Best App Game Soundtracks
Rarely does a game earn the accolade ‘best game’ in any sphere without a solid soundtrack at its back. It can be all too easy to relegate the backing track of any gaming experience, no matter how engaging, to the recesses of our mind. Though the same can’t be said for the amazing app game soundtracks in this list. Soundtracks give app games another dimension and added excitement.
To the titles that offer phoned-in audio loops, the importance of some engaging music to complement our tapping away is all but lost. But the best app game soundtracks on this list are hard to ignore. Some are so monumental that audiophiles feel compelled to bolster their music libraries with the masterpieces woven by these app game composers.
So plug in those headphones, sit back and let these sonorous soundscapes fill you with all of the emotions. You might even enjoy playing the game, too.
6. Two Dots
Just how did Playdots, Inc. turn an app created to measure user interaction with an iOS interface into an award-winning must-have app game sequel? Well there’s always something to be said for simplicity in games (have you guys heard of Wordle?). But having a soundtrack that slaps helps, too.
The fact that Two Dots has achieved critically-acclaimed status with a gameplay loop as simple as ‘connect the dots’ isn’t all that surprising given the rampant success of the match-3 genre. But what that omnipresent brand of app game doesn’t boast (in most cases) is a bonafide album of absolute bangers.
It’s almost as if Playdots, Inc. were trying to compensate for their uncomplicated mechanics by enlisting Upright T-Rex Music to develop a full album of genre-spanning songs, even if the truth is that they didn’t need to. But when we get to listen to tracks like ‘Dusty Dots’, we’re sure glad they did.
5. Monument Valley
When it comes to delivering award-baiting app games, ustwo and Playdots, Inc. are apparently singing from the same hymn sheet. And we could listen to them all day long. So could millions of others, in fact, if the Spotify profiles of composer trio Stafford Bawler, Obfusc and Grigori are anything to go by.
Monument Valley is another critically-acclaimed puzzler with simple-yet-effective mechanics. Within it, players manipulate the surroundings of protagonist Princess Ida, which are composed of myriad optical illusions and impossible objects, in order to get her from A to B.
The game has been lauded for its art-style, distinctiveness and, of course, its sound design. Though hardcore puzzle fanatics may find themselves in want of greater challenge, Monument Valley seems instead to present itself as a game to merely lose oneself in.
The simple puzzles marry the ethereal soundtrack in such a way that makes playing this game feel like a meditation session for those of us who find actual meditation to be incredibly uneventful. What do you mean ‘that’s the point’?
Either way, we figure that we’re all in need of some zen nowadays. And who would have thought that one of the best app game soundtracks would be a perfect place to start.
4. Sayonara Wild Hearts
If you’re into synths and shades of pink and purple (who isn’t?) then you’re in for a wild ride, quite literally, with the high-octane gameplay of Sayonara Wild Hearts – a Simogo title that joined the ranks of the best musical app games back in 2019 .
A title touted as a “pop album video game” was destined to offer up something extra tasty as its soundtrack. And Sayonara Wild Hearts, an action rhythm game in which players must collect a series of hearts whilst avoiding obstacles (to a sick beat), does not disappoint. All thanks to the work of composers Daniel Olsén and Jonathan Eng, and the ethereal vocals of Linnnea Olsson.
Of course, the enjoyment of the SWH soundtrack somewhat hinges on your opinion of spacey electro-pop. Which, funnily enough, is my kind of jam. But luckily, the visuals and gameplay alone are worth picking this game up for. Something which the SWH trophy cabinet can attest to.
Cyberpunk aesthetics and soundscapes are rife, and readily complemented by such amazing track titles as ‘Laser Love’, ‘Transonic Gravity’ and ‘Hate Skulls’. But fair warning: playing this game after a breakup may induce a measure of emotional turmoil.
“Acoustic frontier trip-hop” is the phrase coined by Bastion’s composer, Darren Korb, to describe the Bastion soundtrack. And, unsurprisingly, it’s hard to think of a better descriptor. The eminent talent of this one-man band is omnipresent throughout indie developer Supergiant Games’ charming collection of insta-classics. And thankfully, we get to play (and listen to) one of them on iOS.
Bastion is an action RPG from the makers of the chart-topping phenomenon that is Hades. And the characteristically beautiful score is complemented by critically-lauded gameplay that sees players control “the Kid” as the dulcet tones of narrator Logan Cunninham react in real-time to their every move.
But what might be the most impressive part of this fan-favorite Supergiant Games debut was the fact that Cunningham joined Korb in his New York apartment closet to record the lines of narration, along with the entire sprawling score for the game. What resulted is a lesson in what sheer talent, determination and the cosy power of friendship can achieve in lieu of a decently sized workspace.
2. Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters
It’s hard to think of video game soundtracks and not immediately start dreaming of Final Fantasy. And luckily for us, the Pixel Remaster series means that Final Fantasy can now sit comfortably in a list of the best app game soundtracks.
At least one installment of the sprawling franchise that is Final Fantasy has no doubt slotted itself deep in the ‘nostalgia’ department of nearly every gamer’s memory bank. And we’d wager the heart-wrenching score is doing a lot of the heavy lifting (Garnet’s song in FFIX, anyone?).
We have the genius Nobuo Uematsu to thank for the single-handed composition of the first nine core series installments. And to not include a composer whose works have been turned into multiple albums, sheet music for piano and multiple concert tours and live performances would have been criminally remiss of us.
The cherry on top when it comes to the Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster in particular is the decision by the studio to replace a chip-tuned opera scene with actual singers. A privilege that app gamers can now relish in as they find themselves getting all teary-eyed over the tragedy of Maria and Draco. Though it does beg the question: was the vibrato-tinged beeps of the original games’ singers enough to make writers of ‘best app game soundtracks’ articles well-up anyway? The answer will forever be a mystery.
1. Crypt of the NecroDancer
Crypt of the NecroDancer is a rogue-like rhythm game with one game-defining mechanic: the player can only move or attack if done in sync with the beat. It eliminates the need for flashy 3D-rendered finishing moves when felling one’s enemies feels like a choreographed dance.
As such, this musical app games’ soundtrack from Danny Baranowsky is quite literally the point of the game. Whether you fancy a bit of techno, psytrance, hip hop, funk or metal, all is buried deep in the Crypt of the NecroDancer. And by God does it make you want to indulge in a little grave-robbing. Sadly, unearthing every ill-gotten treasure from the next dungeon’s theme song is no mean feat.
Crypt of the NecroDancer can be punishingly hard for those uninitiated to the rogue-like genre. Repeating the same level over and over thanks to your sub-par performance can be an embarrassing frustration for some. But it’s fine, because this soundtrack affords us the perfect excuse: we wanted to listen to the first dungeon’s theme on repeat, anyway.
But with that being said, the sheer scope and quality of the Crypt of the NecroDancer soundtrack is enough to compel every player to try their damnedest to discover what auditory gems lie ahead. We defy anyone to zone into the next platform and not find themselves head-bopping along to their chosen avatar as they hack, slash, shoot and blast their way through swathes of enemies in perfect unison. And don’t get us started on grooving to the operatic tones of the shopkeeper.
Whether or not you think playing the game is worth it, we’d recommend settling down and giving these best app game soundtracks a listen by following the links scattered above. Because, after all, the best part about musical app games is that playing them is only half of the fun.
Do you enjoy good soundtracks on your apps?
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