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Fresh Sunlight: Plants vs. Zombies OST (Review)

June 4, 2012 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Fresh Sunlight: Plants vs. Zombies OST (Review)on Twitter

As you may have heard, the Plants vs. Zombies soundtrack by Laura Shigihara is one of the 5 albums available now in the “pay what you want” offer from the Indie Music Bundle 3.

If you are like myself, once Plants vs. Zombies was first loaded up, it was a point of obsessive fixation for several weeks afterwards. Accompanying myself on this journey was a soundtrack that seemed to match the theme and visuals so effortlessly that at first, it felt quite strange listening to the music on its own. It does what any great game music should do — it doesn’t call attention to itself but acts subliminally to enhance the overall immersion into the game experience.

Because the music does this so well, it is interesting to listen to the soundtrack independently so its interlocking melodies can stand at the forefront of your attention. By doing this, one can gain a greater appreciation of Laura’s piano playing, as well as how well it works within her arrangement of plucked strings, harps and sine waves.

Part of what makes the music such a great complement to the game is the understated humor of it. While it has many of the trademarks of horror music, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It also isn’t too slapstick, which can indeed be a delicate balance to manage. A good example of this is would be the cello in Grasswalk, an instrument that could scary or humorous but here it captures the mood of the game perfectly.

The brilliance lies in its elegant simplicity; many of the ideas present in the soundtrack are rooted in Laura’s early NES and SNES influences. For the most part, at any one time you will typically only hear 3 or 4 instruments at once. This may have been intentional to allow room for the many, many weapons being hurled in the game at one time. The strength of her melodies is apparent when you realize how easily most of the material could be reproduced in a chiptune style without losing any impact. A track like Rigor Mormist could be simplified further, perhaps being used in a Plants vs. Zombies music box collector’s item (Popcap, please make this). Conversely, it would also be easy to envision these melodies being significantly enhanced by the orchestral indie game concert that Patrick is rallying for.

Whilst in the grips of the Plants vs. Zombies addiction, this soundtrack was consistently playing in my head after I put the game down and even for a long time after I had completed most of everything in the game. Any of these songs would make an excellent candidate for your theme song of the day. I encourage you to check out this classic soundtrack and support your indie musicians!

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