2015 is almost over, and there were many awesome new game scores that came with it. However, not enough of them receive the attention and recognition they deserve, so before Star Wars comes out and we all get lost in the new John Williams themes, here are five lesser known game soundtracks that are worth checking out. So, in no particular order, here they are.
Tinertia – Jeff Swingle
Turns out platformers are hard without a jump button. Instead, you use rockets to boost yourself around the game, which is fun and INCREDIBLY challenging. Fortunately, the music does a pretty good job of keeping you sane. As you take the little robot Weldon on an intense journey filled with many deaths, you are accompanied by groovy electronica, with synths that change depending upon where you are. The bosses tend to have heavier, fatter synths, while Weldon is represented lighter more punctuated colors and tones. The two types of synths then interact and clash as you rocket jump your way to victory over the boss. Check out the score at https://jeffswinglemusic.bandcamp.com/, and play the game if you want a challenge similar to that of Super Meat Boy!
Grow Home – Lewis Griffin
Although the official OST is only two tracks, I wanted to include it here because the game and audio soundscape deserve more attention. This game was made in house at Ubisoft to test out new climbing mechanics, and Lewis Griffin is part of the team there. In Grow Home, you take control of B.U.D (Biotanical Utility Droid) and are tasked with climbing up from the planet’s surface towards your ship 2000 meters above you, collecting crystals along the way. The audio in game is incredibly simple, mainly just ambient music and sound effects, but it creates an amazing surreal vibe as you climb higher up and create your own pathways to the many floating islands. The audio creates a calm relaxing and fun atmosphere for the player that emphasizes how breathtaking the world is as you look down at where you started. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCARASEr3BE
Undertale – Toby “Radiation” Fox
What an adorable game. While you explore the underground and choose whether or not to spare or battle the cute creatures you find, the score accompanies you with light punctuated piano and orchestra, blended together with the old chiptune sound. The game’s soundtrack reminds me of the original Pokemon score, especially with its implementation. It abruptly transitions from encounter, to explore, and back. Anyone looking for that classic video game sound with a modern twist will find that Undertale wonderfully satisfies that cute, yet moving and emotional music found in games from the SNES era. https://tobyfox.bandcamp.com/album/undertale-soundtrack
Titan Souls – David Fenn
In Titan Souls, you are the lone hero tasked with defeating the 19 titans on your quest for truth and power. The music does a great job at creating this grand; yet empty atmosphere. And the sense of loneliness it creates as you progress through the world on your journey to brings a solemnness otherwise lost. The game takes place in a world between the Earth and what lies beyond. As a result, you are alone in on your journey between battles, accompanied only by the music. The solemnness of the world can even be felt during the battle tracks.
The music draws inspiration from soundtracks like Zelda and Shadow of the Colossus, with the occasional electric guitar tossed in. Every titan has its own unique theme, making each encounter different and giving it personality. And the instant you die, the music abruptly ends, brutally signaling your defeat. Check out the score here, and go play the game! http://www.davidfennmusic.com/
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture – Jessica Curry
I love this game and this score. Jessica Curry has created amazing work before with Dear Esther, and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, but this score is easily my favorite of hers. This is another game where you are completely alone, no one else to interact with at all. The game takes you through several people’s lives as you explore a town now completely vacant of all life after “the rapture”. The music is gorgeous, haunting, and totally sweeping. The choral and vocal parts evoke an ancient sound that one associates with Gregorian chants and other religious choral works, creating this other worldly sound and sense that you are leaving the world you know. The score is eerily joyous, celebrating the lives of these people, but never letting you forget that their time here is over.
Much like Dear Esther, the music doesn’t loop at all. As you progress through the game and hit certain story beats and check points, the music enters and plays through its entirety as past lives play out in front of you. Slowly, the player learns what happened to the town and its inhabitants, and the music accents these moments with beauty and gravity. I cannot say enough good things about this game and its score. Support her here, http://www.jessicacurry.co.uk/ and pick up the soundtrack on Amazon!
There were many great soundtracks this year and plenty more who deserve a listen, but these are the ones that I had a chance to play. I’d love to know what scores you think deserve more recognition too! Thank you everyone for reading and keeping up with my adventures throughout the year. I’m excited to see what’s around the corner in 2016. 🙂