8 Top Tracks From The Year Of Gaming So Far

Gaming isn't just about the story, the gameplay or the visuals — it's about the soundtracks too.

As gamers it can sometimes be easy to forget to appreciate the artistry behind the compositions behind the things we love. People often have their favourite tracks from eras past or certain classics, but it's worth remembering that there is a lot of wonderful music created for modern games too.

So for something different on a Friday, let's take a bit of time out and enjoy eight great songs made for video games this year. Anything that left Early Access this year is counted as well, and everyone should be fully aware that my tastes may not line up in accordance with yours.

But enough of the warnings. Let's start by venturing into a genre that most gamers will be well acquainted with — electronic music.

Crypt of the Necrodancer: Disco Descent

When your entire game centres on the idea of attacking enemies to the beat of the music, you'd better have some pretty good beats. Unsurprisingly, Crypt of the Necrodancer has some rocking tunes and if you had to rank the best OSTs for games this year, the roguelike indie would be pretty close to the top.

It was difficult to pick a single song from the tracklist — there are many good ones, and people will always have their preferences — but the sounds of Disco Descent are hard to go past. It's the first song for the first sector of the first level, and it's the one that stuck with me. Crypteque, which plays the sector after Disco Descent, is a great follow-up.

Hotline Miami 2: Hollywood Heights (by Mitch Murder)

Kirk plugged for Divide earlier this year when he wrote about Hotline Miami 2's soundtrack, but I couldn't go past the much more upbeat vibe of Hollywood Heights. Apart from the fact that it reminds me of Kung Fury, which is hilarious in its own right, it's also a great contrast to the depressing carnage that the Hotline Miami series is known for.

The entire album is pretty good too, although probably not as memorable as the original — but then I can't help but feel the lack of expectation surrounding the first Hotline Miami played a part in that as well.

Luckslinger: The Road To Clovercreek (by Rivara)

It would be remiss to do an article like this and not have some variety. Fortunately, it's hard not to listen to this track from Luckslinger, an interesting Wild West-themed platformer that gives the player a pet duck (and I'm all about ducks) to go along with some great beats.

You won't be able to find the whole playlist on YouTube, but it is available for a few dollars on Steam if you own the game. The developer has also made another single, Way of the Duck, available on Soundcloud.

Ori and the Blind Forest: The Sacrifice feat. Aeralie Brighton

If I could cheat and sneak in something from Child of Light, I would totally do that. But since I can't, I've picked a track from Ori and the Blind Forest that reminds me an awful lot of the relaxing, and sometimes haunting, tunes that really made Ubisoft's little platformer tick for me.

And maybe I'm a little bit crazy, but there's just a touch of Cirque de Soleil in the song as well. I can't really put my finger on which production precisely — maybe the quieter moments in Alegria? — but it's a pleasant, contemplative little number that I've been more than happy to listen to on multiple occasions.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture: Carry me Back to Her Arms (by Jessica Curry)

"It would be crazy if you didn't have Everybody's Gone to the Rapture," my esteemed boss told me. Fair enough, I thought — I haven't been able to play The Chinese Room's latest adventure, so I'll have a listen.

What I was expecting was a harmonic, almost haunting melody — a little like what I remember from The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Carry Me Back to Her Arms, and everything I've heard from the OST so far — there's 28 tracks — is much more morose and melancholy.

That doesn't detract from it being a lovely piece of music. It is diametrically opposite from my next pick, however, which some of you might find a little bit perplexing.

Robot Roller Derby Disco Dodgeball: Pyromania (by Kraedt)

If you haven't heard of Robot Roller Derby Disco Dodgeball ... well, you won't be able to forget it after a name like that. I don't think any video game will come even close to having a name that good this year, or next.

It's an indie shooter that launched in February and has an absurd 96% rating on Steam from over 1,300 reviews. It's basically a bunch of weird models jumping around throwing dodgeballs at each other in a darkened stadium that looks reminiscent of laser tag, except the walls glow and pulse like a rave.

My personal favourite from the unabashedly EDM-heavy soundtrack is 8-Bit Adventure, which I liked so much I used it for a CS:GO frag movie. But it's a little too extreme for most tastes, I think, so Pyromania gets the nod instead.

Frozen Cortex: Engage (by nervous_testpilot)

Launching out of Early Access in February, developers Mode 7 had difficulty getting lightning to strike twice with their follow-up to Frozen Synapse. The British studio succeeded in making a game that was simpler and more digestible than the simultaneous turn-based combat of Frozen Synapse, but the game failed to gain much traction with the public with SteamSpy reporting a total player base of just over 17,000 users.

It's a shame because Frozen Cortex has a really clean electronic soundtrack. Decisions, Intercept and if you're a fan of older trance, Pushing, are all neat tracks. Engage is one of those ones you can happily have on in the background. It's perfect office noise music, which admittedly is selling it a little short. The entire OST is neat all the same, and you can check it out on YouTube if you're interested.

The Witcher 3: Priscilla's Song

Much like Bloodborne before it, there weren't a lot of iconic music tracks that immediately came to mind when I thought of two of this year's biggest releases. But the moment you walk into the tavern and sit down to discover who might have finally conquered Dandelion's heart, Priscilla — or Callonetta, her stage name — busts out a number that remains, for me, one of the game's most memorable moments after 70 hours of gameplay.

When the song started playing, all thought in my mind stopped. Maybe it's because the soundtrack hadn't been particularly prominent up to that point, or maybe my expectations weren't properly aligned, but I can't remember thinking about anything else until the scene finished.

In a sense, it epitomised The Witcher 3 for me. Like so many of the characters and the direction of the quests throughout Geralt's grand adventure, Priscilla's song was a stunning, but thoroughly satisfying, surprise.


Comments

    And splatoon, because even just mentioning it puts it in your head for the next 3 minutes.

    Last edited 21/08/15 1:17 pm

      I was scrolling and scolling, waiting for "that one tune from Splatoon", but to no avail.

    No love for Ethan Carter? (Yes released last year on PC, but PS4 release should make it a worthy mention) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOMigwrpNXY

    I know music choice is entirely subjective but for hotline miami 2, i think a better tune was "Roller Mobster - Carpenter Brut" so much more about the feeling of the game.
    imo hotline miami 1 had a much better OST but theyre both awesome dont get me wrong, i game to both of them :)

      Yeah, Alex.
      I was going to say, of all the choices of songs to shoot to, I would never have chosen Hollywood Heights.
      Roller Mobster is definitely one of the top tracks, for starters.

    N++ is a definite candidate for some of the best music so far this year, and that's coming from someone who's not into electronica or whatever you kids call it these days.

    Good list. OlliOlli 2 had some killer tracks as well. Really like that Luckslinger one.

    The Fields of Ard Skellig from Witcher is missing from this list. Please explain.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gokhBJWSjeM

    1:03 - 1:13

    Damn.

    Last edited 21/08/15 2:34 pm

    Apart from some of the skellige tracks the witcher didnt do it for me, bloodborne has had my favourite tracks so far. Can't wait for metal gear, the tapes sound like a great idea

    No mention of Splatoon?! Blasphemy!

    Also, I know it's not from 2015, but Xenoblade Chronicles just got released on the Wii U eShop and it has the most kick-ass soundtrack I've ever heard, at the very least in a Wii game.

    And the lyrics of that Priscilla ballad, tugging at Geralt's cold mutant heart with lines about the scent of lilac & gooseberries and raven tresses, clearly it's about his destiny; to love Yennefer. Very nice from CDPR.

    If anyone wants to give the full Luckslinger OST a listen: http://duckbridge.bandcamp.com/releases :)

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