The Top 20 Osu! Beatmaps – An Expert Breakdown

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Are you an osu! addict like me, hungry to conquer new beatmaps and set high scores? As a long-time rhythm game fanatic, I’ve mapped thousands of songs and analyzed the keys to a perfectly crafted beatmap. In this post, I’ll be showcasing my picks for the 20 best osu! beatmaps that are must-plays for any player. From anime openings to custom mashups, technical showcases to music collabs, there’s something for everyone!

First, What Makes a Beatmap Great?

Before jumping into the maps, let’s break down what elevates a beatmap from good to truly exceptional. These are the key qualities I look for:

Musicality – The hitsounds, flows, and patterns perfectly match the song’s rhythms and tones. This makes it feel like you‘re "playing the music."

Playability – It‘s challenging but achievable. New skills are tested without going overboard on difficulty.

Creativity – Clever hit object placement and captivating visuals take the song to the next level.

Cohesion – Consistent concepts and motifs tie the whole beatmap together.

Personality – The mapper’s style and musical interpretation shine through.

Polish – No distracting empties or timing issues. The details are refined.

With these criteria in mind, let’s jump into the maps!

1. Odoru, Ranru, Redirection (pkk‘s Expert)

Difficulty: 6.67 Stars
Play Count: 785,805
My Rating: 9/10

Right off the bat we have a peak performance from elite mapper pkk. This exhilarating collab pushes your reading ability with unexpected redirects and pattern breaks built on a framework of fluid 1/4 rhythms. The limited palette of hitcircles, sliders, and minimal spacing gives this map a clean and focused aesthetic. With nearly 800,000 plays, other players clearly find it as addictive as I do!

2. Sidetracked Day (Bearizm‘s Insane)

Difficulty: 6.47 Stars
Play Count: 497,625
My Rating: 10/10

Nobody executes tricky rhythms and catchy melodies better than Bearizm, and this iconic map is him at the peak of his powers. The bouncy arps and triangle jumps are as satisfying as they are challenging. Origami’s vocals tie the patterns together in a synchronization that can only be described as musical magic. After nearly 500,000 plays, its brilliance hasn’t faded. This will go down as one of the greats.

3. guess who is back (rustbell)

Difficulty: 9.18 Stars
Play Count: 351,468
My Rating: 8/10

When this map originally came out, many players thought it was flat-out unpassable. But rustbell is known for conquering the impossible, and he mapped this monster track to match his superhuman skill. Of the few who can challenge this map, consistency is the biggest hurdle with the marathon length and rapid-fire jumps. Passing it demands absolute focus and mastery of reading. Mad respect to rustbell for this behemoth!

4. Through the Fire and Flames (eLy)

Difficulty: 6.83 Stars
Play Count: 227,862
My Rating: 7/10

This DragonForce power metal classic gets taken to the next level with eLy‘s adventurous mapset. Drawing inspiration from the song’s prog rock style, it pulls out all the stops with curved lasers, jackhammers, and spaced streams that bombard you with 360 degrees of hit objects. It stays engaging by introducing new ideas while anchoring it around defined sections. An icon within the osu! community.

Anime Beatmaps

Now let’s look at some fantastic beatmaps set to anime music. These are my top picks for bringing iconic openings and endings to life.

5. A Cruel Angel‘s Thesis

Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Difficulty: 5.55 Stars
Play Count: 320,657
My Rating: 8/10

Who better to map this melancholy classic than Evangelion superfan Bibbity Bill? He injects the iconic melody into intense jumps and stutters that sync perfectly with the tune. The distance snap changes are brilliant. My only critique is that it relies too much on 1/2 jump patterns, but the musicality makes up for it. A must-play for Evangelion fans and anime lovers!

6. Mousou♡Express

Anime: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Difficulty: 5.67 Stars
Play Count: 150,237
My Rating: 9/10

The melody of this playful Haruhi OP comes alive with memorable sound bytes and colorful slider art. R3ICH3N schwert created a fantastic balance of aim control and finger finesse. And it stays fresh by switching up sequences and visuals between the kiai time bursts. Top tier anime beatmap!

7. My Soul, Your Beats!

Anime: Angel Beats!
Difficulty: 6.61 Stars
Play Count: 330,925
My Rating: 8/10

Angel Beats! has some of the most passionate music in anime, and this iconic opening is no exception. Fast aggressive drum beats get your blood pumping while emotional vocals ring out between kiais. With highly-rated difficulties ranging from 2-6 stars, anyone can enjoy this exhilarating map.

Collab Beatmaps

Now let‘s look at multi-mapper collabs that blend together different mapping styles and concepts into creative packages.

8. Dynamic System

Mappers: 11 Collaborators
Difficulty: 7.28 Stars
Play Count: 159,352
My Rating: 9/10

This mega-collab orchestrated by captin1 brings together 11 unique mappers to remix different sections NayutalieN’s classic. Mirea adds ethereal sound bytes while Nevo injects his signature spread patterns. RLC compliments the piano melodies with gracious curves. Each part retains its creator‘s style while coming together into a cohesive whole. A one-of-a-kind experience!

9. WIDOWS 犯行予告

Mappers: nekodex, Lasse, DeviousPanda, & overlayp
Difficulty: 6.91 Stars
Play Count: 168,924
My Rating: 8/10

A dream team unites to pay tribute to onett’s stone-cold masterpiece “WIDOWS.” Each mapper unleashes their unique tricks spanning edgy geometrics from nekodex, sinister pulses by Lasse, colorful bursts via DeviousPanda, and cinematic drama from overlay. It will give you whiplash, but in the best possible way!

Mod-Specific Beatmaps

Let’s look at maps crafted with specific mod combinations in mind. These really get creative with the modifiers!

10. Yoru Naku Usagi wa Yume o Miru

Ideal Mod: Hidden + DoubleTime
Difficulty: 5.52 Stars
Play Count: 215,469
My Rating: 7/10

This lovely beatmap came out right when DT/HD plays were gaining popularity, and it remains one of the best for pushing that combo to its limits. The BPM lends itself perfectly to DoubleTime. Throw on Hidden and it becomes an intense bullet hell with vanishing notes coming at you rapid fire. A visionary pairing!

11. Renatus

Ideal Mod: Hard Rock + Flashlight
Difficulty: 5.99 Stars
Play Count: 50,386
My Rating: 8/10

Regou’s Renatus is already a creative map on its own, but it gains a thrilling new dimension with Hard Rock to amplify the intensity and Flashlight to immerse you in the rhythms. The limited visibility challenges your aim while related jumps keep you grounded. It’s incredibly satisfying to rhythmically trace the patterns as they emerge from darkness. An ingenious modded experience!

Technical Showcases

Let‘s admire these highly technical maps crafted by some of osu!‘s best mappers. New skills guaranteed!


Mapper: BTMC
Difficulty: 8.50 Stars
Play Count: 79,427
My Rating: 10/10

When it comes to challenging conventional mapping, BTMC is in a league of his own. He breaks the rhythmic dimensionality with 3D crossover jumps and bullets that redefine aim control. The constantly shifting BPM prevents autopilot as you sync your reflexes and reading to each new tempo. It’s truly visionary mapping on display. Playing it feels like unlocking a new level of rhythm sense.

13. Sidetracked Day DREAMS COME TRUE

Mapper: Sotarks
Difficulty: 9.16 Stars
Play Count: 122,913
My Rating: 9/10

Nobody crafts aim control challenges like Sotarks, and this collab with fork is him at his peak. Landing these vertical jumps demands the utmost focus and precision. Fork adds liquid drums that accentuate the bouncy beats. Remaining disciplined through these nonstop volleys tests your mental endurance. Massive respect to the legends who can complete this monster!

Music Collabs

Osu mappers teaming up with talented musicians takes things to the next level. Here are some incredible examples:

14. Dreadnought

Artist: Mismagius
Mapper: Mazzerin
Difficulty: 7.42 Stars
Play Count: 140,123
My Rating: 10/10

When it comes to showcases, no combo tops the creative team of Mazzerin and Mismagius. For Dreadnought, Mismagius built custom guitar riffs that explode with energy. Mazzerin then constructed a map of epic intensity to match the metal onslaught with emotional narrative touches. Their creative synergy is untouchable – this beatmap leaves me awestruck!

15. The Deceit/The Violation

Artist: Fuki Commissions
Mapper: fieryrage
Difficulty: 8.59 Stars
Play Count: 151,369
My Rating: 9/10

We close out with a dramatic epic from fieryrage. He teamed up with vocalist Fuki to create a custom track blending sorrow and anger. Fiery then mapped the emotionally-charged song with poetic emphasis on the lyrics. Combining candle-lit lowlights and thunderous bass drums, this is mapping taken to the next level. You feel the passion burst from every hit.

Closing Thoughts

These 20 maps showcase the creativity that makes osu! mapping such an incredible art form. When technical execution, musical understanding, and inspiration come together, it resonates deeply. This list contains many of my longtime favorites, but there’s always more to discover!

What are your favorite osu! maps? Let me know in the comments – I’m always hungry to experience new beatmap brilliance!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.