Speaking of Richard Vreeland, this game music is beautiful. I often have to stop playing because the soundtrack keeps moving me too much.
Hyper Light Drifter - The Midnight Wood
Notice how the Drifter and the broken down, disused golem are sitting in the exact same posture. There are tons of wonderful details like this all over. There is an extensive map to pore over with arcane, decipherable runes that have real, salient import as to Why You Are Here.
A second track from the game receiving an honorable mention is Titan. It reminds me of my grandfather dying of Covid last November. Some mountains you climb, others you experience; the look on his face was one of labor. The music has profound chords, build, and a subtle, slow, resonating heartbeat percussion.
And now from Yasunori Mitsuna:
Chrono Trigger - Main Theme
I was living in Japan at the time this trailer was released, and remember encountering it in a Tokyo bookshop that also sold video games. I stood there and stared at this video clip on repeat that seemed to invite the viewer into an expansive story with detailed characters and lighting and backgrounds. Not as obvious yet subtly present was the fact there were no battle transitions; characters would just whip out their swords on set in an apparent cut scene, but no: that’s how the game plays.
I learned the word leitmotif because of this track.
Massive Chalice - The People’s View
The time frame is 300 years, and your mortal heroes will not survive. But… maybe you can cultivate positive traits passed down through generations that will help you win the war. Heritability is a central gameplay mechanic in this unique gem. I like the violins on this track, and it’s a good melody.
The Void (Tension) - Sister’s Greenhouse
This is the game I 100% would have wanted to design. It’s about bodies, relationships, alchemy, and gardening in the afterlife. What you are after is color, which is simultaneously your currency, hit points, mana, and attribute modifiers. All of those things, together at the same time. The goal is to be reborn.
I like how the track starts slow with the sound of vinyl fuzz, with mallets or an out of tune piano and some strings playing somewhat randomly, then the chord suddenly shifts. Later, things become rhythmic with an increased tempo, and mechanized.