Format reviewed: MP3 download
Composer: Tobey Evans
Website: Official Website
“The Swindle OST is really just a big mashup of all things Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Crime Caper, Victorian, and everything else from The Swindle and from the "world" outside of the game.”
The Swindle on Wii U, available as an eShop download, is a self-confessed, steam punk adventure caper. It plays as a rogue-like beautifully aesthetic 2D platformer with randomized levels. A quick look at its average scores across the board level it at 70%. Does the Original Sound Track (OST) of that very game live up to the high praise of its actual gameplay though?
The Swindle OST doesn't pull its punches. Packed with 51 tracks, totaling a hefty 2 hours and 19 minutes of full playback, there‘s no filler here to be seen, no 5 second sound effects, no fluff, just the music. The Steampunk influences are huge with ticking drums echoing mechanical strikes of repetitive machinery or military marches. Victorian sounds can be heard through bawdy bar romps, and circus themes. Crime Capers are effused with sneaking infiltration motifs aided with Bond-like string and brass runs. All of these influences are unpinned by a love of classical piano/harpsichord concertos and electronic synth-style rock flourishes, with a splash of disco for good measure.
The vast majority of the OST’s tracks are based upon level themes of a similar vein throughout. For example, Bacca-Pipes (Slums 1) Calm plays like a Bond infiltration theme, sneaking into enemy territory with clock based percussion and piano runs as if tumbling down slopes. The very next track elevates the same theme into a more frenzied version, Bacca-Pipes (Slums 1) Alarm brings more urgency through its honking brass and an insanely tempo’d electronic piano, not tumbling this time, but rolling in an uncontrolled dangerous descent to death. This Calm and Alarm phase of the OST’s level structure is repeated heavily throughout the disc, and due to this it becomes repetitive rather earlier than it should.
To ease The Swindle’s OST’s repetitive nature, a series of stand-alone and stand-out tracks raise their head. RagtimeBot is a Victorian piano-based lunge through a drunken ragtime pub. Piano Study in BotFlat Major is a Chopin reminiscent piano concerto. The Rose and Crown, an especial favourite, is another pub-based theme, but jazz and blues inflected. Gunter The BobbyBot and His Gyrocopter chuggs along like a helicopter rotor blade in heavy rock guitar based waves. The Credits also stand out with a superb Vaughn Williams-esque reverie on nature driven memory through beautifully heart-rending melancholia.
With 51 tracks, each of considerable length, you sure are getting your money’s worth purchasing this delightful OST. However, like with most game’s OST, the majority of its sounds get repetitive during a long single playthrough. Some exceptional standout tracks elevate The Swindle’s OST above the usual humdrum repetition of computer games’ background noise. You can head over to the Tobey Jones’ Official Website to listen to sample tracks to see if this is your kind of thing.
Review by Lee Davies. This was originally posted on Nintendo: Review.