The cover art from the games Paradise Killer, Dawn of Mana, and RiME.

Video Games With Amazing Soundtracks

These titles have excellent visuals and gameplay—but their incredible music is the icing on the cake.

Written by:
Avatar photo
Carley is a professional JP-EN translator and writer currently based in Des Moines, Iowa. She has written hundreds of articles for popular sites such as Siliconera, Gameranx, and Otaquest, and has been playing games nonstop since 1996.

Reviewed by:
Avatar photo
Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

Key Takeaway

Our picks for the best video game soundtracks include:

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
  • The House in Fata Morgana
  • RiME
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition
  • Moonlighter
  • Octopath Traveler
  • Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil
  • Hollow Knight
  • Paradise Killer
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Celeste
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • The Red Strings Club
  • Journey
  • The Persona series
  • Coffee Talk
  • Bastion
  • NieR: Automata
  • Gris
  • Disco Elysium
  • Dawn of Mana
  • The Final Fantasy series

Music can help set the tone, tell a story, or push players in different directions—but there’s more to it. As proof, consider that video game music is now its own genre! The best video game soundtracks have left their mark on the VGKAMI team.

Table Of Contents

    About the List

    It would be impossible to create a comprehensive list of all of the best video game soundtracks given the sheer number released over the past five decades. Instead, we’ve put together a collection of scores beloved by VGKAMI.

    These soundtracks are catalysts for inspiration and creativity, and while some are incredibly well-known, we’ve included a few hidden gems as well. All soundtracks listed below are currently available to stream on Spotify.

    Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

    The simple cover art for Everybody's Gone to the Rapture depicting silhouettes of a man and a woman holding hands.

    Composer: Jessica Curry

    Our Favorite Track: The Mourning Tree

    A game as introspective and meaningful as Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture deserved an equally impactful score. Jessica Curry’s sometimes-powerful, sometimes-whimsical soundtrack sounds effortless; winding and cresting in time with the player’s exploration of the abandoned town of Yaughton.

    In an interview, the composer described the game’s soundtrack as her “first truly interactive score,” with emotional vocals sounding out at just the right time during a playthrough.

    Curry’s ability to paint a picture with her music is unmatched, and before the release of Rapture, she similarly impressed audiences with her work on games such as Dear Esther and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.

    The House in Fata Morgana

    The cover art for The House in Fata Morgana visual novel showing the Maid and the mysterious white-haired girl.

    Composers: Mellok’n, Gao, Yusuke Tsutsumi, Takaki Moriya, Aikawa Razuna

    Our Favorite Track: Cicio

    Anyone who has heard the eclectic soundtrack for this now-lauded 2012 visual novel will find it tough to describe. Leaping from discordant instrumentals and solemn violin solos to vocal tracks performed in Latin, French, or Portuguese, the soundtrack for The House in Fata Morgana will leave an impression whether you’d like it to or not.

    The horror elements of the game are amplified tenfold by terrifying tracks like Vulpe and Mephitis, while a feel-good song like Ciao Carina or a tearjerker like Giselle may be waiting right around the corner. The score is as complex and varied as the game’s story, which leaped into the headlines in 2021 after being named the highest-rated Nintendo Switch game on Metacritic.


    The cover of Rime showing the young male protagonist with a strange city rising from the water.

    Composer: David García Díaz

    Our Favorite Track: Touching the Stars

    After a rocky release in 2017, RiME managed to quickly worm its way into the hearts of some puzzle game fans. Set on a mysterious island, the game follows a young boy who washes ashore on a mysterious island as he tries to discover how he arrived there in the first place.

    The Tequila Works title features what many game music connoisseurs have deemed one of the greatest soundtracks of the last decade, due in large part to the astonishingly emotional themes that become intertwined as you continue your adventure. While the title itself isn’t for everyone, this is the perfect soundtrack to listen to for an instant jolt of lofty imagination.

    Dragon Age: Inquisition

    The cover art for Dragon Age: Inquisition, with the Inquisitor reaching their hand towards the green opening in the sky with their companions ready for battle nearby.

    Composers: Trevor Morris, Raney Shockne

    Our Favorite Track: Journey to Skyhold / Enchanters

    The 2014 RPG juggernaut Dragon Age: Inquisition boasts two albums: the Original Game Soundtrack and The Bard Songs. The latter features the many folksy vocal tracks heard in the game’s taverns sung by the bard Maryden Halewell (voiced by singer Elizaveta Khripounova). These are truly tunes with which you can fall in love.

    Both are invaluable to the game’s overall impact. The score itself helps to define the complex feelings of a world at war and the standalone vocal album makes that struggling world feel more alive. Trevor Morris’ grandiose musical style—also heard in the television shows The Tudors and Vikings—was a perfect choice for the third installment of BioWare’s legendary fantasy franchise.


    The main character of Moonlighter with his sword in hand on the game's cover.

    Composer: David Fenn

    Our Favorite Track: Village of Rynoka

    A 2018 indie action title by the Spanish studio Digital Sun, Moonlighter‘s music quickly became a topic of discussion on message boards across the web. Fans praised the creation of different elemental themes for each dungeon that weave seamlessly into the title’s main theme during boss fights, adding polish that few expected from such a young studio.

    The soundtrack shows incredible attention to detail. It is the perfect accompaniment to the main character Will’s exploration, which ranges from lighthearted to heart-pounding. David Fenn’s use of unique instruments for each area of the game is masterful, adding some special sauce to this fun dungeon crawler.

    Octopath Traveler

    The eight main characters of Octopath Traveler on the game's cover.

    Composer: Yasunori Nishiki

    Our Favorite Track: My Quiet Forest Home

    Square Enix titles often boast phenomenal soundtracks, and Octopath Traveler is no exception. The music is a nod to RPGs of the 90s, utilizing the power of a full orchestra to create a dazzling score that classic consoles were incapable of producing.

    Before working on this soundtrack, composer Yasunori Nishiki had kept a relatively low profile, contributing works to several Konami titles—mainly rhythm games. Though nearly every song in Octopath Traveler stands out for one reason or another, the characters’ theme songs are particularly moving; bringing their unique personalities and challenges to life.

    “I was trying to make sure the character themes in particular would leave such a strong impression that you could hear them just once and then remember them,” Nishiki said in an interview with VGMO.

    Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil

    Klonoa narrowly evading a watery pit in Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil.

    Composers: Kanako Kakino, Eriko Imura, Katsuro Tajima, Asuka Sakai, Kohta Takahashi, Go Shiina, Hiromi Shibano, Yuji Masubuchi

    Our Favorite Track: Going to Lunatea

    The music in Namco’s 2001 platformer Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil is both fun and painfully nostalgic. Even if you’ve never played the game (which is now available on modern consoles), the cheerful melodies and moody boss themes have the power to transport players back to a simpler time—when homework and chores were the toughest parts of the day.

    Ark and Moonlight Museum are particularly potent in this regard, while the goofy earworm Stepping Wind features nonsensical lyrics sung in an imaginary language by Klonoa’s Japanese voice actress Kumiko Watanabe. It’s impossible to listen to this soundtrack without smiling.

    Hollow Knight

    The cover of Hollow Knight featuring the titular main character.

    Composer: Christopher Larkin

    Our Favorite Track: City of Tears

    With humble beginnings on Newgrounds and later as a Kickstarter project, the Metroidvania title Hollow Knight has been a massive success, nominated for numerous awards upon its release in 2017 and prompting an upcoming sequel (sort of).

    Easy to pick up and play but difficult to master (we can help you 100% Hollow Knight), the title’s gameplay isn’t the only thing that’s seen heaps of praise—Christopher Larkin’s soundtrack is indescribably powerful, twisting effortlessly into the emotion and action being shown at any given moment.

    Despite the title’s simplistic yet charming art style, the complexity of its score gives away the true depth of Hollow Knight‘s story. It shines in a way many didn’t expect from an indie title—something that makes it even more impressive.

    Paradise Killer

    The main characters of Paradise Killer posing on the cover of the game.

    Composer: Epoch

    Our Favorite Track: Lady Blue

    A bizarre detective story packed with demons and ancient gods, the 2020 Kaizen Game Works title Paradise Killer serenades players with one smooth soundtrack. Funky vaporware tracks reign supreme, and as you work to discover the identity of a savage killer, you may find yourself wanting to hit the beach and lounge instead.

    The composer, Barry ‘Epoch’ Topping, effortlessly managed to create a series of songs both filled with 80s nostalgia and modern musical sensibilities, adding another layer to the unspeakably strange vibes this game emits. As you collect more songs during your exploration, keep one ear open for hints of Japanese city pop too.

    Pillars of Eternity

    Many playable characters from Pillars of Eternity raising their swords in rage.

    Composer: Justin E. Bell

    Our Favorite Track: Ondras Gift

    While modern fantasy RPG soundtracks often feature large, sweeping orchestral pieces and the occasional jaunty tavern tune, Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity, released in 2015, is a tad less conventional and more understated than others.

    With a focus on setting the tone and defining the game’s atmosphere, track lengths are short and meant to instantly evoke the feeling of being in a certain place or being engaged in a certain activity, whether that be exploration or battle.

    There are no wasted notes. While it’s more reserved than other soundtracks on this list, it’s one of our top picks for playing in the background of your next Dungeons & Dragons game—or something to listen to during a particularly vivid daydream.


    The cover art for Celeste showing the titular main character reaching out for a strawberry with wings while surrounded by supporting characters.

    Composer: Lena Raine

    Our Favorite Track: Confronting Myself

    The 2018 title Celeste tells the story of a girl named Madeline who must ascend the game’s titular mountain. However, her trial isn’t only a physical one. Coping with poor self-esteem and anxiety, Madeline’s quest to climb ever upwards is also an emotional one, and the soundtrack suits such a difficult and meaningful endeavor.

    From stress-inducing electronic romps and chill lo-fi tracks to heartwrenching piano riffs and more atmospheric tunes, this indie title packs in more nuance and variety than many AAA titles. The platformer’s fandom is a dedicated one, and the addictive gameplay is clearly not the only draw.

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    The cover art for The Witcher 3 featuring Geralt of Rivia and his legendary two swords.

    Composers: Marcin Przybyłowicz, Mikołaj Stroiński

    Our Favorite Track: The Song of the Sword-Dancer

    The music heard in The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is instantly recognizable to a large population of game enthusiasts. Each melody fits almost too naturally into what is happening on screen, with the combat tracks seamlessly fading in and out as Geralt engages his foes.

    What’s more, the auditory cues in the acclaimed 2015 RPG can be helpful, warning you that enemies still lurk nearby, but it can also add a level of whimsy to your exploration through the countryside of Velen or the countless islands of Skellige.

    The occasional screeching vocals or the inclusion of exotic instruments keep things fresh. It’s hard to imagine Geralt of Rivia’s adventure across the Continent without Marcin Przybyłowicz’s and Mikołaj Stroiński’s score.

    The Red Strings Club

    The cover of The Red Strings Club, showing a character lighting a cigarette for another.

    Composer: Paula “Fingerspit” Ruiz

    Our Favorite Track: Subroutines

    A rich cyberpunk world deserves a rich cyberpunk soundtrack. Paula “Fingerspit” Ruiz knocked it out of the park with her synth-heavy experimental sound, adding elements of trip-hop and post-rock to round out a hard-to-describe but sensational tracklist.

    Developed by Deconstructeam, one of Spain’s greatest independent video game companies, The Red Strings Club is an adventure game that has players mixing drinks, probing patrons for information, and occasionally implanting strange devices into humans to alter their physical appearance and mental fortitude.

    The game addresses how technology can alter a person’s humanity. As such, the brooding piano riffs and ambient vibes make it easier to ponder this pertinent question.


    The cover of Journey showing the mysterious, robed main character in front of a expansive desert and huge mountain.

    Composer: Austin Wintory

    Our Favorite Track: The Road of Trials

    The title of Thatgamecompany’s cherished 2012 indie adventure title also perfectly describes its soundtrack. The 18 dynamic tracks provided by composer Austin Wintory (who also worked on the iconic soundtrack for The Banner Saga series) weave into the player’s actions as they traverse the world. This makes it seem as though the music is simply bubbling up in real time and leaving a sense of wonder in its wake.

    Simple yet rich cello solos give way to grand orchestral tracks, leaving behind a sense of grandeur and reminding the player that they are only a spec in the grand design. While Journey doesn’t include a single word, it doesn’t need to—the music does plenty of talking.

    The Persona Series

    All five protagonists from all five Persona games, seen together for the 25th anniversary of the series.

    Composers: Shoji Meguro, Atsushi Kitajoh, Ryota Kozuka, Toshiki Konishi, Kenichi Tsuchiya

    It’s impossible to select a single Persona soundtrack as being superior to the others in the long-running series. Most recently, Shoji Meguro’s work on Persona 5 brought us a powerful collection of funky basslines and jazzy vocals by Lyn—fitting for a Phantom Thief living as a high school student in Tokyo.

    Before this, however, his work on 2008’s Persona 4 was more retro and rhythmic, leaning into the feel of classic J-pop. And how can we forget Persona 3, with its hip-hop vibes?

    While the first few games in the series are often left behind, their soundtracks are anything but forgetful. Given the sheer number of legendary tracks that Atlus has given us, it’s too tough to pick a favorite.

    Coffee Talk 1 & 2

    Freya and Lua from the cozy game Coffee Talk.

    Composer: Andrew Jeremy

    Our Favorite Track: One More Time

    In our review for Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly, we touched on the title’s serene lo-fi soundtrack. It’s perfect for escaping the hectic world outside and settling in for a piping hot cup of coffee.

    The music for both games in the series was provided by Andrew Jeremy, who clearly understood the assignment and created a plethora of tracks perfect for playing in the background during almost any activity.

    Tossing in a few hip-hop beats and vinyl crackles, the music feels lived-in and familiar; it doesn’t ask the player to think too much. Pro-tip: Throw these soundtracks on with some rain sounds in the background for the best effect.


    The cover of Bastion, showing the main character 'The Kid' in a lush forest.

    Composer: Darren Korb

    Our Favorite Track: Twisted Streets

    The acoustic guitar, rock vibes, and country twang found in Bastion set it apart from other entries on this list. The award-winning 2011 action game from future Hades developer Supergiant Games continues to be a fan favorite, and Darren Korb’s knee-slapping soundtrack has plenty of meaning and depth at its heart.

    Fans of other Supergiant Games entries, including the aforementioned Hades, Transistor, and Pyre, will recognize Korb’s signature sound—also noteworthy is that the conductor voiced Bastion‘s main character. “I thought the sort of down-tuned open guitar—a bluesy guitar thing —would probably work well,” Korb said in a 2021 interview with Nintendo Life. He was correct.

    NieR: Automata

    The two main characters of NieR: Automata: 9S and 2B.

    Composers: Keiichi Okabe, Keigo Hoashi, Kuniyuki Takahashi

    Our Favorite Track: Possessed by Disease

    In 2017, the PlatinumGames’ action RPG NieR: Automata was awarded Best Score/Music at The Game Awards 2017, Best Original Dramatic Store at NAVGTR, and Excellence in Music Score at the SXSW Gaming Awards.

    With a score influenced heavily by classical music, players were blown away by how seamlessly each track blended into one another as they made their way through the numerous grasslands and villages of the sequel to 2010’s NieR.

    The vocal track Weight of the World is of particular note. It serves as a safe harbor from the melancholy found in much of the title’s score. Thankfully, the composers had a way of making that melancholy more beautiful than it should have been.


    The cover of Gris showing the titular main character's face.

    Composer: Berlinist

    Our Favorite Track: In Your Hands

    A game’s soundtrack typically serves as a way to highlight and enhance its gameplay and themes. In Gris, the music itself often feels like the main attraction. The platform-adventure game features no ‘Game Over’ screens, prompting players to see things outside the box of the standard gaming experience.

    Dealing with heavy themes of grief, loss, and depression, the ambient soundtrack leaps from cloud-scraping highs to deep lows. Such music pairs like a fine wine with a graphical style so polished and visually striking that it’s hard to believe this was Nomada Studio’s first game. To summarize this soundtrack: it feels like it leads the listener toward the light at the end of a long tunnel.

    Disco Elysium

    The cover of Disco Elysium, featuring the two main characters: Harry and Kim.

    Composer: Sea Power

    Our Favorite Track: Burn, Baby, Burn

    When players think of Disco Elysium, they likely think of the foul-mouthed Cuno or the blurred face of an alcoholic in a foggy mirror. Cited as one of the greatest games ever made, the ZA/UM title is known for its dialogue-heavy gameplay and unhinged storyline.

    Unfortunately, many seemed too caught up in the game’s antics to pay its BAFTA award-winning soundtrack much mind. Composed by the English alternative rock band Sea Power, the meandering tracklist sometimes swells with unexpected emotion, and other times borders on the unsettling, making it the perfect accompaniment to Harry’s descent into madness.

    Dawn of Mana

    The cover art from Dawn of Mana, featuring three main characters.

    Composers: Kenji Ito, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Masayoshi Soken

    Our Favorite Track: Love Everlasting

    Although this 2006 PlayStation 2 title received poor reviews across the board, its soundtrack was filled with contributions from big hitters like Masayoshi Soken, the current golden child of the Final Fantasy franchise, Yoko Shimomura of Kingdom Hearts fame, and film composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

    The majority of the game’s soundtrack was composed by Kenji Ito, who worked on numerous 90s RPGs including Romancing SaGa and Final Fantasy Legend II beside Nobuo Uematsu. Drawing inspiration from classical music with just a hint of rock, the game’s wistful tracklist is worth a playthrough—even if the game isn’t.

    The Final Fantasy Series

    All protagonists from the first 15 Final Fantasy games standing in a circle.

    Composers: Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Junya Nakano, Naoshi Mizuta, Kumi Tanioka, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Noriko Matsueda, Takahito Eguchi, Hayato Matsuo, Masaharu Iwata, Masayoshi Soken, Ryo Yamazaki, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Yoko Shimomura

    Not including the venerable Final Fantasy series on a list of incredible game soundtracks would be like leaving Dark Souls off of a list of the best Soulslikes.

    Music is the heart and soul of the 35-year franchise. It’s impossible to think of Final Fantasy VII without One Winged Angel, ludicrous to imagine Final Fantasy X without To Zanarkand, and laughable to recall any of the titles without the famous victory tune. The list goes on and on, with too many themes now embedded in popular culture to count.

    Video game music, once something niche and disregarded by many, is now more accepted and celebrated than ever. The calming tunes of an open-world title and the lo-fi beats of a point-and-click adventure can soothe the soul, while the right battle theme can make anyone feel powerful. It would be an exercise in futility to list the hundreds of amazing video game soundtracks out there today, but those listed above are a great place to start.

    Read Next
    Video Gaming Terms, Words, and Lingo You Should Know
    Carley Garcia | 1 year ago
    The Legend of Dragoon Interview: Composer, Dennis Martin
    Stephanie DeCleene | 2 years ago
    9 Most Heartbreaking Bosses from Final Fantasy
    Carley Garcia | 2 years ago