Considering that we have just seen the release of a Metallica-themed “Guitar Hero” title and a Beatles-based “Rock Band” is set for a September release, cynics would have a point in saying that music games have reached a saturation point. Sure, they will sell well, but this movement towards specialization rather than reinvention is a familiar theme for music gamers. If you do not have personal experience with music titles being stretched too thin, track down a “Dance Dance Revolution” loyalist.

Fortunately, even if the mad rush to put out newer, even more specific titles does wear the guitar-based music gaming genre to the point where fans just stop caring, the music gaming genre seems to keep coming back. Even in the face of critics who bemoan the fact that you aren’t really playing an instrument or dancing by playing these games, great music games seem to always find a loyal following.

While there is definitely something to be said about catchy music – whether it is classic rock or J-pop – perhaps the biggest draw of music games is the fact that they draw you in with a pounding beat and keep you playing by rewarding you with the insinuation that you are directly responsible for the rock experience. Sure, you are just pressing buttons, tapping a screen or jumping on sensors, but when the game starts cheering you on to the beat of music that improves when you excel at higher levels, it really feels like you are the unique cause of the good times rather than just the audience.

Perhaps the greatest recent example of this is Nintendo’s latest tap-happy DS music game, “Rhythm Heaven.” Granted, the game plays out like a WarioWare-style mini-game collection, but this is not for the easily distracted.

Each mini-game in “Rhythm Heaven” challenges players to quickly learn to tap and flick the touch screen in time with a collection of toe-tapping tunes. While these games may not be as intense as the constant rhythmic death march of “Patapon,” “Rhythm Heaven” can be a rhythm hell for players that can’t keep a beat.

Once you start to beat the first few challenges of the game, “Rhythm Heaven”’s truly addictive power takes over. The mix of colorful, cartoony graphics and simple yet addictive tunes draws you into the game, while the promise of medals and rhythm-based unlockables will have you replaying the same levels over and over until you can finally reach the game’s incredibly high prerequisite for a “Superb” rating.

“Rhythm Heaven” draws you in even further by adding Remix stages that frantically jump between mini-games you have already beaten. If you are lucky, you will realize just how addictive and time-consuming the game is before you have hit the 30th unique mini-game.

So why did you just spend the whole weekend scraping a screen in the hopes of making a synchronized swimmer launch off a dolphin in unison with her partner? Like other music games, “Rhythm Heaven” is challenging enough to keep players trying while the music and colorful graphics keep it from seeming too intense. If you happen to be playing in front of onlookers, the sudden popularity that comes from tapping in time with the tune is a hard addiction to kick.

This is why music games never seem to truly die out and why we still love them. Music games do require skill, and they reward the patient and talented with the feeling of accomplishment. By succeeding at a genuine challenge, you come off as a star even though you are just strumming a string-less guitar.