Give me a game and I'll talk about the OST without listening to it
it's like the other lists but im not gonna listen to that shit. i'm still gonna talk about em though
Listen folks, I know people love to dunk on this as a meme soundtrack, but I do think there's something worth your time and attention buried in here. A lot of this is a little too rote, a little too blatantly Daft Punk-inspired. I think with a little more time and music production under their belt, we could see some great things here. There's moments where you can feel the producers having a bit of fun with it, letting loose, getting farther away from the "rules" of music production. In these moments it starts to take on its own identity and become something genuinely fresh. Definitely keep an eye on these guys.
There are some occasional standout tracks tracks, but as a whole this is sonic wallpaper. I imagine most who play this game haven't hardly thought about the soundtrack - I know I sure as hell didn't until I came back to make this list.
Listen, this might seem like a sick prank to you, but if you're going to pick a game with no soundtrack it makes my job easy. 4/10, left alone with my own horrid thoughts.
Interesting takes on the old classics. I think there's a lot of personality on display in how these have been reimagined and reinterpreted, but it's pretty clear that the skeleton of this thing isn't entirely made up of barn burners. If you like the original then this is definitely worth going out of your way to check out.
We've spent a lot of time so far wading through mostly unremarkable soundtracks so far, but we've finally found one worth writing home about. SM64's soundtrack is indisputably one of the greats, taking clear inspiration from Undertale's chiptune and pushing it until it surpasses its inspiration - becoming something new, something innovative, something better. The soundtrack and the gameplay work with each other to achieve new heights. Entry-level economics students are often told to start by assuming that every participant in an economic model is a "rational actor," but there is nothing rational about putting a soundtrack this gorgeous into the world and not charging a single cent for it.
Most would consider this a classic, but I don't really think it's aged all that well. There's a lot to be said about the strengths of minimalism, especially when tied to a game this old. However, a lot of these tracks could stand to incorporate more strings to give it that emotional punch that it's currently lacking. I'm not really that invested in the story here, I'm not relating to Mario. A lot of that is game design, sure, but the music isn't really helping - it's too austere, and I think it would benefit greatly from some sweeping orchestral music in its bigger moments to bolster the strengths of its gameplay.
Significantly improved over what we saw in Mario 1. It's obvious here that Nintendo really stepped up their game. Lots of the dryer, minimalist moments from 1 have been given new flair, and some of the songs on this OST are actually written well enough that you could listen to them divorced from their soundtrack context. I wouldn't describe it as one of the great soundtracks, but it's damn good for its era and holds up pretty well today.
After such a big step forward with 2, I have no fucking clue how they dropped the ball like this. This is without question one of the worst soundtracks I've ever heard for any piece of media. Dissonance can be used to create some really interesting musical pieces but none of it seems intentional here - it's jarring, abrasive, off-putting. It doesn't align with the game or its themes, it doesn't help create any emotionally resonant moments. If it were a little worse it might loop around and become an interesting piece of outsider art, but it's obvious that the people putting this together know just enough about music to seriously try their hand and flop hard.
Back when I was reviewing Mario Bros 1, I mentioned that the Mario soundtrack would benefit from having strings, and I'll tell you folks that I'm feeling pretty damn vindicated. This soundtrack isn't really reinventing the wheel but I can't bring myself to hate it? It's fun! It's got charm! Pizzazz! The way it swells into these grandiose musical moments during gameplay crescendos is perfectly suitable for its game, and the way it draws back in more somber moments giving you space to breathe and reflect, that deserves an award. Is it the highest quality? I don't think so, but it IS my favorite.
What a return to form! It's nice to see that the high points of SMB2 (and some of the highlight tracks from SMB1) weren't a fluke. There's not much I really know how to talk about here - it's solid soundtrack work that feels so natural that you can't imagine the game without it. Again, it's not going to win any awards for being one of the all-time greats, but I do genuinely think this could be a contender for one of the year's best.