It began with Cave Story, A 2D platform run-and-gun developed entirely by Daisuke Amaya. Then, as time went on, other independently developed #games found their way into the limelight. Games like Super Meat Boy, Minecraft, and Dust: an Elysian Tail showed the world how fun, expansive, and creative indie games could be.
It's 2017 and the indie scene is only getting stronger. Not only do these games look good and play good, they also sound good. Some of the best soundtracks I've ever heard belong to indie games and that's the topic of the day.
The following are five my favorite soundtracks to hit the indie scene. I'll be going over the things that make the soundtrack memorable and I'll be sharing my favorite song from each soundtrack. So, let's get into the groove with my first pick.
5. Cave Story
I look at Cave Story as the grandfather of indie games. It came out way back in 2004, predating all other big name indie titles. This 2D platformer has a very simplistic style in both look and sound that makes the game stick in your head. Daisuke Amaya crafted a versatile 8-bit sound track that hits all kinds of feels.
The Mimiga Town theme is a slow paced, upbeat tune that reflects the laid back and peace loving nature of the majority of the Mimiga population. On the other hand, Scorching Back — the song that plays during your second trip to the Egg Corridor — is fast-paced and hectic, to give the feeling of a situation that is getting more dire by the second.
Then there's Moonsong, my favorite song in Cave's Story's sound track. It plays in the latter half of the game, as you ascend the outer wall of the floating island. And a slow and gentle song that really gives the feeling of being up in the clouds as the wind blows on by. Close your eyes while this song is playing and just try not to imagine yourself floating high in the sky.
If you enjoy 8-bit beats, check out this soundtrack. I don't recommend the remastered version over the original as I think they're equally good in their own way.
4. Binding of Issac: Rebirth
So you're a little naked boy running around a dark maze full of horrible disgusting monsters in a bid to escape your bible crazed mother. Don't expect this game to have a soundtrack that'll bring about nice happy feels because it won't.
This remastering of the original Binding Of Issac features a soundtrack that is heavy on the orchestra and the percussion, especially in later levels in the game. The music in this game ranges from angry and fast to slow and sombre, but never passing into the realm of happiness, not even close.
Even places like the angel rooms (Empty Vessels) and the cathedral (Everlasting Hymn) meant to invoke heaven and light are accompanied by an unsettling score. Then there are places like Sheol and the Catacombs (with songs entitled Duress and Capiticus Calvaria respectively) are just plain evil, as reflected by the music.
So, If I were to pick a favorite from such a bleak soundtrack, it would have to be Hericide, the song that plays as you duke it out with the prince of darkness himself.
The choir, the orchestra, and the guitar are all blended into a whirlpool of fury that is quite fitting for a fight with the Devil. It's fast-paced, heavy, and powerful. It helps give the feeling that you are up against something that is equal parts evil and powerful. Pop this soundtrack into your ears if you want to take a walk on the dark side.
3. Castle Crashers
On the flip side, you have the soundtrack to Castle Crashers. From the title screen to the final boss, this sound track paints a picture of an epic quest. Fast-paced and energizing music will accompany you as you traverse the land to kick ass, take names, collect loot and rescue princesses.
Much like the knights themselves, the music in this game evokes the powerful feeling of kicking ass. The point is that the music makes you feel strong and ready to take on whatever challenges lay ahead of you.
There are plenty of good songs to choose from. There's the intro theme, Four Brave Champions. This song uses a light hearted combination of orchestra and choir to create an epic and victorious sound that makes you feel like you are a knight, a hero to the people.
Then you have Rage of the Champions, a much heavier sounding song that evokes imagoes of medieval warfare and battle. Finally, you have Chaoz Japan, a lightning fast techno song that plays as you fight ninjas on the high seas, and yes, it's as awesome as it sounds.
My number one pick from this soundtrack has to be Archetype. This song plays as you're about to rescue a princess. Before you do that, however, you have to pummel your teammates into the ground so that you can get the chance to cut her free and make out with her.
It's a chaotic and hectic track that is perfect for a confrontation between two or more players. If you like music that's fast and energizing, give this this soundtrack a try. It will make you want to venture forth and kick ass.
2. Dust: An Elysian Tail
It was hard not to put this game on top of the list — very hard. Dust: An Elysian Tail has one of the most beautiful soundtracks I've ever heard in a game.
Dust's soundtrack relies on gentle orchestrated songs to enhance the feeling of enchantment and wonder the game wants you to experience. No matter where you are, the music is there to deliver the feeling that there is some kind of magic at work.
The soundtrack is also as varied as it is beautiful. On one side of the spectrum, you're making your way through a forest with a soft, lighthearted score in the background (Abadis Forest). On the other side, you're in an old haunted mansion where the music brings a cold unsettling chill and then you find yourself chased by a horrifying spectre (No Rest For The Wicked).
However, there is one song that stands out from all the other songs in Dust's soundtrack. It's the first song you hear when you boot up the game and it plays after you defeat a boss. Ladies and gentlemen: Falana.
At first I thought this song was just a nice song to play for the intro screen. But when you reach certain parts of the game, this song will make you cry harder than the first time you saw Bambi's mom getting shot.
This song combines feelings of sorrow and loss with a sense of hope that perfectly encapsulates the overall theme of Dust. If you like soft orchestrated music with a variety of tones, this will do the trick.
Undertale is one of those games that takes you by surprise. If you saw the trailer for the game before launch, you probably would have thought “Oh, it's an 8-bit RPG where you don't have to kill anyone? That's an interesting gimmick.”
I laugh at my past self now because Undertale is so much more. I could gush about this game for days but I already have a review for that so let's just focus on the soundtrack, shall we? At first glance, you would expect Undertale to have a purely 8-bit soundtrack to match the graphics. In reality, Undertale's soundtrack is all over the place, in a good way.
Let's list off the kinds of songs Undertale has in that soundtrack, shall we? We have: calm, lighthearted, cheery, mysterious, industrial, hectic, sad, surreal, disturbing, epic, heartbreaking and glamorous. This soundtrack has it all, and each song fits the mood to a T.
Undertale has enjoyed a strong following since it's release and the soundtrack is no different. It's songs are all over YouTube, some with tens of millions of hits. From Bonetrousle to Heartache to Spear of Justice. If you're a fan of Undertale, you probably think you know what my favourite song is, so I won't waste anymore time.
My favorite song in Undertale is: Hopes and Dreams
Yeah, you thought is was going to be Megalovania, didn't you? Megalovania is an awesome song and it has a very secure spot on my playlist. Still, Hopes and Dreams is more than just a good song to me.
This song inspired me to start writing about games in the first place. More on that later. Where do I even start with this song? It's the final boss theme for the fight against Asriel in the True Pacifist run. This song is amazing. It starts out soft and quiet and then it quickly blasts you with fast paced, epic musical brilliance. It really makes you feel like you are the only thing standing in the way of the world being destroyed.
Since your opponent is the “God of Hyperdeath” that isn't far from the truth. Still, with this music playing in the background, you'll definitely have enough determination to see the fight through.
My mind was blown apart when I first encountered this boss. I actually stopped in the middle of the fight just so that I could listen to the music. When I completed the game, the song was still playing loud and clear in my head, as though I were still playing. Up until that point I had been thinking about starting up a blog of my own and writing about video games and sharing my love and passion for gaming with anyone who would stop and read what I had to say.
Until I heard that song, I didn't have the guts to try because I thought I didn't have what it took to write something that people would enjoy. With Hopes and Dreams playing in my head, I said “Screw it” and put fingers to keyboard and I've never looked back.
I might not have the views that some of my fellow #Creators have but I love writing and I love having people read and enjoy my work. Undertale's soundtrack has filled me with determination and it can do the same for you.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, check my out on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on upcoming articles. If you know of other indie titles with awesome soundtracks, share them with me in the comments below. One last thing, if you haven't played any of these games, give them a shot, they play as good as they sound.