Need an excuse to try out Apple's new streaming music service, Apple Music? How about listening to some of the finest video game soundtracks of recent memory, which can all be played, right now, for free.
Set up a free trial through the default music app (don't forget to turn off automatic renewal in the settings!) and you'll get access to millions of songs. Including: plenty of game music.
A lot of that stuff is boring orchestral nonsense and the sort of generic electro metal that plays while you murder robots. But here are 10 albums that are not only terrific soundscapes for gameplay, but just eminently listenable music in their own right.Deus Ex - Human Revolution
By Michael McCann - stream on Apple Music
Want to make checking your emails feel like hacking into the enemy mainframe? Then you'll want the thumping electro soundtrack to cyber shooter Deus Ex.
The album darts from high tempo battle music to the thick and gooey atmospheric stuff that plays when you explore those gold-tinted city streets. And it all kicks off with theme song Icarus which tightly weaves synth with roaring female vocals.Sword & Sworcery LP - The Ballad of the Space Babies
By Jim Guthrie - stream on Apple Music
Listen to Jim Guthrie's soundtrack for quirky iOS adventure Sword & Sworcery while you're out in the woods, and you'll swear you've just stumbled into an alternative dimension.
Nothing in this game, from the art to the gameplay to the spelling, conformed to the rigid fantasy tropes of sword and sorcery games. And the music is no exception: instead, we get a weird nightmare maelstrom of odd instruments and tones.
It's out of this world.Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - The Game
By Anamanaguchi - stream on Apple Music
Anything from chip tune genius Anamanguchi is worth a listen, including its rocking soundscape for pixel art brawler Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Most songs are like a mix between a summer anthem pop song and a Super Nintendo soundtrack - melodic and catchy, but built from bleeps and bloops and chunky digital noises.
You could never have got this to work on the retro hardware that the game is inspired by, of course, but those familiar noises will transport your brain back to 1994, none the less.
If it goes that far.Mirror's Edge Original Videogame Score
Solar Fields - stream on Apple Music
Just like Portal, the Mirror's Edge music is often overshadowed by a song called "Still Alive". This time, it's by Lisa Miskovsky. And, to her credit, it is a strong and soaring piece that fits the game.
But don't miss the other ten songs on there. The combat tunes are a little naff, but the fuzzy ambient tracks that play when you explore the game's squeaky clean dystopia - or pound across its rooftops - are worth a listen.Hohokum
By Various Artists - stream on Apple Music
Okay, we're cheating with this one. Much of the soundtrack for hokey snake 'em up Hohokum is borrowed from albums by artists like Tycho, Com Truise, and Shigeto to form an eclectic mix that matches the oddball worlds you visit and play around in.
But it's to Honeyslug's credit that it works as a whole, giving you a weird and unpredictable soundscape to escape into. And if you want to brush up on your chill-out electrowave, this is a good starting point.The Last of Us
By Gustavo Santaolalla - stream on Apple Music
Any big console game that shuns the temptation to do a boring orchestral score should be commended. And it pays off: Gustavo Santaolalla's haunting folksy score for The Last of Us is one of the most memorable parts of that game.
It's not your average post-apocalyptic soundtrack. It sort of hearkens back to a better time with its soft guitar, but then layers on the mounting dread of a dead world where mushroom-headed men are trying to bite on your jugular like a chicken drumstick.The Songs of Wasteland - Music As Heard In Fallout 3
By Various Artists - stream on Apple Music
And speaking of unconventional music for an end of the world game, it's the bonkers old timey collection from Fallout 3 which features ancient artists like The Ink Spots and Billie Holiday.
In the game, the bizarre disconnect of crackly piano music and the horrors of supping irradiated toilet water made for one chilling experience. And now, my stupid brain automatically associates music from the 30s with bandit attacks and Deathclaws.Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon
By Jarome and Joel Harmsworth - stream on Apple Music
Ubisoft's attempt to make an interactive action movie of the 1980 wasn't entirely successful. But you can't fault that soundtrack which seems like it got here in a time machine.
It's a driving synthwave wonder that sounds like John Carpenter just got an electric shock before sitting down at a KORG. Throw in a booming war drum beat and you've got an album that will make everything you do 80 times more epic.Botanicula
By DVA - stream on Apple Music
Botanicula is about nature, and nature is noisy. All discordant sounds of the wind and rain and bird calls and skittish animals racing through leaves.
The game's charming soundtrack, from DVA, captures that organic chaos.
It's all weird noises and found sounds and cheeky vocals, but wrapped up in pleasant melodies. Like an orchestra played in a rain forest, or summin'.Fez
By Disasterpeace - stream on Apple Music
Colourful pixel art platformer Fez needed a soundtrack that captured the adventure, mystery, and surprise of exploring its unpredictable 3D world. And Disasterpeace delivered.
You feel like you're off on a journey into the unknown, with just your tiny red hat for company. And the sharp digital sounds give it a retro feel that ties the music into Polytron's hard-edged art.