“Life Is Strange” Soundtrack


photo from 8tracks

“Life Is Strange” Soundtrack

by Jacob McAuliffe

If you’ve ever wanted to play a video game that features the type of music we play on KASC – The Blaze 1330 AM, then “Life is Strange” is for you. This is an indie game that plays like an indie movie that features an indie soundtrack.

Life is Strange is an episodic adventure game from Dontnod Entertainment. You play as teenager, Max Caulfield, a girl gifted with a knack for photography and a magical ability to rewind time. She also exemplifies the modern day hipster, and her music preferences reflect this.

To kick off the five episode game, the Dontnod team put together both Spotify and Youtube playlists of the soundtrack.

The first episode, released on January 30, features music from Syd Matters, Sparklehorse, José González, and Angus and Julia Stone. Syd Matters frontman Jonathan Morali also composed the game’s original score.  Other indie favorites such as Alt-J and Mogwai are featured on the official soundtrack playlists, so presumably they will be heard in later episodes.

For the most part, previously established songs play within the game world. Turn on the CD-player in Max’s room and listen to “Crosses” by José González. Watch Max pop in her earbuds and listen to Syd Matters’ “To All of You.” The only song that the characters don’t listen to within the game world is another Syd Matters track, “Obstacles.”

On their own, each and every song is great. However, the soundtrack lacks variety. Only Sparklehorse’s “Piano Fire” presents a noticeable change in tempo and tone. Unfortunately, the track is cut short in the game.

Morali’s original score centers around two distinct themes.  The first features an ambient piano with synthesizers in the background, while the second is made up of a several slow acoustic guitar riffs. The instrumentation eventually merges together, bringing the score close to a Syd Matters song. Once again, a little more variety would improve the musical experience.

Despite its flaws, I hope Life is Strange inspires more game publishers to incorporate independent music into their games. Doing so would at least create some musical variety for the game industry.