Games Worth Playing for the Music Alone
Alan | July 9, 2014
Sometimes an upbeat, memorable soundtrack is all a game really needs to succeed. Here are ten titles that offer fantastic experiences based on their soundtracks alone, regardless of the games themselves.
10. Katamari Damacy
Wacky, delightfully playful, and energetic as all hell, the Katamari Damacy soundtrack is a non-stop barrage of enthusiastic Japanese joy. The game itself could easily be a whole lot worse and still succeed based on the merits of its soundtrack alone.
Here’s another title that holds up fine as a game, but is propelled forward dramatically by its kick-ass soundtrack. Every character has their own catchy theme music and every map is coated in deliciously infectious background tracks.
8. Tempest 2000
While its release on the Atari Jaguar doomed it to obscurity, Tempest 2000 is an ok version of Tempest with a superb techno soundtrack. Unfortunately, the PS1 re-release ended up with somewhat muddled music, so the only true way to experience this game is on the Jaguar itself.
Is it worth buying a Jaguar just to experience this soundtrack? Perhaps.
I’m listening to this music right now for the purposes of this article and it’s difficult to convey just how much it makes me want to play some Pac-Man. The CE DX soundtrack is mainly fast-paced electronic dance music, but it’s notable for a balanced progression that keeps you hooked and feeling energized throughout.
Oh, and then there’s Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+, which brings two new tracks, both with distinctly different takes on the game’s music. Pac Steps is alright, but Reentrance is very much worth checking out.
I can’t write anything that expresses the fantastic nature of this soundtrack better than the video above, so go ahead and press play on that.
Ok, now hopefully you understand how the best part of this game’s soundtrack is how well it interacts with the game itself. On specific stages (which are doled out just infrequently enough to keep you hooked), Rayman Legends turns into this beautiful nirvana of musically-motivated platforming, executed far better than I’ve ever seen before.
Now we’re getting into the really good stuff. The Cheetahmen is an atrociously bad game, hacked together haphazardly by the amateur team behind the abysmal Action 52 bundle cartridge for the NES. However, that amateur team somehow managed to stumble upon an awesome soundtrack for at least one of their games (and plagiarized awesome soundtracks for several others).
Super Hexagon is a very difficult game. It is not unlikely that you will spend most of your time with it failing repeatedly. Thankfully, this experience is made immensely more pleasant by a series of frantic and motivating electronic music mixes that coax you through the brutally challenging gameplay.
3. Cave Story
Get ready for that textured retro feeling, because Cave Story’s soundtrack is soaked in a wave of it. The original retro indie platformer offers up a diverse set of jingly, punchy beats that fit in perfectly with its overall aesthetic.
Bastion’s soundtrack is what would happen if a Western film took its musical cues from Arabic and Indian influences. It’s a seamless blend of music styles that makes for something really unique among video game scores and helps develop the well-crafted sense of place within the game.
Hotline Miami is a game absolutely defined by its soundtrack, and boy does this work out well for it. Dripping with that sleazy 80’s neon Miami feel, the soundtrack creates a tangible world all on its own. The game itself helps flesh out this world, but it’s the soundtrack that truly builds it.