Night in the Woods features a plethora of fun minigames, but absolutely one of the coolest is Demontower, a 16-bit roguelike Mae can play on her laptop. It’s more than just a minigame, though; it’s a full-fledged experience, complete with multiple levels, bosses, and even a few different endings depending on your choices. To go along with the style of this game-within-a-game, the music is also 16-bit, and it’s quite catchy too. Though that’s hardly a surprise given how good the rest of the Night in the Woods soundtrack is.
As an album, Demontower is quite short, with only 13 tracks and just under 42 minutes from start to finish. Despite the brevity, there’s still some interesting things going on with the music here. On the whole, it’s darker than the rest of the Night in the Woods soundtrack, though that’s surely to be expected from a game called Demontower about slaying eldritch creatures and crossing rivers of blood. The 16-bit style lends a delightfully hard edge to the music, and at various times I find myself transported back to my Sega Genesis days while listening to it — some riffs remind me quite clearly of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games. There’s also a good balance between uptempo and downtempo pieces. “Level 1: The Hole,” for instance, is slow and plodding (and creepy), while “Boss” is fast and furious with what sounds like a hi-hat synth providing a lot of energy and movement for the piece. And in between are tracks like “Level 5: Library” and “Level 7: Rivers of Blood” that have a mischievous tilt to their lumbering melodies.
Lest you think that Demontower is entirely separate from the rest of the Night in the Woods soundtrack, there are actually a few references to themes from Volumes 1 and 2. “Level 1: The Hole” features an off key but still recognizable piece of the piano motif from Volume 1’s “Home Again” and “Back to the Holler” at about a minute into the track. And “Level 9: Cemetery Grounds” features part of “The Bridge” from Volume 2 also around a minute in; this creates a nice, slower interlude to break up the frenetic pace of the rest of the track. I wasn’t expecting to hear any familiar themes on this album, but I’m glad that they’ve been included. They make up a small portion of the overall music on this album, but it’s a good way to keep Demontower connected to the larger game that it’s a part of, and it’s also a cool bonus for those with sharp ears.
Being so short, this album is likely to feel as if it’s over before it’s really begun. But sometimes short and sweet is best, and I’m mostly just happy that this music has seen an official release. So many game soundtracks outright ignore incidental and secondary music; it’s refreshing to see a game-within-a-game get its own soundtrack, and a good one at that. If you’ve enjoyed the other Night in the Woods albums or you’re a fan of 16-bit music, you should definitely check Demontower out.