We don't actually refer to John Tucker as a workhorse, but we probably should. You've no doubt seen his name on dozens of reviews across the site, and that's only half of what he does at RPGFan. There's plenty of behind-the-scenes proofing and more that he works on that you probably don't even know about.
How he had time to do all that AND take part in our special Rhythm Encounter podcast and write up these music picks is a question perhaps best left unanswered.
Many game soundtracks serve well within the game, but do not stand well on their own. For me, however, Penny Arcade 4's soundtrack is the rare opposite: I thought it was merely OK within the game, but I quite like it when I simply listen to the music. The Fish Force theme song is my favorite track both ways, but the Final Boss music is also great, bringing to mind the series' Lovecraftian influence as well as the games on the shoulders of which this game stands.
The First Pillar - Climbing the Tower
This enormous collection of 173 Pokétracks could keep your need for music from the series filled for a long, long time. The tracks from Pokéstar Studios clearly evoke the variety of emotions that they're named for, and many other tracks seem to nod lovingly at other great soundtracks, from Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door all the way to Disgaea.
Battle! Gym Leader (Kanto)
Infiltration into the Plasma Frigate!
Also See Our Review:
Nintendo DS Pokémon Black•White2 Super Music Complete Review
Although this game did not get an official soundtrack release, I loved its music. It constantly supports your journey around Pi'illo Island and the Dream World. My favorite thing about this soundtrack, though, is the way that the different areas of the island each have their own appropriate theme, with matching dreamlike/nightmarish versions for the Dream World version of the area. I always love when an atmospheric track feels like it belongs in the place where I hear it.
All of the sound in Ni no Kuni is amazing, from the voice acting to the atmospheric tracks to the battle themes. Nearly a year after finishing the game, I can still call up several of the tracks in my head instantly. The world map music is perfect, and when you hop onto your dragon to fly around the world, there's no other word for the song you hear than "majestic." This is truly a soundtrack that isn't just great on its own, it actually makes its game better.
Ding Dong Dell -The Cat King's Castle-
Kokoro no Kakera (Japanese Version)
Also See Our Review:
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - The OST Review
As much as I loved the soudtracks to those other games, my favorite of the year was undoubtedly the music from The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief. Each track is perfectly matched to its portion of the game, from the train ride's Adventure in the Alps to the samba of the Saloon Tune that plays in the cruise ship's dining area. It gives me the feeling of a classic Disney soundtrack or a stage musical, and I love every minute of it.
Adventure in the Alps
Constable in Action