10 cheerful video game music tracks to brighten your afternoon

Are you sad? With today’s news about Kiryu Coco, I am. But you know what always helps me pick myself up off the floor and get ready to do something more productive than staring at the wall? Video game music.

So with that in mind, if you’re in need of a little lift this afternoon — regardless of your feelings towards draconic VTubers — here are ten cheerful tracks to brighten your mood. Nothing in particular in common between them, other than the fact that they are, in some way, cheerful.

Please enjoy!

Fly Above the Sky (Dodonpachi Resurrection)

You can’t beat a good shoot ’em up for some uplifting, inspiring music, and this is one of my all-time favourites. Hailing from the iOS release of Cave’s classic bullet hell title Dodonpachi Resurrection (also known as Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu), it’s a cheery, delightful way to kick off the first level… but only in the iOS-specific game mode.

For some reason, the entire soundtrack heard in this iOS-exclusive game mode was never incorporated into any other version of the game, including the “complete” Xbox 360 and PC ports. And good luck trying to get the iOS version running on a modern iOS device… that is, if you can even find a means of downloading a copy these days.

Still, we’ll always have this tune to lift our spirits!

Okay, Everyone! (Doki Doki Literature Club)

Your exact response to this piece will likely vary according to whether or not you actually played Dan Salvato’s modern classic Doki Doki Literature Club through to its conclusion, but on a surface level at least, there should be no denying that this is a cheery, bouncy little number that evokes pleasant feelings of warm, lazy summer afternoons spent in the company of your best friends.

I’ll say no more than that. I just like this piece.

Toy Box (Grisaia)

Again, there’s a certain amount of context with this one that may cause you to have certain… feelings about it and the character it represents.

But regardless of everything we went through together back when I experienced Grisaia for the first time, I can’t help but smile any time I think of Michiru. And if you don’t know Michiru yet… 1) play Grisaia, and 2) just enjoy the happy tune.

Cieligne 1784 (Gundemonium Recollection)

Oh, is that the time? Yes, it’s time for another shoot ’em up track, this time from one of my favourite oft-overlooked and underappreciated bullet hell blasters for PC: Gundemonium Recollection from Platine Dispositif.

This track accompanies the game’s third level, in which you take to the skies and are promptly assaulted by a barrage of missiles, bullets and bunny girls with no trousers on. Sounds like a good way to spend the afternoon.

Baby Bird (Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk)

Anyone who has played the Atelier Dusk series will be very familiar with the character Wilbell, since she appears in all three installments — and she’s always accompanied by some variant of this theme, which captures her bouncy, vibrant personality perfectly.

Of the three “mixes” of Wilbell’s theme, this original version from Atelier Ayesha remains my favourite since I think it’s the best fit for Wilbell’s youthful exuberance. Plus I have a soft spot for any piece of music with the guts to put the main melody on the timpani, if only for a moment.

Papaya (Final Fantasy XIV)

It can be Easter (sorry, “Hatching-tide”) any time of year if you just slap this track from Final Fantasy XIV’s ever-expanding soundtrack on your playlist. This was an immediate hit the first time we heard it in-game — and it’s made a return every time the celebrations roll around.

With how “serious” a lot of Final Fantasy XIV’s soundtrack is, music tracks like this remind us that composer Masayoshi Soken never forgets that sometimes we just want to have a bit of silly fun.

Mirror and Anklet (Poison Control)

Bit of ’80s inspired synthwave with a bit of dubstep for good measure? Poison Control has you covered — and as a reminder, this is a game that is likely to pass by largely unnoticed and vastly underappreciated, so do a good deed and give it a go today!

Poison Control’s vibrant music soundtrack is a big part of what makes the game experience as a whole so appealing — so if you can nab a copy of the limited edition with the soundtrack CD, you’ll be in heaven.

Doki Doki While You Work (Gal*Gun 2)

The Gal*Gun games are, in general, shots of pure, concentrated happiness. And as such, pretty much any music tracks from any of their respective soundtracks would fit right in here — but I’ve always had a soft spot for this one.

It’s got a pleasantly nostalgic yet earnest feeling about it, and fits perfectly with the ridiculous action unfolding on screen. A prime example of how the Gal*Gun series is amusing and silly, yes — but it also has heart.

One Scene (Megadimension Neptunia VII)

The Neptunia series is known for its on-the-nose parodies, and this excellent track from Megadimension Neptunia VII is a perfect homage to the “everyday theme” music heard in a million and one visual novels out there.

It also fits nicely with Neptune’s happy-go-lucky personality, and creates the impression of a world where nothing could possibly ever go wrong… but, well… you know how things tend to go.

Silver Lining (Eschatos)

What’s that? One more shoot ’em up track, you say? Well, sure, who am I to deprive you of one of the greatest “level 1” pieces of music ever composed, from one of my favourite shoot ’em ups of all time?

Eschato’s soundtrack by Yousuke Yasui is a real highlight of the experience as a whole, blending synthesised instruments that wouldn’t have sound out of place in the 32-bit era with some complex, richly textured compositions that make it abundantly clear you’re listening to something modern.

How’s that then? Feeling better yet…?

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Pete Davison
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