Facepalm Games’ sci-fi puzzle platformer is underscored by a pretty sparse soundtrack, but the haunting original tracks that do rise and fall out of the game’s ambient soundscape help reinforce the themes of mystery and isolation that permeate The Swapper. It’s clear that composer Carlo Castellano took special pains to compose music that mixes seamlessly with the sound effects that accompany players through the game, creating an immersive blend that made The Swapper a contender for a Best In Audio nomination.
It’s hard to imagine feeling the same way about Sokobond if you switch the music off. This charmingly minimalist puzzler -- developed by Harry Lee and Alan Hazelden -- leans heavily on its aural components to add emotional flavor into an otherwise straightforward game about solving puzzles through chemistry. Ryan Roth’s excellent soundtrack and evocative sound design are top-notch, encouraging players to feel something more complex than just triumph or frustration when they succeed or fail at solving a given challenge.
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
Critics praised Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs’ sound design when the game was released earlier this year, and for good reason -- the rattling cages, giggling children and post-classical soundtrack go a long way towards cultivating the atmosphere of creeping dread and revulsion that characterize Amnesia games. Multiple members of developer thechineseroom -- including sound designer Samuel Justice and composer/studio co-director Jessica Curry -- collaborated on the game’s audio design and soundtrack, to great effect.
Potatoman Seeks the Troof
Garnering praise for a chiptune soundtrack in the contemporary indie game space is no mean feat, but Potatoman Seeks the Troof’s retro-inspired sound design charmed at least one IGF judge into highlighting the game for aural excellence. Both Pixeljam Games composer Mark DeNardo and sound designer John Davies deserve recognition for creating a whimsical, crisp soundscape that nicely complements Potatoman’s quixotic gameplay.
Thumper is a rhythm/racing game starring a chrome space beetle, and the soundtrack reinforces that stellar concept with a lot of pounding, bass-heavy techno and electronica. Given that developer Drool was founded by ex-Harmonic developers Marc Flury and Brian Gibson, it’s no surprise that Thumper’s soundtrack proved excellent enough to warrant a vote from an IGF judge for a Best in Audio nomination.
Risk of Rain
The soundtrack that accompanies Hopoo Games’ Risk of Rain often sounds like a cross between the scores for Streets of Rage and Blade Runner, making it an ideal complement to the roguelike action platformer’s stylishly ramshackle sci-fi setting. Composer Chris Christodoulou claims to have drawn inspiration from the game’s in-game weather effects and color palette while scoring Risk of Rain, which may help explain why IGF judges found it so compelling.