Puzzle & Dragons Original Soundtrack

puzzledragons Album Title:
Puzzle & Dragons Original Soundtrack (Puzzle & Dragons Original Soundtrack -itoken limited-)
Record Label:
Gentle Echo
Catalog No.:
GECD-0002
Release Date:
April 29, 2013
Purchase:
Buy at Amazon JP

Overview

Puzzle & Dragons is a hit free-to-play game that blends puzzle gameplay with RPG elements. Kenji Ito of the Mana and SaGa series was behind the game’s synthy score. After the game proved an incredible commercial success, Ito packaged his score into a limited edition soundtrack release through his personal label gentleecho. The Puzzle & Dragons Original Soundtrack features (just) five compositions from the game and a trio of bonus arrangements.

Body

Ito sets a suitable tone for Puzzle & Dragons with the opening track “Departure”. He reflects the casual nature of the gameplay with some upbeat synthpop flavours, before capturing an RPG vibe by bringing string leads and piano undertones into the mix. “A New Journey” follows suit, a more upbeat composition again blending carefree synthpop elements and expressive acoustic instruments. Both compositions impress for their fitting mood, spirited melodies, and, above all, extensive six-minute development. However, they’re greatly letdown by the awful synthesis and muddy mixing throughout, which makes the music sounds much more aseptic and amateurish than it really is.

“Dragon’s Den” is a rock theme written in similar vein to Kenji Ito’s battle themes for the Romancing SaGa series. Though it sticks to a familiar formula, it proves impressive nonetheless thanks to its motivating melody and extensive development. While the implementation is still pretty sloppy, the results are less damaging to this piece since the melody is so strong and the main elements (drum, guitar, keyboards) still stand out. “The Orb Festival” is another fast-paced, richly-developed battle theme highlighting some fantastic rock organ melodies and improvisations. The other rock track, “Walk Through the Towers”, lacks the definition and development to stand up against the other two.

While there are only five original compositions on Puzzle & Dragons, Ito adds some value to the soundtrack release with three bonus arrangements. Nobuyoshi Sano’s interpretation of “Departure” is excellent: he preserves the vibrant tones of the original composition while giving new life to the melody and introducing cutting-edge electronic styles. Kohta Takahashi’s “Walk Through the Tower” significantly refines and expands on the elements of the disappointing original, but it’s fairly linear arrangement overall.  Ito also personally arranges his favourite track from the score, “Dragon’s Den”. While the arrangement adheres closely to the original, it benefits from significantly richer development and better production values (including performances from a session guitarist).

Summary

Puzzle & Dragons is a decent soundtrack befitting the casual free-to-play title. The five compositions are pretty decent, but their melodic charms and rich development are antagonised by poor production values. The soundtrack release suffers from lack of material. However, the original compositions are all quite well-developed in contrast to those on Ito’s Hero Must Die soundtrack release. The arrangements — two solid, one excellent — also bring some substance to the release. Only hardcore fans of Puzzle & Dragons, however, are likely to find this release good value for money.

Puzzle & Dragons Original Soundtrack Chris Greening

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

2.5


Posted on July 3, 2016 by Chris Greening. Last modified on July 2, 2016.

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About the Author

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!



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