Video game music is a subject we are passionate about at Nintendo Life, and we’re certainly not alone. We did an entire season of interviews and reports on the subject last year, and it’s one of the topics that always generates excitement in the office.
It’s not really surprising. Good music, wherever you find it, has a way of transporting you and rekindling long dormant memories. And with many video games, you spend many hours absorbing the audio – no wonder the best melodies lodge in your mind!
The Nintendo Switch offers a wide and varied catalog of games with an equally wide selection of quality music. In this feature – and Felix’s charming accompanying video above – we’ve picked just 10 Switch games that we think have particularly spectacular soundtracks. It’s 10 of the best, no the 10 best soundtracks on Switch!
Obviously, with so much aural love on this hybrid console, we could have gone on and on. If you like 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 get lost in the music, caught in a trap, with no turning back, etc. Sit back and enjoy – in no particular order – a few absolute firecrackers…
Editor: StudioMDHR / Developer: StudioMDHR
Cuphead is a game where the aesthetic really shines, with its take on classic cartoons flowing beautifully into visuals and gameplay. The soundtrack is also an important part of the experience, with live performances and jazzy beats capturing the action beautifully. The compositions have an authentic feel to them, and some of the tracks may be spinning in your head long after you’ve defeated this game’s varied enemies.
Editor: 8-4 / Developer: 8-4
In terms of indie games that have really impacted and shaped the gaming scene, Subtitle is right up there. It’s visually intriguing, and its approach to the RPG genre and storytelling has captured many imaginations. Like much of the game, the soundtrack was created by Toby Fox, and has become so beloved and respected that they’ve since produced work for the mainline Pokémon titles, for example.
If you haven’t played Undertale, we’d bet money you’ve heard his music anyway.
Editor: nintendo / Developer: SPD Nintendo
The inclusion of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild soundtrack might have seemed unlikely at the game’s launch. piano and environmental composition. As a series renowned for its iconic melodies and high-intensity arrangements, the approach here was totally different.
Over the years, however, appreciation for the technical approach to music in the game and its beauty has grown. If you want to hear a soundtrack that perfectly matches a game, this is a good place to start.
Please note that some external links on this page are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and make a purchase, we may receive a small percentage of the sale. Please read our FTC disclosure for more information.
Editor: CD Project Red / Developer: CD Project Red
The Witcher trilogy of games is an incredible achievement, but for many the main focus and inspiration is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. A massive RPG with a sense of scale that feels downright insane to play on a small Switch, it’s a big-budget effort that offers true “triple-A” range.
The soundtrack also benefited from the attention to detail and focus on performance. It features terrific compositions performed by a live orchestra, and it’s an essential part of the adventure.
Editor: Cherry Team / Developer: Cherry Team
Hollow Knight is one of the most iconic indie games of the past five years, a carefully crafted game Metroidvania with a memorable global aesthetic and design. Many have fallen in love with the different regions of the world, while the strong enemy design is also key to its immersive nature.
The music is also remarkable, with an exceptionally high quality not only in terms of melodies but also production. Incredible given the game’s indie status, it’s a great soundtrack that’s not easily forgotten.
Editor: nintendo / Developer: Nintendo software technology
Splatoon is not only one of Nintendo’s biggest hits as a new IP of the past decade, but it’s also quite distinctive in the industry. A shooter where there’s a greater reward for controlling territory than splattering enemies, its sequel Splaton 2 continued the legacy on Switch with a fun campaign and great online play.
One of Nintendo’s greatest triumphs with the series, however, is the music. A quirky sound fully aligned with gaming lore, it’s hugely popular, especially in Japan. Live concerts and album pressings are common for this series.
Editor: nightjar / Developer: Adam Robinson-Yu
A short hike is more than a pretty experience, it’s the kind of game that sticks in the memory for a long time. Although theoretically short, it’s a title full of diversions and opportunities to explore, with writing and world-building that will encourage you to travel the world.
Its dreamlike visuals are brilliantly accompanied by its soundtrack full of pleasant and summery tones. A lovely main theme has plenty of variation, while guitar and piano led tunes set up key gameplay aspects perfectly.
Editor: nintendo / Developer: nintendo
Animal Crossing: New Horizons become the game of 2020, capturing the zeitgeist in a year of unique challenges. Its blend of island life, socializing, and undeniable charm won over millions of Switch owners, and many of us still play to this day.
His music continues to delight, too. From main themes to seasonal occasions and a full suite of unique KK Slider tracks, it’s packed with wonderful tracks.
Editor: Matt makes games / Developer: Matt makes games
Celestial has been one of the most influential indie games of recent years. Its visuals are immediately arresting, as it offers a diabolical level of challenge for those chasing the credits and also all these extras. It’s also won a lot of fans for its gritty and moving storytelling, with plenty of depth to the story as you seek the top of the mountain.
Lena Raine’s soundtrack is key to the story’s beats, of course, with its tones perfectly suited to the setting and visuals. It’s a game 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 reflect their respective eras.
Super Mario 64 has a lot of tracks that may have similarities vibrations to the 2D platformers that came before it, but with a new sense of sound depth thanks to the capabilities of the Nintendo 64. Super Mario Sunshine banked everything on its tropical island setting, while raising the stakes for encounters with the bosses. Super Mario Galaxy, memorably, saw Nintendo take the leap to fully orchestrated music, with production and songwriting setting a new standard.
So there you are! Let us know below which of these game soundtracks you enjoy the most and which games you’d like to see featured in a possible “Part Two”…