You won’t hear them played on the radio, but we’re currently in the midst of a game soundtrack revolution.
Video game music has always been impressive to fans, but with the rise of a healthy indie scene and digital distribution, there is suddenly a flood of awesome game soundtracks out there. Not only is the music great, but it covers a variety of genres — you can get your metal fixes, your industrial infusions, your ’80s synth-rock nostalgia, and your pirate shanty remembrances with little more than a Google search.
One of the easiest ways to listen to a variety of soundtracks is through Spotify. The music streaming service has a whole section dedicated just to video game soundtracks, and users often compile tracks together to make playlists for the albums that aren’t offered in their entirety. Here are 10 of the best video game soundtracks you can find on Spotify — but you’ll definitely want to check out the full listing the service offers to find some more favorites.
Furi, a fast-paced action game focused on boss battles, garnered praise for its gorgeous neon ’80s visual aesthetic. It’s intense synthy soundtrack, with artists like Carpenter Brut and The Toxic Avenger, is the perfect setting for battling powerful robots, monsters, and sword-wielding bad guys.
There is not much actual music in Rocket League when you’re battling it out against other players, but the game actually has a pretty great soundtrack — it’s just mostly confined to the game’s menus. Composer Mike Ault brings plenty of great electornic dance music to the lineup, supplemented by San Diego group Hollywood Principle.
If 8-bit-style chiptunes are your thing, you can’t go wrong with the soundtrack for rhythm RPG Crypt of the Necrodancer. Created by award-winning composer Danny Baranowsky, it’s a great listen and even includes versions of the tracks with Necrodancer’s singing shopkeep included.
Many of the Assassin’s Creed games have had great soundtracks and, basically, all of them are available on Spotify. From Jesper Kyd’s offerings in Assassin’s Creed II to Winifred Phillips’ turn in Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, there is a lot of great orchestral stuff on these albums. It’s hard to choose just one, though: The games’ varying historical settings ensure that each score has a different feel. Are you feeling more like a Renaissance man, or a Victoria-era mobster? Either way, here is your walking music. Find them all right here.
Austin Wintory was nominated for a Grammy for his work on Journey — the first such award ever given to a soundtrack for a video game. That is a good indicator that it’s worthy of your attention, capturing the game’s gorgeous natural and sometimes spiritual aesthetic. It’s a great soundtrack even without the game to go with it, and you can stream it anytime.
A game as big as the original Destiny has a soundtrack that hits on a lot of different feelings. From the subdued and reverent choral vocals used in the game’s space travel moments to swelling and intense tracks that run on boss fights, there is a lot to like coming out of the Destiny soundtrack.
And if you need a laugh, there is always that Paul McCartney song.
Spacey, synthy, and offering lots of pretty relaxing tracks — even in its battle themes — FTL is a low-key soundtrack that is great to put on while working. Ben Prunty captures the game’s feeling of exploring the unknown and constant danger, but the entire FTL soundtrack plays it cool even in its death-defying moments.
Mowing down demons is pretty freakin’ metal, and so is the Doom soundtrack. Mick Gordon’s work on Doom sets the mood for ripping monsters apart with chainsaws, shotguns, and plasma rifles. If you’re looking for something thundering and intense, look no further than Doom.
Composer Disasterpeace brings an atmospheric, slightly haunting sensibility to Fez. The pixely puzzle title has an equally retro musical feel, with a chiptune-inspired set of tracks that build the world as much as the game’s visuals. The soundtrack moves between beautiful, calm, and eerie, and it is relaxed but gorgeous the whole way through.
Developer Supergiant always goes above and beyond to establish a unique style for each of its games through art and music. Composer Darren Korb created some great tracks for the developer’s first game, set in a broken apocalypse. A western take that is heavy on guitars gives Bastion a unique feel among game soundtracks and makes it as good to listen to as to play.