Humbled. That’s how I feel after listening to Rainbow Moon Melodies. I’ll begin by saying that I try to have an open mind when I review anything, soundtrack, game, or otherwise. That said, when I was approached to review the music of Rainbow Moon, a game that I truthfully had no interest in based on its art style, I had pretty low expectations. What I anticipated was a ho-hum album of generic ambient tracks, but what I got was a remarkably competent and (appropriately) melody-driven collection of songs from German composer Rafael Dyll.
We open with “Rainbow Moon – Main Title,” a mellow but whimsical piece that alternates harmony and melody between piano and violin. Spacey synth and low chorus round out the track to give it a sweeping, otherwordly feeling. The same motif is employed again in “Once Upon a Time,” which I imagine is played against an opening narration. “A New World” is bright and chipper, setting the stage for an adventure with a steady string harmony and upbeat synth with ascending notes. The first high-energy track, “Crossing Blades,” is evocative of SNES-era battle music with its woodwind-esque synth and light drums. A bit over a minute in, piano is added to the mix, making for a well-rounded sound that is easy on the ears. “Mysterious Caverns” takes its title quite seriously; it features a low, descending synth melody played over violin and dripping water. “No Sound of Reason” amps the mood back up with an addictive combination of guitar and furious piano arpeggios.
More battle tracks follow and play with a variety of moods. The rolling drum and bass of “Labyrinth” would be well-suited to espionage. “The Four Seas” is more cheerful, featuring horns and deep strings that conjure up images of a rollicking nautical excursion. The swift pace of “Tales of Conflict” creates a high-tension, high-stakes atmosphere, and “Engarde” utilizes reverberating synth and bongo-like drums that I can imagine playing during an emotional fight with a former comrade. The dark “Moonday Struggle” has wailing guitar and springy percussion, while the less serious “Lunar Encounter” sets itself apart with flute and harpsichord. The battle music starts to bleed together a little at this point; tracks like “Conflicting Strategies” and “Big Band Battle” aren’t especially unique among their peers, though “Ambush” has a pleasant combination of synth and guitar that feels suitably epic for one of the final tracks on the album.
Dyll proves that he can create music for non-combat situations as well. “Eternal Sound of Luna” features harp and chorus for a haunting sound, with a nice synth bit in the middle that had my hairs standing on end. The twangy strings in “Trisha’s Tune” have a moody and foreign quality that gives a sense of the character’s cunning and resolve. The melancholy motif from the beginning of the album seems to return in “Ruin of Spirits,” a piece with echoed piano/synth and chorus once again. Finally, the gentle piano and bells of “Credits” bids a fond farewell to the world of Rainbow Moon.
In spite of Rainbow Moon’s art style, which is very much contrary to my tastes, Rafael Dyll’s musical prowess has convinced me to play the game. Even if my venture doesn’t pan out, I’m satisfied with adding another album of quality music to my digital collection. If I had a single criticism, it would be that most tracks are played with a similar set of instruments, but it also gives the album a unified sound profile, so take that as you will. Rainbow Moon Melodies is an unexpectedly satisfying treat from a composer that I’ll need to keep an eye on. I’m glad I gave it a chance.
Editor’s note: This album can be purchased directly from the game’s publisher, eastasiasoft.