Now that the first two months of the year have passed, it’s time to start off the new round of music highlights. Officially, I waited until February had concluded so there’d be more notable game music to talk about. Unofficially, I completely forgot to do this last month. There were really only two soundtracks to talk about from January, so this issue will end up being a pretty normal length despite double-dipping. So let’s get right to it.
The newest entry in Capcom’s long-running series has been an absolute monster of a success so far, and it barely feels like the like hype around the game is slowing down. This is owed to the fact that the game just gets so much right. There are several reasons it’s the most successful in the series. One of them is the game's phenomenal score, courtesy of Akihiko Narita and Zhenlan Kang.
The other standout from January was the incredible score for the massively challenging platformer from the team behind Towerfall Ascension. The game’s piano-heavy score is achingly beautiful, offering a surprisingly calm mood given how downright tricky the game can be at times. Courtesy of composer Lena Raine, Celeste is one of the early front runners for best soundtrack of the year.
Bluepoint Games’ remake of Team Ico’s classic title brought a new coat of paint to one of gaming’s greatest soundtracks as well. Kow Otani’s masterpiece of a score is mercifully kept intact throughout the re-release, offering the perfect accompaniment to the traumatising and haunting beauty of felling the behemoths present in the game. If the act of killing the colossi doesn’t get you teary-eyed, the music certainly will.
While the remaster of this game didn’t fare nearly as well as Shadow of the Colossus, this doesn’t change the fact the music is utterly remarkable. While the new arrangements - courtesy of Sachiko Miyano - are more orchestral and naturally rather different from Hiorki Kikuta’s original NES score, the DNA remains intact, bringing with it a new sense of beauty and rediscovery.
One of the strongest areas of the Devolver published 80’s extravaganza was its music. The mixture of the ever-growing synthwave genre, with a more traditional orchestral score made for a successful, if somewhat eclectic soundtrack. Timecop1983 and Chris Köbke delivered a knockout score that was so 80s that it could’ve been pulled straight out of the ambient music that played around EPCOT when it first opened. And as a mega Disney fan, this is high praise indeed.
Sprint Vector is probably the first really great VR title of the year, with its colourful, energetic, borderline physically taxing gameplay coming front and centre. But one important aspect of capturing the game’s frantic pace is Spencer Kitagawa’s music, which is keeping up right alongside all the racers.
Polyarc’s outrageously charming VR title about the adorable mouse, Quill, has an incredible number of things on its side. Much like Sprint Vector, it’s one of the year’s early quality VR titles, and the score is simply delightful. It richly captures the fantasy look and feel of the title, and truly helps transport you into world as much as the headset itself does. As far as I can tell, there’s no formal soundtrack release just yet, but I really hope that changes, and soon.
Now that I'm back on the horse for 2018, the flood of game music is starting to come in. The first couple of months have offered quite a bit to talk about between them, so it's nice to see such a strong showing early on. Anything deserving attention from the first couple of months of the year I missed? Let me know in the comments!