Game music: Treasure Adventure World

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Treasure Adventure Games by Robit Studios is a charming and fun piece of work and readers will know that I’m a big fan of the game’s soundtrack and its composer.

Now the game is receiving an ambitious remake in the form of Treasure Adventure World with new design, artwork, animation and, of course, new music. The original soundtrack was a masterfully modern take on old-school gaming. So how does the reimagined version measure up?

From what I’ve seen, opinions are divided. Some love it:

I didn’t realise I loved the soundtrack so much until I bought this remake. It’s really good! Can’t wait to see how TAW turns out.
– Jords

I was kinda anxious about the music, as it could have lost its charm, but in my opinion, it’s perfect.
– c0mpu73rguy

Others, not so much:

The change in instrumentation is for the worse IMHO, and the changes to each track’s arrangement are almost invariably also for the worse. It’s messing with a good thing…
– Wyrdwad

Wyrdwad’s feelings are understandable – TAG’s music had a deceptive simplicity to them, evoking a bygone era of music and inducing some serious nostalgia. How could Ellis possibly reinvent that?

With skill and flair, I’m glad to say. The tracks are the same, but not. The whole tone of the album has moved away from SNES-era retro nostalgia and into something new, something it can really call its own. Each track is… what’s the word… busier than its predecessor. There’s more going on, more layers, more depth, more instruments, more samples. If what really sold you on the original was the simplicity then Fizzy Pixels may not be for you. But if what you liked was Ellis’ melodies and rhythms, the sheer mood of TAW, then Fizzy Pixels is a truly worthy successor. Just as TAW is a deeper, more mature take on TAG, so to is the music.

My personal opinion of Fizzy Pixels: It’s a great score in its own right. I’m grateful for the opportunity to add a second version of the tracks to my music library, to have a second chance for them to cycle round in my playlists. It remains to be seen how well the less retro version fares as a soundtrack – I strongly suspect there is no reason to worry, especially on the strength of tracks like Crystal Kick and Fight Or Flight – but as an album Ellis has done a wonderful job of revamping his classics.

It’s a fun exercise to listen to both versions of your favourite song – in my case “All Things” – and realise that each has their own merits, their own reason for liking them. And if, like Wyrdwad, you think it’s a change for the worse then you can rest easy: nobody has taken the original way from you:

A soundtrack toggle has been in the plans since we first decided to re-mix the music. You’ll be able to switch between either soundtrack at any time.
– Stephen Orlando

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