With the internet abuzz about the latest Pokémon game, Pokémon GO!, I thought it would be appropriate to pitch in my 2 cents about the game’s limited, but nonetheless entertaining and review-worthy, music! I really, really appreciate the fact that the lovely Mr. Junichi Masuda wrote more music specifically for this mobile game. They could have easily just taken some tracks from the latest games in Gen VI (X & Y), but it’s pretty cool that he wrote exciting, new music! 😀
As the music that first plays when you start the game, it certainly creates the valiant, warm atmosphere signature to Pokémon games. I’m really diggin’ the driving but not overpowering percussion, epic bass strings, triumphant horns, and delicate winds. This theme comes on when you’re choosing your character… As well as when the servers aren’t up X’D I’m not mad, though! As the top game in the App store right now, I can’t imagine how much traffic they’re getting… And if I can listen to some epic, awesome music while I wait, that’s fine with me! 😛
Oh, man. I LOVE this! From the beginning, I am absolutely hooked on the boppin’, thumpin’ bass line. I couldn’t exactly tell what was being played at first, but then when the sparkly piano sounds come in with those bVI, then bVII chords… Ooh it’s so exciting!!!! ^___^ The bass effects and electronic sounds in this track are absolutely wonderful! I can definitely appreciate the use of more electronic and synthesized sounds in this track—it’s different from the others, but it’s actually quite refreshing! The build-ups and variety of intensity are also very pleasant.
At 1:33 when the bass drops away a bit, we’re left with a nice sense of wonder and awe. This whole track is perfect for the freeroaming part of the game, as it certainly inspires a drive to start walking around! Listening to this right now as I’m just sitting at my computer is making me a bit restless… I’ll have to go out as soon as I’m done 😛
Yes!!!! The wild encounter music!! I love how now we have a beautiful mixture of orchestral sounds and that electronic bass from the Overworld theme. The fast tempo of this track really adds so much necessary excitement, and the tie in thematic/harmonic material from the Main Menu music is quite nice. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the overall cohesiveness of this game’s OST. As I’m writing this I can’t help but shake my foot to the beat X’D Agghh now I have to go out and catch some more Pokémon once I’m done writing this article!! :3
Now gyms in this Pokémon game are significantly different from how they are in the games. (Check out my review of the Pokémon Gym Themes here.) Instead of choosing a theme that has the original, melodically-driven theme, Mr. Masuda went for a variation of the Pokémon League/Indigo Plateau theme. I absolutely love how rhythmically-driven this theme is, keeping the simplicity, intensity, and slightly unsettling nature as the original two Gens (RBY and GSC).
Of course, we still have some higher-quality orchestral sounds, especially from 0:29 – 0:43, when some higher string sounds come in and play a simple, ascending pattern. Along with the steady percussion there’s some nice woodwinds and horn sounds added in there, just to give some nice variety in texture. As this music is essentially menu music (all you do is look at the trainers who have claimed the gym) (and get super envious of people’s Gyarados) (seriously how did you collect 400 Magikarp candies!? ._.), it does an excellent job of setting the stage and creating an intense, but pretty much unchanging emotional atmosphere.
I luckily have had the opportunity to hear this track a few times, but I’m usually pre-occupied frantically tapping my screen and hoping I stay alive for at least 30 seconds XD The couple instances that the game froze here, I took the time to just stand there and listen to the music :3
This track has the same upbeat tempo as the Wild Encounter track, but a lot more sophistication in orchestration and instrumentation is included, undoubtedly paralleling the increase in significance since it is indeed a Gym Leader battle! The syncopated super-high treble sounds add much excitement! The epic timpani sequences are awesome! The triumphant, ascending horn lines are incredible! The slightly softer break-down section before picking up intensity again is very refreshing! I just love this! Love love love!!!
Similar to the Gym Menu theme, it’s clear that Mr. Masuda was going for a similar feel as in the original Gens, which is just fantastic. The bouncy, oscillating bass line is almost identical to those heard in Gen I and Gen II Gym Leader Battle tracks (but is not as prominent, if existent at all, in the subsequent Gens).
With the inclusion of just the first 151 Pokémon as well, it really goes to show that this Pokémon mobile game is catered mostly toward the generation of kids (now adults lulz) who played the first gen. But it’s awesome because the younger kids who started out with the DS games (Gen VI and beyond) now get to enjoy the characters and musical content more closely associated with Gen I. Everyone wins! ^_^
Overall, I absolutely adore this new Pokémon game’s OST. As much as I love it though, I hope that Mr. Masuda will write a variety of other tracks that play in different settings, i.e. parks, beaches, forests, city/suburban areas… I understand that this would probably take a lot more coordination with the GPS, to know exactly which areas the players are in, but as you can see on the map already, darker patches of green indicate parks, and bodies of water are also easy to see. It’s still a very new game though, so I hope that these updates can be added in at some point! I think it would be very cool.
Once more updates come out with this game, I’ll make sure to do another review! Here’s hoping that they add more awesome music tracks with the updates! \^o^/