Broken Age has received a lot of attention – for its pedigree, its well-documented history, and its delightful art style, among other good reasons. Another area where it’s equally deserving of praise, though, is its music. Veteran composer Peter McConnell is no stranger to the world of point-and-click adventure games, but there’s a life and bubbliness to the Broken Age score that makes it irresistible to my ears and undeniably fresh. Much like the game itself, it evokes nostalgic memories of my childhood, without cynicism or condescension.
The title track, “Broken Age,” is a brief piece that elicits unmistakable thoughts of sunrise and dawn; it’s appropriate for the tune that opens the adventure. Things really get moving with “March in the Clouds,” my favorite track on the album. There’s a bouncy rhythm at play here, with harps and violins making up the main melody. It’s a real earworm, and I found myself humming it even several days after hearing it in-game. “Shellmound Festival” is an upbeat, beach-bound track with a pleasant acoustic guitar backed by xylophone. It’s an organic sound that contrasts well with Shay’s space-bound industrial tunes.
The easy, pleasant nature of these tracks is certainly prevalent in many tunes on the album, but there are a fair number of more intense pieces, like “Mog Chothra,” the theme of Vella’s central villain. Deep, low bass is foregrounded by high-pitched strings, a tactic that successfully evokes the sense of approaching terror that is Mog Chothra’s arrival.
“Hero” is a rousing anthem with a steady build-up, the kind I imagine protagonist Shay hears in his head as he dreams of escaping his boring everyday existence. “Shay’s Secret Mission” brings with it sense of sneakily skulking around the back pathways of his spaceship, and the James Bond-style guitar thrums lurking in the backdrop further draw me into what I imagine the soundtrack to Shay’s dreams of adventure would be.
“Was That East or West” is an outstanding track that gives you a sense of the bold new frontier that awaits Vella as she pushes on with her adventure. It has vibes of Jim Guthrie’s Sword and Sworcery soundtrack and relies on a number of instruments that bring to mind some of the ambient tracks from Borderlands 2.
This is one of those albums about which I could easily describe every track; instead, though, I’d advise you to listen to it on your own. Before I wrote this review, I spent a good deal of time wondering if my love for Broken Age’s OST was due to my love for the game itself, or based mainly on the merits of the music. It could very well be a bit of both, but it’s hard to argue with how much care and heart are exuded by it, so I’d recommend it to anyone.