the late Avicii. Even now, in 2023 and at the height of the genre’s ever-evolving popularity, the titans of the industry continue to pay tribute to the established mind of Tim Bergling. An example here would be Hello There Games’ Avicii Invector, a rhythm-based game that went on to collaborate with all the featured artists from Tim’s career to craft a full-fledged musical extravaganza.
Avicii Invector is a rhythm game in which you control a spaceship and travel through various worlds, each of which bring their own tracks and obstacles to sift through. Think DJ Hero, but with an entire soundboard dedicated to the memory of the Swedish producer, and you’ll have a rough idea of what we’re talking about. It’s uplifting, wholesome, and definitely one of the best music-centric video games on the market.
So, what’s your take? Will you be picking up any of the above five entries? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.