The Best Games To Play While Listening To Music

Highlights

  • Sometimes, it’s nice to mute the in-game music and listen to your own favorite songs while playing video games.
  • Games like Slay the Spire, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and Tetris 99 are perfect for playing while listening to music on the side.
  • Listening to music can enhance the experience and provide a change of atmosphere during repetitive gameplay or long gaming sessions.

THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

It’s easy to lose hundreds of hours playing certain video games. Whether you’re running around checking off every box on your to-do list or simply engaging with the game’s world and mechanics, you might end up hearing the same song playing in the background for long periods of time.

Related: Best Original Songs In Games

If you’re struggling to defeat a difficult boss or playing more Gwent in The Witcher than you anticipated, it’s nice to mute your TV and listen to some of your favorite music or an album you’ve been holding off on. The music in the game you’re playing is likely phenomenal, but sometimes a change of atmosphere during repetitive gameplay sequences and minigames is also welcome.

Updated October 25, 2023 by Kyle Chamaillard: Whether you’re grinding through levels in the latest title or playing the same game that’s kept you busy for years, it’s still nice to find time to mute your TV so you can listen to something else for a bit. We’ve decided to update this list to include even more of the best games perfect for playing while listening to music on the side.

15 Slay The Spire

The Defect uses an electric attack on a Blue Slaver

Slay the Spire

Platforms
Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Android

Released
November 14, 2017

Developer
Mega Crit Games

Genre
Roguelike, deck-building, strategy

Slay the Spire launched on most platforms in 2019 and continues to be one of the most popular games in the deck-building genre. It features unique characters that significantly affect the gameplay and an overwhelming amount of cards that create seemingly infinite strategies to experiment with.

Each run in Slay the Spire can last between five minutes to an hour, and it’s easy to start a new one immediately after facing defeat or victory. The music in Slay the Spire is perfect for setting up atmosphere and tension, but after completing your first few runs, you might be tempted to listen to something else as you continue to unlock new characters and items.

14 The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - Link falls through the sky toward an island

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom contains a massive open world that you can easily spend hundreds of hours exploring before advancing the narrative forward. Like Breath of the Wild, Tears of the Kingdom has an ambient quality that makes it feel harrowing but also invites you to provide your own background music for the epic adventure if you choose.

The score throughout the game is amazing and sets the tone perfectly, but with the amount of time you’ll likely spend exploring the Depths, Sky Islands, and everything in between, you might be tempted to throw something else on to help keep you moving. Between soundtracks from older Zelda titles or the newest album from your favorite band, the options are as limitless as the Zonai Devices scattered throughout Tears of the Kingdom.

13 Tetris 99

A Tetris 99 match

Tetris 99

Platform(s)
Switch

Released
February 13, 2019

Developer(s)
Arika

Genre(s)
Puzzle

Most battle royale games require you to pay full attention to your surroundings if you want to succeed. Turning down the volume in these titles means you won’t be able to hear enemy footsteps or incoming projectiles and can easily lead to an early demise.

Tetris 99 is one of the few games in the genre that doesn’t require audio for victory. The music is excellent — especially if you make it to the top fifty players — and there is a ton of variety with specific themes based on classic Nintendo titles. Still, it doesn’t hurt to throw on something else while you strive for a Tetris Maximus.

12 Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered

Spider-Man scrolls on his phone while a hamburger at night

Spider-Man rarely has a day off, and even after he saves the city from the Sinister Six, there are crimes all over New York City that need to be stopped to keep everyone safe. While the game allows you to fast travel to most locations to save time, nothing feels better than swinging around to a custom playlist full of your favorite songs.

If you’re looking to earn the platinum trophy for Spider-Man Remastered, there are going to be a lot of enemy bases to infiltrate, street crimes to stop, and Taskmaster challenges to keep you busy for hours at a time. After doing a few of these missions, you might want to listen to The Strokes or Velvet Underground as you continue to save New York City from a never-ending supply of henchmen.

11 Elden Ring

A Tarnished kneels with their sword in the ground

Elden Ring

Platform(s)
PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Xbox One X, PC

Released
February 25, 2022

Developer(s)
From Software

Genre(s)
RPG, Action, Action RPG, Soulslike

Elden Ring contains a sprawling open world full of challenging bosses, dungeons, and more. Nearly every element of the game — including the epic soundtrack — strengthens the experience and creates a sense of immersion that will keep you invested for hours at a time.

Related: Video Games With The Best Level Design

If you’re facing a boss for the tenth time, harvesting runes, or playing Elden Ring for the third go, it’s easy to change the game’s atmosphere by listening to music while playing it. If you’re fighting Godrick or Malenia with some Mastodon, Carly Rae Jepsen, or Vengaboys’ We Like To Party playing in the background, you might make more progress than ever before — and maybe finally take them down.

10 Mortal Kombat 1

Smoke summons Scorpion to attack Ashrah

Mortal Kombat 1

Platform(s)
PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Nintendo Switch, PC

Released
September 19, 2023

Developer(s)
NetherRealm Studios

Genre(s)
Fighting

The Mortal Kombat series is known for offering a plethora of single-player modes to help newcomers ease their way into the mechanics before hopping into an online match. Mortal Kombat 1 has a variety of classic modes — like towers, training, and more — as well as a new seasonal event known as Invasions that you can engage with to level up your characters and unlock new Fatalities and taunts.

There is a bit of a grind involved in unlocking every character’s full catalog of abilities, and the Invasions mode can also be fairly tedious. The sounds of punching and pain will echo in your ears after a while, so whether you are unlocking character endings in Tower mode or grinding for new gear, putting an album on in the background might help you feel like Rocky preparing for the next big fight.

9 Stardew Valley

A farmer stands in her field as the sun sets

Stardew Valley

Platform(s)
PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, iOS, Android, PS Vita

Released
February 26, 2016

Developer(s)
ConcernedApe

Genre(s)
RPG, Simulation

There are tons of fantastic games that let you build a farm and mingle with the locals, but few provide the feeling of progress and comfort as effortlessly as Stardew Valley. Whether you’re playing alone or with a friend, there is so much to do between work and socializing that you might want to throw on an album just to add something extra to the atmosphere as the virtual days fly by.

From taking care of your crops to exploring the mines, there is always going to be a bit of monotony in your everyday life in Stardew Valley. If you’re planning on spending an entire day or week progressing through these sections of the game, you can easily knock out an album or two before it’s time to harvest your crops and repeat the cycle again.

8 The Binding Of Isaac

Isaac is chased by four enemies in a small room

The Binding of Isaac

Platform(s)
PC

Released
September 28, 2011

Developer(s)
Edmund McMillen, Florian Himsl

Genre(s)
Roguelike

The Binding of Isaac made its debut in 2011 and was one of the first games to help popularize the roguelike genre. Inspired by The Legend of Zelda, this top-down dungeon crawler is full of new characters, items, and endings to unlock. If you’re playing the latest expansion, The Binding of Isaac: Repentance, it can take hundreds of hours to see everything the game has to offer.

It’s easy to sink hours into The Binding of Isaac in one sitting, as each run can be completely different from the one before. Listening to the same background music on a loop might not be ideal, so throwing on some of your own music could make escaping the basement a much more enjoyable experience.

7 Death Stranding

Sam Bridges stands in the rain

Death Stranding

Platform(s)
PS4, PS5, PC

Released
November 8, 2019

Developer(s)
Kojima Productions

Genre(s)
Action

Before setting off on a long trip, you might want to put some time aside to prepare a playlist for the journey. If you’re driving to work or walking across a post-apocalyptic America, music can help the time pass by quickly and distract you from the monotony of your travels.

Most of Death Stranding is about getting from point A to point B, and it can take quite some time to build the necessary items to reach your destination. You can listen to music from bands like Bring Me the Horizon and Chvrches in Sam’s private room, but he doesn’t have a portable music player for whenever he is outside. It’s easy to turn the volume down and listen to your own music while playing – as long as you stay on guard for BTs.

6 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

A skateboarder performs a trick on the Downhill Jam level

Every Tony Hawk game typically features a soundtrack of licensed songs from iconic bands like Dead Kennedys, Primus, and more that enhance the immersion of skateboarding through iconic locations. These soundtracks have a legendary reputation, but as great as they are, there is such a thing as listening to Superman by Goldfinger one too many times during a session.

There are just under 60 songs in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, but after listening to each of them enough times, you might want to listen to something else while you attempt to break your old high score on the Mall level. Whether you’re playing it on a console or PC, it’s super easy to turn the in-game music off, then throw on a record or Spotify to listen to whatever you want as you complete missions and reach new heights.

5 Ring Fit Adventure

The Ring Fit avatar runs down a path surrounded by grass

Ring Fit Adventure

Platform(s)
Switch

Released
October 18, 2019

Developer(s)
Nintendo EPD

Genre(s)
Sports

Whenever you go for a run or to the gym, you likely bring some music along with you to keep you motivated while you work out. Ring Fit Adventure is a unique game that comes with a controller that looks like a Pilates ring and allows you to exercise from the comfort of your own home. There is a compelling narrative throughout the game, but the experience is definitely better with some inspiring music blaring in the background.

Ring Fit Adventure’s campaign is roughly forty hours long, so if you only exercise for 30 minutes a day, it will be quite the journey before you finally defeat the final boss and watch the credits roll. Whether you create a specific playlist for your workouts or use the opportunity to listen to newer stuff you’re behind on, Ring Fit Adventure is one of the best games to play while listening to music.

4 Animal Crossing

Tom Nook and a group of villagers celebrate in a bridge

Animal Crossing is one of the few series that encourages you to relax and enjoy your time as you slowly work away at creating the perfect home. It’s one of the few series set to real-time, which means it takes place at the same time and day as you’re playing it, and is known for being a game that you can easily spend weeks, months, or even years playing before getting bored.

Related: The Best PC Games Like Animal Crossing

The soundtrack in each Animal Crossing game is diverse and full of catchy tracks, but after spending a couple of hundred hours listening to it, you might eventually want something else. Unlike most games, you don’t really need to concentrate on combat or solving puzzles, so you can throw on anything you like without having to worry about it being too distracting.

3 Pokemon

A giant Klawf looks down on a Sprigatito, Arven, and a Pokemon Trainer

Over time, Pokemon has become one of the best series to play while listening to some music on the side. It’s always worth listening to the game audio when you first walk into a new town or battle one of your rivals, but like most games, you’ll spend so much time in certain areas that it will be hard not to listen to something else to avoid hearing the same tune for hours on end.

Catching them all and completing your Pokedex is not an easy task, which is why you will most likely spend a bunch of time running in circles, either looking for rare Pokemon or leveling up your party to make them stronger. Long-time trainers know to have music ready for these long expeditions, especially if they plan on searching for a shiny variant of their favorite creature.

2 Vampire Survivors

Imelda uses her Magic Wand on a large group of enemies

Vampire Survivors

Platform(s)
PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Mobile

Released
December 17, 2021

Developer(s)
Luca Galante

Genre(s)
Roguelike

One of the most surprising aspects of Vampire Survivors is how well it balances being both a roguelike and an idle game. The first five to ten minutes of any run are dedicated to building your character up to an unstoppable force of nature, while the rest of the game is essentially just you taking out thousands of enemies without taking a step.

The music in Vampire Survivors is perfect for setting the tone of the game and creating a killer atmosphere, but once you play each map a few times, you might want something else to score your run. The most you can play on a majority of the maps in Vampire Survivors is thirty minutes, which means you can almost listen to an entire album while you slay thousands of undead minions.

1 Picross

A Picross puzzle reveals a fighter

Whether you’re playing a JRPG, MMO, or any other genre of game, there is usually a moment when you realize you could probably be listening to music instead of hearing the game audio over and over again. Whatever you choose to throw on can change the entire tone of whichever situation you’re in, for better or worse. Picross — and many puzzle games like it — is one of the few series that doesn’t lose any of its magic if you decide to mute it for something else.

Like solving a daily crossword or cross-stitching, playing Picross is almost better when paired with a secondary activity like watching a movie or listening to music. Its puzzles are meant to be relaxing, and solving them while finally catching up on your favorite band’s discography can be an incredible way to wind down after a long week.

Next: Best Puzzle Games On The DS & 3DS

Leave a Comment