Groove to These 15 Awesome Mobile Games!
It might be surprising to some that mobile games actually have soundtracks, let alone enjoyable ones. A good chunk of gamers hit mute as soon as the game loads.
Here is a list of mobile games where you want to make the effort to keep the music on while you play. These games aren’t listed in any specific order, but all have great music, and almost all use their soundtracks as a central theme in the games themselves.
There is a variety of genres to explore, and while music is subject to individual tastes, there is bound to be something here for the audiophile and the casual listener. It ranges from funky to fresh, atmospheric to breathtaking and from pop to rock.
Tilt to Live
Tilt to Live is a great little game with a fun soundtrack which you can find on the dev’s bandcamp page. It’s got a funky almost 60’s vibe. Give “Red Alert” a listen. It’s a perfect example of a high-quality soundtrack for the mobile market. Each track is crafted to match the frantic gameplay as you guide your little arrow around the screen, trying not to be destroyed by flying balls. It’s got a real charming mix of twangy guitars and staccato violin plucking.
World of Goo
World of Goo is a physics style puzzle game with an awesome aesthetic and quirky soundtrack. Kyle Gabler composed the soundtrack and it’s delightfully weird and frenetic. “Another Mysterious Pipe Appears” is a fun track that mixes creepy circus music with a dreamy ambient undercurrent.
Machinarium is a beautiful point and click adventure game. The soundtrack by Tomas Dvorak is dripping with atmosphere. It lends a dreamlike quality that matches the game’s storybook art style. “Mr.Handagote” is a personal favorite with its upbeat synth melody and bouncy percussion.
Love Live! School Idol Festival
Love Live! School Idol Festival is a rhythm game, which hinges on its soundtrack, obviously. This game has an awesome J-Pop OST. J-Pop may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy that genre, this is an excellent game for you. The main theme for the game has all the bubbly synth you could ever want. It’s hard not to smile when you hear it. It just exudes the bouncy energy you think of when you hear the title of the franchise. It’s pure kawaii in music form.
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius is a mobile-only JRPG released by Squaresoft. Since it’s a Final Fantasy game it has the benefit of a great budget and access to some of the best composers Japan has to offer.
Noriyasu Agematsu has created a wonderful and epic soundtrack that fits right in with Final Fantasy’s legacy. “Onslaught” is one of the best tracks. It’s got the traditional Final Fantasy battle vibe. The fast-paced percussion and heavy metal guitars paired with the orchestral backing get the heart pumping. It’s got all the fun of classic Final Fantasy and the newer more rock opera style music of later installments. It straddles the line without becoming goofy, and really shows off the talent of the composer.
Contre Jour is a lovely physics-based puzzle game. The game’s aesthetic is an arty monochromatic and cartoony style. The soundtrack by David Ari Leon fits the theme of the game perfectly. It’s reminiscent of old school French Cafe music. There are lots of lilting piano melodies and an undercurrent of wistful sadness to everything. “Machine” is a beautiful track. The bouncing temp against the minor key of the melody and the sudden switching to the major gives it almost a manic feel.
Lanota is an indie rhythm game, and as such needs a killer soundtrack just to get going. Fortunately, they’ve nailed that aspect of the game. Salloscar created a wonderful mix of bouncy tunes to tap along to.
I like the juxtaposition of traditional fantasy music with a real techno bent. It’s soaring orchestral one second and then gets into frenetic techno breakdown without pausing for breath. “Chronosis Song” is a great example of the soundtrack’s ability to evoke a very traditional Japanese role-playing game soundtrack while adding a J-pop flair. The vocals ring out over wind instruments and the driving beat makes you nod along.
Duet is a game by indie studio Kumobius that asks players simply to navigate two orbiting spheres past an increasingly complex maze of falling obstacles. A player that’s playing the game might not even notice the great soundtrack because of the frequent deaths. As you get better at the game, you are rewarded with the longer listen of the stage music. Duet’s music is so good that it even won Best Audio in the 2014 Australian Game Developer Awards. You can simply put any track from Tim Shiel’s soundtrack to the game in the background while you work or study.
Two Dots is a highly lauded puzzle game with a great art style. It is essentially “connect the dots”, but it spirals out into an addictive gameplay loop. The music is a great mix of tracks designed to add to the ambiance of the puzzles without distracting the player. It’s funky without being annoying, and dreamy without putting you to sleep. “Dusty Dots” the main theme is great background music for just about any activity.
Sword & Sworcery
Sword & Sworcery is an adventure game produced by Superbrothers and Capybara Games. It’s an interesting mix of using an action setup with a musical puzzle-solving mechanic. Since music is a focal point of the game, the soundtrack is one of the main draws.
The composer Jim Guthrie has his skills on full display with this one. It’s epic fantasy through the lens of 80’s synth, and it’s awesome. “Doom Sock” starts off with a slasher movie vibe. The bass synth takes on a heartbeat quality. It adds a wonderful sting to the disparate sounds of wind and scratching sounds.
Device 6 is a text-based adventure game that relies on still images and sounds to guide the player to the solution of their puzzles. It’s a neat concept that you don’t see these days, and that alone would make the game stand out. The soundtrack by Daniel Olsen is stellar. The tracks ooze 60’s spy thriller charm. “An Elaborate Study” is a fantastic example. It’s got a real percussive and bassy brass section with a ticking clock style drum beat. The organ work adds an extra layer of mystery to the track as well.
Monument Valley is a stylish indie puzzle game that has you wrapping your head around an Escher-esque world. The music by Stafford Bawler is suitably ambient and really draws you in without distracting from the puzzles and fits the art style for the game. It’s deceptively simple and surprisingly deep. “The Rookery” is one of my favorites. It starts off slow and methodically to build up its musical phrases and slowly expands. The piano work is subtle and moody, and once the rest of the instruments start coming in the tone becomes tense without being overwhelming.
Tone Sphere is an indie mobile rhythm game and has a massive tracklist. The bands featured in the game are a great mix of Japanese dance songs and great techno jams. Not all have lyrics, but all are fun to tap along to and offer a high skill ceiling as far as gameplay is concerned. You can find the official album on Spotify if you can’t get enough of the music and don’t want to wear out your fingers.
Fallen London is a text adventure title and is set in an alternate universe where London is located miles under the Earth’s surface. The soundtrack by Maribeth Solomon and Brent Barkman is sometimes moody, sometimes silly, and always interesting to listen to. “Mrs.Plenty’s Carnival” is a wonderful track. It’s got a surreal blend of theramin and horns, all with that traditional waltz tempo. The whole thing has got a strange and familiar tone that matches the game’s themes perfectly.
Adventure of Poco Eco – Lost Sounds
Adventure of Poco Eco – Lost Sounds is another indie title where the game’s premise is exploring the game world and that exploration revolves around the soundtrack itself. Iamyank does an excellent job of creating a rich and dreamy soundscape to provide the impetus of the protagonist’s adventure with a ton of synthy goodness. “Marching Metronome” is a wonderfully moody bass-driven piece. The distorted guitars and understated ambient synth in the background pair nicely with the percussion. It’s great cruising music. It makes me want to go on a long night time drive with no specific destination.
All of the games listed here are great examples of soundtracks done right. They’re even more notable as they are mobile games, a genre that isn’t known for amazing music.
The talented musicians behind all these soundtracks deserve some love, so feel free to check out the links and if you find something you love, consider buying the game, or their albums. Encourage the musicians and let them know that even mobile titles deserve great music. If they don’t know that they’re making an impact, future devs may not put as much attention to something as important as good music for their games, and the mobile market will be lesser for it.