This may be a bit of a throwback, but sometimes it is necessary to call out attention to an OST you might not have heard. World of Goo, created by the two-man team, 2D Boy, is a wonderful puzzle game that really demonstrates how improving your presentation (graphics, music, story, etc) can make a game in this genre stand out. The soundtrack is also an awesome listening experience, and what’s funny about it is that Kyle Gabler, who also designed, wrote, and illustrated the game, wrote much of the music for other projects.
“Regurgitation Pumpkin Station”
The first truly infectious track is “Regurgitation Pumpkin Station.” Gabler initially wrote the song for a friend’s short film about a date with the devil. While the ability to imagine that story is dubious, the song blends well with the way some levels are executed. Although there is no time limit, there are typically external factors that can ruin the structure you need to build throughout World of Goo‘s chapters. Like this song, often times as soon as you’re relaxed with what you’re doing, you end up in this mad dash to save your goo balls before they get lost forever to a pit of spikes or flames. The song features an atypical jazz feel to it and stars a funky guitar and smooth drum work. The speed jumps from slow to fast and back again as soon as you get comfortable with either, and the effect is a constant feeling of tension.
I really appreciate music that uses non-traditional sounds, and “Jelly” does so with the continual sound of a train running over tracks in the background. Over top of it is a haunting and undulating piano melody with strings to back it up. The feeling is very dark and moody and sounds surprisingly grim for a puzzle game. The shining moment, though, comes around the 1:40 mark, when the really dramatic electric guitar comes out with heavier drum work, creating a foreboding feeling in the listener and player. Just listening to the track alone makes one wonder what kind of threat is afoot. Even more curious is that Gabler created the song for a short film about a VR world.
“Cog in the Machine”
Keeping the dark theme going, “Cog in the Machine,” which was written for another game, has an even heavier mood than “Jelly.” The most noticeable instrument is this wailing electric guitar melody evocative of someone crying desperately. And throughout the whole track is this back-and-forth string melody that simply plays a high note followed by a low note with haunting regularity. The composer also threw in the sound of rain and children playing in the background along with some wild deep percussion, giving this song a really creepy feel. (Horror movies taught us that children are creepy. You know this.)
“My Virtual World of Goo Corporation”
Bringing the mood back up is “My Virtual World of Goo Corporation.” This is a full-on chiptune with a delightful melody, which brings back the joy sucked out by some of the soundtrack’s darker tracks. The entire song is electronically generated and relatively simple. It really reminds the listener of a nostalgic joy of playing video games and the humor of the characters.
“Best of Times”
My favorite track from World of Goo has to be “Best of Times.” It starts off with the beautiful crooning of the small choir before venturing into dramatic percussion work and a building string theme. You get a sense like you have overcome something significant just by listening, and to compound that feeling, the lead singer of the choir leads her group into another mounting and inspiring chorus before the song goes completely quit. It’s not over, though. Over the sound of a chiming church bell, the choir ends the track with an almost mournful outro, landing the listener softly back down from the triumph.
The World of Goo soundtrack is available for FREE from Kyle Gabler’s own portfolio website.