Game Music, Indie Music, Reviews

Scram Kitty and His Buddy On Rails OST (Review)

June 9, 2014 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Scram Kitty and His Buddy On Rails OST (Review)on Twitter

Scram Kitty and His Buddy On Rails is certainly an attention grabbing title. A Wii U digital exclusive, the game is an on rails arcade shooter developed by Dakko Dakko. You are tasked with rescuing cats scattered around various levels of a space lab, all while fighting mechanized mice themed enemies. The game has an old-school SNES aesthetic and draws some of its gameplay aspects from 2D shooters. It’s a unique indie title released on the small indie game market of the Wii U.

Scram Kitty takes place in a mechanical space setting, with lots of robots, conveyers, industrial hazards, and security lasers populating the levels. To help set the mood of the fast paced gameplay and levels, composer Samuel Baker was brought on to write the game’s music. So how does Baker go about creating the appropriate soundscape for this cat and mouse themed shoot’em up? Read on to find out.

The Scram Kitty and His Buddy On Rails OST is an electronic synth soundtrack. The title track, “Theme From Scram Kitty,” is a preview of what to expect from the rest of the album. Warped synth pads, arpeggiating leads, and a driving drum beat give the steady sense of momentum in this track. This steady pacing continues throughout a majority of the soundtrack and the game.

The music really establishes the setting more than the gameplay. When playing through the levels you can either be in the middle of shooting and dodging attacks or you could be wondering the level searching for extra pickups and cats that you need to collect. For the most part, Baker chooses to stick with a steadily paced electronic approach. The music finds a happy middle ground for defining the both elements of the gameplay, working well with intense battles or for exploration. Never building up to an intensity that matches the moments of combat, but never feeling out of place when you’re simply exploring a level.

Each area has at least two pieces of music dedicated to them. Even in similar areas, the score has enough variety between each piece to always stay fresh in the listener’s ear. One of the early pieces that I ended up liking was “Vector.” This piece is heavily focused on the bass guitar. It starts off with a simple but catchy bass riff that the rest of the instruments build on. A nice light synth lead comes in to interact and play off the bass at various points during the track, but the bass remains the driving force for this track.

My favorite set of tracks for the album would have to be “Vents” and “Vents II,” for the similarly named areas of the game. These pieces, more than the others reminded me of the music from the Sega Genesis era. The warm bass sound and the bright bell and string pads in both tracks give a relaxed or chilled out vibe to these energetic and upbeat tracks.

There are a handful of tracks set for specific events in the game. There’s your usual game over screen with “Stage Failed” and the victory fanfare in “Stage Clear,” but there are a few others as well. “Pursuit,” for example, plays whenever you’re attempting to rescue a specific type of cat that requires you to snag him/her in a limited amount of time. The piece slows to a crawl and detunes at the very end, a part that you hear if you fail to catch the feline in time. They’re quick little tracks, but it’s nice to have them included on the soundtrack.

If I have one nitpick about this album it’s that there weren’t too many memorable melodies present. There are certainly some great bass and synth motives that build up catchy rhythms, but I was hoping to hear some more attention grabbing melodic material in the mix as well. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but it would have been nice bonus. The music itself works well for the game it was written for and that is the most important aspect to any soundtrack in my opinion.

Overall, the Scram Kitty and His Buddy On Rails OST is a good collection of electronic music. The steady beats and rhythms help create the right mood for the game world and there’s enough variety between tracks to keep things interesting as you play the game or if you’re listening to the music on its own. If you’re into electronic music and retro-style synth game music, this album will be worth a look for you. The game itself is also a nice experience if your looking for some challenging indie shoot’em up action on the Wii U. The Scram Kitty Buddy and His Buddy On Rails OST can be found and purchased on Bandcamp.

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