Video game music is a subject we’re passionate about here at Nintendo Life, and we’re certainly not alone. We’ve done quite a few interviews and reports on this subject over the past year and it’s one of those topics that always generates buzz in the office.
It’s not really surprising. Great music, wherever you find it, has a way of transporting you and evoking long dormant memories. And with many video games you spend many hours recording the sound – no wonder the best tunes get stuck in your head!
The Nintendo Switch has a wide and varied catalog of games with an equally extensive selection of great music. In this feature – and the accompanying video of the beautiful Felix above – we’ve picked just 10 Switch games that we think have particularly spectacular soundtracks. That’s 10 from the best, not the The 10 best soundtracks for Switch!
Obviously, with so much sonic love for this hybrid console, we could have gone on forever. If you enjoy this list and Felix’s video, be sure to let us know – we’d love nothing more than to turn this into “Part 1” of an ongoing series!
So come with us now as we lose ourselves in the music, get caught in a trap, no turning back etc. Sit back and – in no particular order – enjoy some of it absolute banger…
Editor: StudioMDHR / Developer: StudioMDHR
Cuphead is a game where the aesthetic really shines, with its take on classic cartoons that flow beautifully into the graphics and gameplay. The soundtrack is also a big part of the experience, with live performances and jazzy beats capturing the action beautifully. The compositions feel authentic and some of the tracks may replay in your head long after defeating the various opponents of this game.
Editor: 8-4 / Developer: 8-4
In terms of indie games that have really impacted and shaped the gaming scene, Undertale is right up there. It’s visually mesmerizing and its approach to the RPG genre and storytelling has captured many the imaginations. Like much of the game, the soundtrack was created by Toby Fox and has been so loved and respected that they have since produced work for mainline Pokémon titles, for example.
If you haven’t played Undertale yet, we’d bet you’ve heard his music anyway.
Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo SPD
The inclusion of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild soundtrack might have seemed unlikely when the game launched. Despite all the praise the game received, not everyone appreciated the subtle piano music and ambient composition. As a series known for iconic tunes and high-intensity arrangements, the approach here was completely different.
However, over the years there has been an appreciation for the technical approach to the in-game music and its beauty. If you want to hear a soundtrack that goes perfectly with a game, this is a good place to start.
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Editor: CD Projekt Red / Developer: CD Projekt Red
The trilogy of Witcher games is an incredible achievement, but for many, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the big focus and source of inspiration. A massive RPG with a sense of scale that seems downright insane to play on a small Switch, it’s a big-budget effort that delivers true “triple-A” scope.
The soundtrack also benefited from the attention to detail and focus on performance. It features great compositions performed by a live orchestra and is an integral part of the adventure.
Editor: Team Cherry / Developer: Team Cherry
Hollow Knight is one of the most iconic indie games of the last five years, a carefully crafted game Metroidvania with memorable aesthetics and world design. Many have fallen in love with the different areas of the world, while a strong enemy design is also key to its immersive nature.
The music is outstanding as well, with an exceptionally high quality not only in terms of the melodies but also in terms of the production. Incredible considering the game’s indie status, it’s a beautiful soundtrack that’s not easily forgotten.
Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo software technology
Not only is Splatoon one of Nintendo’s biggest successes as a new IP in the last decade, but it’s also completely distinctive in the industry. A shooter where there is greater reward for controlling territory than splattering enemies, its sequel turn 2 continued the legacy on Switch with a fun campaign and excellent online play.
However, one of Nintendo’s greatest triumphs with the series is the music. A whimsical sound that is fully attuned to the games’ lore and very popular – especially in Japan. Live concerts and album pressings are common for this series.
Editor: Whippoorwill / Developer: Adam Robinson-Yu
A short hike is more than just a beautiful experience, it’s the kind of game that will be remembered for a long time. While short in theory, it’s a title brimming with distractions and opportunities for exploration, with writing and world-building that will encourage you to race all over the world.
Its dreamlike visuals are brilliantly accompanied by its soundtrack, full of pleasant and summery tones. A beautiful main theme has many variations, while guitar and piano led melodies set the most important aspects of the gameplay perfectly.
Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Animal Crossing: New Horizons became the game of 2020 that captures the zeitgeist in a year of unique challenges. Its mix of island living, conviviality, and undeniable charm won over millions of Switch owners, and many of us continue to play to this day.
The music continues to inspire. From the main themes to seasonal occasions and a full suite of unique tracks from KK Slider, it’s absolutely packed with wonderful tracks.
Editor: Matt makes games / Developer: Matt makes games
Celeste is one of the most influential indie games of recent years. Its graphics are instantly captivating while offering a fiendish challenge for those looking for the credits and too Everyone these extras. It has also garnered many fans for its serious and emotional storytelling, with plenty of depth in the story as you seek the top of the mountain.
Lena Raine’s soundtrack is of course key to the story’s beats, as its tones are perfectly matched to the setting and visuals. This is a game that’s really best enjoyed with a pair of headphones.
Editor: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Unfortunately no longer on the market, this collection brings together three fantastic games – Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. All offer very different takes on the classic 3D Mario formula, with soundtracks that also act as a reflection of their respective eras.
Super Mario 64 has many tracks that could be similar vibrations to the 2D platformers that came before, but with a new sense of depth to the sound thanks to the capabilities of the Nintendo 64. Super Mario Sunshine went all in with its tropical island setting while upping the ante on boss encounters. Super Mario Galaxy memorably took Nintendo’s step into fully orchestrated music, with the production and compositions setting a new standard.
So there you are! Let us know below which of these game soundtracks you like the most and which games you would like to see in a potential “Part Deux”…
https://www.nintendolife.com/guides/10-of-the-best-nintendo-switch-soundtracks 10 of the best Nintendo Switch soundtracks