The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

The video games of 2014 sounded really, really good. Better, perhaps, than in any past year… although I guess it always feels that way.

This year’s nominees ran a wide gamut, from acoustic woodwind ensembles to screaming electric guitarmonies, techno jazz remixes to lounge electronica. 2014’s standout soundtracks highlighted how diverse video games can be, and choosing the best from among them was a pleasure.

I selected the winners with assistance from the rest of the Kotaku staff, and I’ve listed them in no particular order. I’ve included the best or most iconic track here (or just my personal favourite) as the “showstopper,” with a worthy second track linked as an encore. Whenever possible, I’ve linked to where you can buy the full soundtrack.

Ready? Plug in your headphones and turn that shit up.

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

Shovel Knight

Like listening to my own rose-tinted memories of how awesome NES games were.

Composers: Jake “Virt” Kaufman w/ Manami Matsumae
Showstopper: “Plains of Passage”
Encore:Main Theme
Featured Instrument: An Actual NES
Hear More:

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

The first few times the damn bear turns up, you’ll hate the trombone; the last few times, you’ll love it.

Composer: Masafumi Takada
Showstopper: “Monokuma-Sensei’s Lesson”
Encore:Dangan Ronpa Theme
Featured Instrument: Trombone
Hear More:

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014


A humongous soundtrack, good enough to make a faceless robo-man seem grand and fatherly.

Composers: Martin O’Donnell, Mike Salvatori, C Paul Johnson and Paul McCartney
Showstopper: “Excerpt From The Ecstasy”
Encore:Excerpt from the Union
Crucial Instrument: Big, gauzy string section
Hear More:

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014


This game has a dedicated “hum” button.

Composer: Darren Korb feat. Ashley Barrett
Showstopper: “We All Become”
Encore:Vanishing Point
Featured Instrument: Hum
Hear More:
Supergiant Site

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014


A collection of lovely surprises and revelations, much like the game it accompanies.

Composers: Ghostly International/Various Artists
Showstopper: “L” by Tycho
Encore:Increasing Ambition” by Michna
Featured Instrument: Electric Piano
Hear More:
Official Site

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

Divinity: Original Sin

Sometimes I would just sit there, stare at the little houses and doorways, and listen.

Composer: Kirill Pokrovsky
Showstopper: “Divine Transcendence”
Encore:Bittersweet Regrets
Featured Instrument: Weird Choir
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The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

Bravely Default

Goes directly from a soaring JRPG world-map theme to a Dragonforce shredfest, all without breaking eye contact.

Composer: Revo
Showstopper: Edea’s Theme, “Baby Bird”
Encore:Instant of Eternity
Featured Instrument: The Soprano MF-ing Saxophone
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The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

Bayonetta 2

This soundtrack could’ve been subtitled “Going All In.”

Composers: Masami Ueda, leading many others
Showstopper: “Tomorrow Is Mine”
Encore:The Lumen Sage
Featured Instrument: Piano
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The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

Crypt of the Necrodancer

I laughed so hard the first time I battled King Conga that I died. And in the game, too.

Composer: Danny Baranowsky
Showstopper: “Zone 1-2”
Encore: “King Conga”
Featured Instrument: Let’s call it “The Thriller Synth”
Hear More:

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

A traditional “big fantasy orchestral soundtrack” that stands apart thanks to its odd, grand arrangements.

Composers: Russell Brower, Neal Acree, Clint Bajakian, Sam Cardon, Craig Stuart Garfinkle, Edo Guidotti and Eímear Noone
Showstopper: “Ways of the Ancient Ones”
Featured Instrument: The entire orchestra, basically
Hear More:

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

South Park: The Stick of Truth

What could’ve easily been a mere tongue-in-cheek Skyrim knockoff was instead a really good tongue-in-cheek Skyrim knockoff that captured South Park’s bright musicality.

Composer: Jamie Dunlap
Showstopper: “A Hero is Born”
Encore:Truth… Saint Truth
Featured Instrument:Eric Cartman
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The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

The coolest woodwind ensemble in video games.

Composers: Peter McConnell and Jason Hayes
Showstopper: “Bad Reputation”
Encore:Don’t Let Your Guard Down
Featured Instrument:Bassoon
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The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Wise is so all over the place that he’s basically everywhere, and never seems to run out of wonderful ideas. Some of the best fake horns around.

Composer: David Wise

Showstopper: “Seashore War”
Encore:Alpine Incline (Ground)
Featured Instrument: Synth Horn Section
Hear More:

The Best Video Game Music Of 2014

Honourable Mentions: OlliOlli, Far Cry 4, Dungeon of the Endless, Threes!, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Banner Saga, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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At Kotaku, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


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