Mighty Flip Champs & Mighty Milky Way Original Soundtrack
Mighty Flip Champs & Mighty Milky Way Original Soundtrack
May 9, 2011
Download at Bandcamp
WayForward’s Mighty Flip Champs is a puzzle-platformer game released for DSiWare and PlayStation Minis. It combined a retro-influenced presentation with unusual area-flipping gameplay. The title was successful enough to inspire a follow-up, Mighty Milky Way, featuring a space setting. The developer’s in-house composer Jake Kaufman (aka virt) scored both titles, combining chiptune tones with contemporary and orchestral flavours. In response to large fan demand, released the soundtracks in a joint package through Bandcamp.
Starting with the soundtrack for Mighty Flip Champs, the title theme introduces listeners to the recurring main theme for the Mighty series. Obviously inspired by Nintendo’s classics, this track sports a hyper-catchy melody and chiptune rendering. Though virt keeps things light-hearted and unpretentious, he still takes the opportunity to offer lots of funky synth improvisations. After the rhythmically focused stage select theme and a few jingles, the soundtrack jumps into the first level theme, “The Jungle Welcomes One”. I love how virt creates a unique by blending retro synth work with laid-back reggae rhythms. It doesn’t particularly stand out melodically and is fairly understated overall. However, it’s certainly a quirky fit to the equally eccentric gameplay.
Exploring other worlds, “Flip or Fight” explores futuristic tones. I really like the atmosphere in this track, since it provides a heroic sound, while still being very calming with its synthesizer and piano undertones. It gives a unique, spacey character to the second world. A mysterious and sinister atmosphere dominates the duration of “A Story of Caves”. While I find the sinister atmosphere a striking draw, I’m even more impressed by the melody line that restores an optimistic tone to the soundtrack. This is one of the most extensively developed tracks on the entire release. For the fourth world, “Alta NET” also mixes retro and futuristic tones to give a unique aura. virt explores a range of electronic stylings here, making the track all the more fascinating from a musician’s perspective.
The last world theme, “No Turning Back”, has a very energetic and bubbly melody that just oozes heroism and adventure. The grittier rock-tinged accompaniment is also wonderful. The sampling is once again perfect, capturing the retro atmosphere, while incorporating some modern influences. It’s one of those tracks that would fit very well in a retro title from Taito or a similar company. After this and a few other jingles, the soundtrack concludes with “Ending Credits”, a beautiful synthesizer-focused tune featuring a strong lounge jazz influence. What I enjoy the most is the way the piano accompaniment contrasts beautifully with the mellow synthesizer melody. This is definitely another fantastic ending theme that works very well to give a sense of closure.
Moving to the music of the sequel Mighty Milky Way, there’s again lots to enjoy here, although it’s a very different score overall. The title track is a remix of the main theme from the previous game, this time featuring warm female vocals and rich hybridised accompaniment. I actually get NiGHTS into Dreams when I listen to this, whereas its predecessor definitely had a Mega Man vibe. Though the track shares the same happy melody, it’s a big contrast in almost every other sense. While brief, “Tutorial” makes the opening of the game demonstrates that virt is still on form melodically. “Cutscene” further expands the scope of the sequel’s soundtrack with its gallant orchestral tones and brings a further dash of colour to the soundtrack.
Once again, it’s the stage themes that are the most enjoyable of Mighty Milky Way‘s additions. The first level theme “Space” reflects the galactic nature of the sequel with its waltz vibe and the dramatic mixing of orchestra and chiptunes. 2001: Space Odyssey, anyone? “Greens” has a very vibrant atmosphere, particularly in the earlier portions of the track, though it grows more ominous during its development. Though somewhat less captivating, I do enjoy the bubbly melody line a lot. “Water” captures the environment with its fluid piano passages, plethora of synthesizer accompaniments, and jazzy influence. In contrast, tension is immediately evident when “Lava” starts up, although virt takes steps to ensure that the bubbly, melodic image of the series is still present.
Another departure for the series, the final stage theme is hauntingly beautiful. The mystical piano melody sounds incredible in conjunction with the visuals, while the orchestral strings accompaniment emphasise a dark atmosphere. As with most of the tracks here, it’s certainly worth revisiting on a stand-alone basis too and has a timeless quality. The melodrama continues with the deliberately over-the-top boss theme. Even though the orchestration is quite heavy, I can’t help but chuckle at the choral portions that chant “T-rex!! Dinosaur!”. Finally, “End Credits” provides a sense of closure, transitioning from a heroic overture into a beautiful piece focusing on virt’s signature keyboard work.
Overall, I think that the Mighty Milky Way & Mighty Flip Champs Original Soundtrack is a very good effort by Jake Kaufman. He captures the retro spirit quite well, given his chiptune background, while offering a range of stylings and moods. I think his use of atmosphere, especially in Mighty Milky Way is exceptional. This album is available for download — through a name your price deal — on virt’s website. So why not give it a listen and see if you like it?
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.