After Burner and Outrun’s musical lovechild.
The beauty of following musicians that dabble with game music, chiptune and synthwave music is that you get some wonderful leftfield surprises from thin air. ChronoWolf happily moulds all these things together with a cinematic undertone for their latest game soundtrack release. ‘Doki Doki Gravity Dive’ is nearly 20 minutes of classic retro shoot ’em up arcade anthems.
The bulk of the soundtrack is found in its four main themes, each following a season. Each one has its own heart-pounding feel. ‘Autumn’ for example has techno beats and synth arpeggios bleeping around you like tiny but chirpy warning sirens. Then smooth cinematic brass underscores the piece at key moments to give it a regal gravitas. ‘Spring’ meanwhile uses thick retro keyboard chords like a symphonic string section. It straddles a great balance between symphonic disco and synthwave genius and even weaves in some cute early 90’s boss music bass in the middle eight for good measure. ChronoWolf excels at this kind of symphonic synthwave or chiptune style and does so here again.
‘Summer’ changes vibes again with a track that feels one part Final Fantasy X-2, one part Outrun, one part Namco arcade music and one part a new album from RetroWave’s label. The bombastic way the lead synth plays around with its main melody is both cool and effortlessly impressive over its processed summer beats. ‘Winter’ closes out with the most G-Darius / After Burner styled track of the soundtrack. With aggressive beats, dramatic synth strings and a darker melody, it really hits the sweet spot of arcade grit.
ChronoWolf continues to show their skill to distil easily accessible riffs into cinematic and pulsating anthems made for pure arcade fun. The soundtrack deftly balances drama and enjoyment so neither make it either overwrought or cheesy. ‘Doki Doki Gravity Dive’ is a prime example of all that ChronoWolf does. Anyone looking for retro arcade vibes, look no further – this will quench your thirst.
Recommended track: Spring
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