Tag Archives: Mobile

Review: ALICE ORDER ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

I can’t say I know much about Square Enix’s mobile title Alice Order, but I’ve heard good things about its soundtrack composed by Yuki Hayashi. Hayashi is mainly known for his work in the realm of anime, so I was curious to delve in. There’s a blend of orchestral, instrumental, and electronic soundscapes found within, all of which is wonderfully produced.

The opening track, “ALICE ORDER,” introduces sweeping orchestra with electronic percussion and bass, creating a sleek and cool atmosphere. There’s tension in the mission select theme with chugging bass and brass, an energetic blend of orchestral and rock in “Valkyrie Dance,” and guttural electronics and fast-paced espionage vibes in “Advance Troops.” “Result” offers a uplifting march, “In Progress” adds tribal percussion to the electronic/orchestral mix, and “Forces Conflict” is ominous with glitchy percussion and desolate and distant guitar work. There’s a tragic piano and string ballad titled “What is lost,” a mysterious droning synth track called “Wave of mystery,” and a touch of playfulness in “Fleeting peace” with its triangle, pizzicato strings, and acoustic guitar. Rounding out the album are “Mighty force,” a grandiose struggle, “Invasion of darkness,” a pumping electronic track, and the explosive “Divine judgment.”

In all, there’s a nice mix of music here to demonstrate Yuki Hayashi’s talent. Fans looking for some cool and sleek electronic music might want to give this a try since it’s unlikely anyone outside of Japan has played the game. It’s available on CD Japan.

Review: VALKYRIE ANATOMIA -THE ORIGIN- Soundtrack

It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard new Valkyrie Profile music by Motoi Sakuraba. As it turns out, he missed writing music for Square Enix’s oft neglected series, and this mobile prequel serves up 20+ tracks that offer something new along with a boost of nostalgia by revisiting some of the most popular themes from the series. Expect Sakuraba’s signature progressive rock and orchestral offerings with a distinctly somber atmosphere throughout.

Right out of the gate, the haunting opening theme sports epic choir and string swells and a hint of tragedy. This continues through much of the orchestral and rock material, including the unsettling “Behave irrationally II” with its woodwinds and bells, the descending orchestral rock in “The maze of dungeon,” and the terrifying “Emotional upset #2” with its big brass and ominous choir. One track brings in a rustic vibe with the use of a harpsichord, while another is a slow and mellow lullaby. One of my favorites is a melancholy piece featuring harp and emotionally-tinged strings that would be right at home in a Dark Souls hub area, while another standpoint, “enfant terrible,” is equally unsettling with its use of woodwinds and a bassy string section. The album closes with a continuous mix that runs for over 20 minutes, featuring quick cross-fades between tracks.

In all, I think I speak for most when I say I’m surprised but also pleased to see this music released. There are many fans of the series, and even though this is a small offering of new material to satiate that Valkyrie Profile music itch, what’s here is quite good. Unfortunately, it’s not widely available at this time (it was released at the Tokyo Game Show store in September), so hopefully Square Enix offers a wide release in the near future.

V.D. -VANISHMENT DAY- SOUNDTRACK (SRIN-1134)

If you’re a fan of Yoko Shimomura (you are), then you’ll likely want to check out the V.D. -VANISHMENT DAY- SOUNDTRACK. The game is a mobile/web strategy RPG with anime-inspired visuals, and the soundtrack offers up classic Yoko Shimomura with elegant orchestral and piano work over an upbeat action-oriented electronic foundation. SuperSweep Records has published the soundtrack, which features a number of great moments.

From the opening notes of “Departure,” you’ll think you’re listening to Shimomura’s counterpart to Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Valkyria Chronicles score with its militaristic march that seemingly prepares you for battle. From there, though, there’s nothing too serious. All of the combat tracks are tinged with a playfulness that ensures an upbeat listening experience. Both “Built a Fire” and “Sortie!” sport cool and sleek electronic backings, with “Sortie!” bringing in a nice woodwind melody. “Rock on the Heavens” brings in explosive drum ‘n’ bass percussion with a big orchestral sound and romantic piano sections that are classic Shimomura. There’s the tense and ominous “Just Beat That Which Lies Ahead of the Road,” the tragic “con fuoco,” the beautiful sweeping “At Night Where Scarlet Flowers Bloom,” the pumping and driving “Nervous Vision,” the chaotic “The Tempest” with its melancholy breaks, the decisive “The Brave Force,” the triumphant “Our Truth,” the tense and mysterious “Instability,” and the heartbreaking piano and strings closer, “No One Knows the Answer,” which hints at something dark and unsettling.

In all, this is solid work from Shimomura, and there aren’t any duds to be found across the album’s 40+ minutes. It’s available at CD Japan for only $20 USD if you’re interested.

Review: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

Noriyasu Agematsu is a name gamers and even game music fans may not be familiar with, but they should be. He’s had a pretty prolific career working with Elements Garden and other groups. I first came to know his work thanks to the excellent Chaos Rings soundtracks that Square Enix put out a couple years ago (I actually have review notes of these albums but never wrote my reviews… maybe I need to). For those who are super familiar, I’d love to hear some recommendations, as Agematsu has another hit on his hands with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, and it seems as though game music fans are now taking notice.

The score features orchestral fantasy with high production values, working in lots of Final Fantasy love throughout with bits of “The Prelude,” “Final Fantasy,” and the opening notes of the original Final Fantasy battle theme as well. It feels upbeat, yet mature, as conveyed through its contemplative opener, “Moment of Recall.” There’s everything from the energetic “DUEL!!” with its addition of rock percussion and Celtic influences, the gorgeous and serene “Peaceful Village,” the spooky and dangerous “Not of this World,” and the decisive military march, “The Initiation.” The acoustic guitar and string section in “Walkabout” are incredibly upbeat and uplifting, while “Overcome the Menace” gets industrial, the grandiose “Tree of Tales” sports beautiful harp work and string swells, the soothing “Snowdrop” includes angelic choir and bells, the exotic “Mirage Palace” brings in tribal percussion, and “Amigo de Chocobo” offers a bluegrass spin on the classic. “Antiquities” is another great track that combines ethereal pads with funky synth bass, while the playfully dangerous “Force and Furious,” the amazing organ concerto “End is Night,” and the epic “Celestial Battle” close things out.

A few of my absolute favorites include the sweeping and majestic “Great Voyage,” the relaxation-inducing sway of “Joie de Vivre,” and the contemplative and mysterious piano of “Mystic Ruins.” But really, the entire score is fantastic.

So, now on to the bad news. Apparently Square Enix sold this soundtrack exclusively through their online store, and according to CD Japan, who was taking special orders for it, it’s out of print.  Fortunately it is on iTunes for $15.99, so I suggest grabbing it there.

Review: MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY Original Soundtrack

Mitsuto Suzuki was known mainly as an audio programmer, solo artist, and arranger until he broke out into composing with The 3rd Birthday and later, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. We discussed his work on the SCHOOLGIRL STRIKERS last year. There’s been a lot of anticipation for his full-length score for MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY, and it’s finally here.

Fans of his work on Final Fantasy will be pleased. There’s a nice blend of atmospheric textures and orchestra. There are several Final Fantasy references as well, which are tastefully done. In fact, Suzuki provides some of the most refreshing takes on both the “Final Fantasy” theme and “The Prelude” by using fragments of the themes alongside his ethereal blend of choir and pads that makes for a wonderful listening experience. Chocobo makes an appearance with the vocaloid “Chocobattle!”, and there’s also a metal battle theme that heavily references “Battle Scene” from the original Final Fantasy (very cool!). Finally, there’s a new spin on the Final Fantasy VI battle theme with some metal layered over the top of the original recording.

His bombastic “Legend – Mobius Final Fantasy” blends filtered guitars and bombastic orchestra and choir into a powerful theme, while “Wol’s Theme – The Journey Begins,” is sweet and catchy. This theme is featured many times throughout the score to great effect, with relaxing, tropical, and the upbeat, funky, and pop-oriented main version being featured throughout. “Dancing Edge” is a super cool dubstep-infused track brimming with positive energy, “The Forsaken World” works in ethereal pads and piano/acoustic guitar in an unsettling combination, and “Attack Ignition” is a heavy dancefloor tune. “The Rune Crystal” layers pads and bells in a beautiful and otherworldly fashion, “Sarah’s Theme” brings in sweeping orchestra and choir, and “Lightway” introduces massive pads and a spacey melody. “Among the Musty” sports hauntingly beautiful guitar work, “Just Desserts – Second Helping” is a super energetic orchestral track featuring snippets of the Final Fantasy theme, and “Infinite Arena” is an upbeat rock track with that feels like Final Fantasy battle themes of old, while “Echo’s Theme” features mischievous chattering, a sweet and innocent piano melody, and la-la choir. Coming to the end, “The Last Stand” sports epic choir and orchestra and the sound of machinery chugging, “The Azure Witch” gets cool piano and pads with rapid piano playing, and the closing “Palamecia Breeze” brings in harp runs from “The Prelude” behind a beautiful piano and pads melody, and is absolutely gorgeous.

Fans of Mitsuto Suzuki should be pleased with more of his unique sound. The two-disc album is available on CD Japan.

Review: Schoolgirl Strikers Original Soundtrack

What an unexpected surprise! Square Enix put out this unassuming soundtrack to their recent iOS/Android title, School Strikers, with music by Mitsuto Suzuki and Kengo Tokusashi. Upbeat melodies, great electronic atmospheres, and some great productive values all make this an enjoyable and surprising listening experience.

Let’s jump in! Continue reading Review: Schoolgirl Strikers Original Soundtrack

Review: Arcadia no Aoki Miko ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

We unfortunately don’t see a lot of mobile games that are coming out in Japan. One such game from Square Enix, Arcadia no Aoki Miko, remains a mystery to me, but Square Enix has released a soundtrack album featuring music by Naoshi Mizuta, and I think RPG fans may be surprised by what they hear.

Check out some impressions if this somewhat brief album below. Continue reading Review: Arcadia no Aoki Miko ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK