Catalog Number: NBGI-00028 (reprint N/A)
Released On: October 28, 2010 (reprint September 27, 2011)
Composed By: Chiyako Fukuda
Arranged By: N/A
Published By: Namco Bandai Games (reprint XSEED Games)
Recorded at: Unknown
Format: 1 CD

01 - And Then, to CODA
02 - Little Tail March
03 - Another Morning
04 - Spiral Nightmare
05 - Overture
06 - Soulless Enemy
07 - Decisive Battle
08 - Pride in Blood
09 - Cosmic Stylings
10 - Roll'n Roll'n
11 - My Distant Blade
12 - Drop of Light
13 - Terror Awakes
14 - Our Hero Appears
15 - See Tomorrow
16 - Limits of Greed
17 - DNA
18 - Battle of Fate
19 - A Flower for You
20 - Name of Light
21 - To True Return
22 - Depend on Me
23 - Re-CODA
24 - Shooting Star ?
Total Time:

Does anyone remember the game Tail Concerto on Playstation? I do, and I found it to be a cute, charming, and fun game. Solatorobo for DS is its spiritual successor and exudes all those same qualities. It is also a more intense game than its breezy cartoon style implies and Chikayo Fukuda's (.hack//) epic and purposeful-sounding music reflects that.

I heard music that was heroic, sweeping, and stirring throughout the soundtrack. Tracks like 4, 12, and 17, to name just three, wouldn't be out of place in a more "hardcore" RPG. This is definitely not the kind of music players would expect from a whimsical-looking RPG with cute anthropomorphic animals as characters, but that's the beauty of it. Perhaps the feeling is similar to how people in 1977 probably didn't expect orchestral style music in a little sci-fi epic called Star Wars, and that movie would probably not be as iconic had it utilized a more futuristic soundtrack with electronic instrumentation. Even the fun, breezier tunes (like tracks 2, 3, 9, and 10) have some gravity to them. They're fun, but with intensity; more akin to a rousing game of ultimate frisbee than a more relaxed leisure activity.

The opening vocal song is stirring, unlike the fluffy "Pop Tart" J-pop normally seen in these kinds of soundtracks, and I enjoyed it all the more for that. The ending vocal track (23) is lovely as well. It was like a fresh fruit sorbet to cap off a rich and unctuous musical meal.

The soundtrack should have just left off there and not included track 24, which is a live performance of a cookie-cutter J-pop song with cookie-cutter J-pop vocals and melodies. After a wonderful multi-course meal filled with homemade appetizers, entrees, and a coolly refreshing sorbet, this track was like feeding me a generic Chips Ahoy! cookie afterwards. This song simply did not work within the context of the soundtrack, whether looking at the music on its own merits or when reflecting back on the game.

Track 24 aside, I really like this soundtrack. The music doesn't have simple, catchy, pop melodies that will get stuck in your head. It's music that you need to listen to a few times over and allow its overall vibe to wrap itself around you. Considering the game takes place on floating islands nestled in the clouds, the heady nature of the music made me feel more like I was flying on a journey than just languidly floating along. This is one soundtrack I would love to hear an arranged version of because although it makes the most of the DS's sound capabilities, I'd like to hear it sonically wide open. Just like players and critics are seeing Solatorobo as a pleasant and unexpected surprise in gaming this year, the music too is a pleasant and unexpected surprise for me.

Reviewed by: Neal Chandran