Journey is an experience immersed in your senses, one that uses sight and sound to brilliant effect. Because of this, is should come as no surprise that the Grammy award-winning soundtrack by Austin Wintory is one of the most relaxing in all of video games.
The stunningly gorgeous soundtrack is the perfect partner to the exploration-based gameplay of Journey, increasing the tension in the proper areas, while slowing down and becoming more ethereal in others.
Austin Wintory has gone on to do other phenomenal soundtracks, like The Banner Saga and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, but Journey still stands as his greatest work, and one of the best video game soundtracks ever created.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Animal Crossing is one of those games you play when you just want to kick back for a few hours and turn off your brain. Having your very own animal-filled town creates an incredible gameplay loop, and the laid back soundtrack only helps to reinforce the overall feeling.
Everything about Animal Crossing’s OST makes it perfect for a relaxing session, whether you’re trying to get to sleep or have a study session. The nighttime music is especially comforting, just listen to the 1 A.M. music as an example, and of course, don’t forget about the iconic singing dog, K.K. Slider.
Donkey Kong Country 2
David Wise is a storied composer in video games responsible for the music of titles like Battletoads, but Donkey Kong Country easily takes the cake for his best work. Besides just being a fantastic game in general, Donkey Kong Country 2 has an incredibly soothing soundtrack that really helps emphasize the tone and themes of the game.
Donkey Kong Country 2 is truly a shining example of what composers could do with the limited sound options of the SNES. All you need as proof to this is one of the most beloved video game songs of all time, Stickerbrush Symphony.
Stardew Valley is another one of those experiences like Animal Crossing; a game that can be ultimately relaxing, and even soothing to a degree. What makes this soundtrack even more amazing is that the game’s sole developer, Eric Barone, also composed the entirety of the soundtrack.
With over 70 tracks, Stardew Valley really helps you get into the mood of building your own farm with a super laid back soundtrack, that also manages to hit an emotional chord at times. Even just the main theme is enough to know what kind of experience you’re in for.
Super Mario Galaxy
The Mario series has always had fantastic music, hatched from the mind of the series’ composer Koji Kondo. However, Super Mario Galaxy really took the franchise to new heights, both literally and figuratively.
Launching Mario into space needed an appropriately epic soundtrack and it fits that bill, but it also manages to be surprisingly relaxing at many turns. From the slow-paced Luma’s Theme to the thematically surprising Space Junk Galaxy Theme, Super Mario Galaxy is filled with songs you can listen to in any situation.
It may not be the soundtrack you want to go to sleep to, but if you’re just looking to kick back and relax, we’d recommend starting with the Gusty Garden Galaxy.
Persona 4 Golden
Shoji Meguro is easily one of the most talented composers working in video games today, and that talent shines through clear as day in the Persona series. Yes, Persona 3 and Persona 5 have phenomenal soundtracks, but Persona 4 Golden still stands out as the very best.
The pop-infused music of Persona 4 gives the game serious personality, different from any other JRPG out there. While not all of the massive soundtrack may be considered “relaxing,” a large portion of it is, and, in particular, all of the exploration music is super calming.
From Your Affection to Heartbeat Heartbreak, this soundtrack is truly a masterpiece. However, the Persona 4 Golden exclusive song, Snowflakes, is probably the most relaxing tune of the whole series.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild’s soundtrack is incredibly relaxing due to the fact that so much of it uses ambient noise, helping to reinforce the feeling of discovery and exploration. It’s a far cry from other Zelda games, but one that perfectly matches how different Breath of the Wild is from the rest of the franchise.
It’s the perfect soundtrack you might want to listen to while going to sleep, or while studying for something. Sure, there are a few intense songs, but by and large Breath of the Wild is one of the most laid back and atmospheric soundtrack out there. Just listen to Rito Village as an example.
Every single Supergiant title could be on here, but Pyre takes the spot simply because it’s the most ambitious. Darren Korb is the composer behind all of Supergiant’s games, and he really outdid himself with the music of Pyre.
Pyre is a very solitary experience that has your caravan traveling through the dangerous lands of the Downside, a mystical purgatory that criminals and dissidents get thrown into. The soundtrack perfectly matches this solitude, with plenty of slow and calming tunes.
The soundtrack makes liberal use of guitar and vocals, which play to its strengths in multiple songs, like the main theme, In the Flame.
Child of Light
Child of Light is one of the most unique games Ubisoft has made in years, focusing on a young princess named Aurora who wakes up in a fantasy world after, presumably, dying in her sleep. Despite being a western game, Child of Light heavily matches the JRPG style, and with that comes a gorgeous soundtrack.
The soundtrack heavily uses the piano to great emotional effect, and although it isn’t a terribly long game it has a wide array of songs. Just listen to the gorgeous Aurora’s Theme and you’ll know.
Florence is an emotional tale from start to finish, one that deals in human emotions and the nature of relationships. It’s not an incredibly long game, but it’s one that can resonate with anyone and everyone.
Part of what helps Florence achieve this is a beautiful soundtrack that feels like it’d be right at home in a Pixar movie. It’s playful and emotional, but the slow pace of most of the songs help make it incredibly relaxing. Whether its the main theme, or Memories, each song in this soundtrack is calming.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda games have always been about crafting your own story in a massive world, but Skyrim took that to the next level with an experience that immediately dropped you into an ambitious fantasy world.
Of course, everyone knows The Elder Scrolls theme, but Skyrim was filled with relaxing songs that’d play while you’re simply poking around the world. A lot of it is ambient music, but it’s a soundtrack that perfectly lets you immerse yourself in the world of Skyrim, or can help when you just need to relax.
Minecraft is one of the biggest phenomenons we’ve ever seen in video games, taking the world by storm over the last decade or so. Tons of players found out how much fun it can be to roam around their own blocky world and build literally whatever they want.
While you might have trouble remembering any exact tunes from Minecraft, it’s atmospheric soundtrack is incredibly calming. It’s meant to encourage your exploration and immersion, and boy does it achieve that super well.: Video credit NycrypticProject
Do you have any other video game soundtracks that you listen to when relaxing? Let us know what they are down in the comments below.