It’s summer! Well, not technically. But seeing as most pools have been officially opened and plenty of folks have set out on their summer vacations, it’s time to sit back and relax with some of the best beach and ocean music gaming has to offer. Just stay away from sharks.
The world of gaming is rife with water-based levels and settings. They have personally been the bane of my existence since the days of the original Super Mario Bros. trilogy. I mean, who enjoys water physics? Who enjoys drowning? The music is aways the best part.
Dire Dire Docks - Super Mario 64
There’s no song better to drown to (or be eaten by an eel) than Mario 64's original underwater tune. Though it actually first appears in Jolly Rodger Bay, it takes its name from a future stage. Whether you’re rocketing over the water from a canon blast or diving for red coins, this track will also be just the right tempo to keep you calm.
OH GOD, HERE COMES THE EEL!
Katamaresort Song - Katamari Forever
Rolling up to the beach takes new meaning when Katamari is involved. It’s the only track on the list to feature actual vocals, though chances are you don’t speak Japanese. Just sit back and know that what ever is being said is probably really strange. Katamari is just like that.
Irate Eight (Underwater) - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
The Donkey Kong Country series is well known for it’s astounding soundtracks. In fact Donkey Kong Country 2 is regarded by many as having the best OST in gaming history. So why choose a track from Tropical Freeze? Simple. It manages to fuse together the two most popular DKC underwater tracks, Aquatic Ambiance and Lockjaw’s Saga, into one glorious melody. Pure bliss.
Sea of Serendipity (World Map) - Rayman Origins
The Rayman series’ 2D reboot caught many off guard when it dropped in 2011. Not only because it was one of the best platformers in years, but also because it had one of the best soundtracks in recent memory. The crisp visuals and smooth controls may have helped add to the underwater atmosphere, but the music brought it all together.
Castle City - Wave Race 64
Nothing screams ‘90s like this upbeat Wave Race 64 tune. One of the first N64 titles released by Nintendo, Wave Race made its way into many gamers collections and hearts. Tearing up the waves as you bust out impressive backflips is the only true way to celebrate the summer.
Angel Island Zone - Sonic 3
Underwater sonic is terrifying. Sonic doesn’t really swim so much as he just walks and jumps around in slow motion, franticly attempting to not run out of air. I’m certain he feel more at home on the land, where he’s not subjected to smashing his face into large bubbles to stay conscious. Angel Island Zone is the ideal vacation spot for anyone who has to go fast.
5PM - Animal Crossing New Leaf
While there is nothing explicitly aquatic about this particular song, it does have some lovely tropical themes strewn throughout. Since every Animal Crossing village has it’s own ocean it’s a good time to catch some fish, go for a swim or just look out over the ocean while your neighbor tells you for the 100th time that they wish they could high five the sun.
Besaid Island - Final Fantasy
When Tidus arrives in Besaid, he takes a blitzball to the head. After dazzling Wakka and the Aurochs with some fancy, Grade A Blitzball skills, he quickly realizes he has no idea where he is. Worse, Wakka thinks he’s a crazy person. They chalk it up to a close encounter to Sin. Besaid has your typical island flair in its music. It’s peaceful, breezy and as easygoing and playful as its friendly people.
Dragon Roost Island - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Hoy, Small Fry! The Wind Waker is easily (and obviously) the most ocean-centric Zelda game to date. There are dozens of islands to discover and plenty of music to accompany them. Dragon Roost beats them out due to its swarthy Latin charm and kicking beats. It’ll make you want to slice up Gohma’s eye all over again.
Treasure Trove Cove - Banjo-Kazooie
Mario 64 may have introduced the 3D platformer to the world, but Banjo-Kazooie perfected it. I may be a little biased, as it’s far and away my favorite game of all time. Not only that, but Treasure Trove Cove is the best level within Banjo Kazooie. It’s also the best (see only) game to feature a pirate hippo who only speaks in burps.