A good soundtrack can elevate even the lousiest game, and an amazing soundtrack is the key to a true gaming masterpiece. 2019 is a good year for game music — both instrumental and vocal. And I’ve collected 10 tracks the run the gamut of gaming. There’s pure pop, expressive synth, and bombastic scores, all enhancing your experience. The right song makes a video game moment truly memorable, and here’s some of the music I just couldn’t forget in 2019.
There’s a few musical highlights I haven’t personally experienced yet, so you won’t find them on this list. The orchestral soundtrack replacement for Dragon Quest XI S is a massive improvement — but I haven’t actually played the game yet! Same goes for Sayonara Wilds Hearts, a fast-paced, free-wheeling pop video game that looks incredible, but one I haven’t dug into yet. I’ll be rectifying these omissions very quickly in 2020.
Without further ado, here are my favorite video game tracks of 2019.
Devil Trigger (Devil May Cry 5)
A ridiculously over-the-top track that perfectly matches the style of Devil May Cry 5. The song is ingeniously woven into the gameplay — as your style rank increases, the tune revs up until reaching full blast. It’s kind of like a rhythm game, but instead of matching buttons, you’re blasting demons with massive combos.
Colored Engine (FAR: Lone Sails)
FAR: Lone Sails came to consoles in 2019, and the gentle music that accompanies your first steps on a long adventure are some of the most memorable in the game. As a lonely conductor of a one-wheeled vehicle, you’ll often get a reprieve from micromanaging your train with a nice musical track, spurring you on and making this game one of my favorites of this year and last year.
Daredevil (Ace Combat 7)
Every Ace Combat game has one truly standout track that’s destined to get the most replay from me, and ‘Daredevil’ is the grandest of the punch. This action-packed track puts you in the mind of a death-defying pilot, taking on an insurmountable drone threat. It’s a perfect piece of bombastic music, with all the pomp and circumstance these sky-high games require.
Delusive Bunker (Katana ZERO)
Going from heaven to hell — Katana ZERO is a twisted little pixel-art indie adventure, and the ‘Delusive Bunker’ gets across the drama of your nameless samurai’s dilemma perfectly. Atmospheric, with an oppressive synth sound and driving beat to push your samurai forward — no matter how many times you might die, there’s something hopeful here. Try hard enough, and you just might make it through the level. A perfect match for Katana ZERO.
Travelers (Outer Wilds)
Starting with a simple banjo, one instrument after another joins to create a joyous sound that unifies the lost travelers across the galaxy. In The Outer Wilds, you play as a lonely astronaut, searching for a way to save your solar system. When all the planets align, just perfectly, your radio can pick up all the travelers’ solo songs, joining them into one. It’s a perfectly wistful, and it’s the only piece of music in the game, making it a welcome respite from the quiet of the universe.
Get the rest of our favorites video game tracks of 2019 on the next page!