Give me a narrative adventure title and I’ll be putty in your hands. The Long Return is just that. You play as an orphan fox cub in a low poly world of nature. Dale North composed the soundtrack and it is his most cinematic and lush selection to date.
Whilst short, at a tight 19 minutes in length, each piece has a certain timeless beauty to it. Think 60’s Disney or Joe Hisashi’s quieter moments and you’ll be in the ballpark. It comes from the use of vintage string samples and playful tuned percussion. ‘The Lonely’ just oozes that kind of lush green charm of the forest through the eyes of a child. ‘The Playful’ uses xylophones and woodwind to feel childlike and full of wonder.
Other highlights include the vibrant strings of ‘The Explorer’ and the cinematic pieces of ‘The Saviour’ and ‘The Traveler’. The majority of pieces are just over the two-minute mark so they mark their mark and leave again. Whilst the melodies aren’t immediate to the ear, its the sentiment that floods through. I feel younger and more wide-eyed after listening. I also adore how the music swells cinematically but then also feels like it a lullaby at the same time. It’s because of how delicately all the instruments are recorded that Dale North is able to let them soar without it feeling overpowering.
Short and sweet but full of heart, ‘The Long Return’ mimics its beautiful game but stands on its own two feet as a piece of work too. My favourite Dale North soundtrack yet.
Recommended track: The Playful
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