You may have read in my previous review that I massively rate this game and will be investing a lot of time into this for my Twitch streaming.
I want to look at the soundtrack today as part of my Best Game Music Series, in particular the highly effective overworld music.
To play Terraria is to immerse yourself in a beautiful and picturesque world that slowly becomes stranger and more epic as you delve deeper. The goal of a composer would be to create an inviting and atmospheric soundtrack that maybe hints at the craziness ahead.
The track begins and reflects the sun rising on a new day. Then layers of melodies, chords and percussion swell and build. It's all very busy, but then you probably have a house to build so it instantly reflects the immediate action!
In terms of instrumentation it’s unsurprising that there is a chip tune element to the score given the fact that this is a pixelated visual adventure. As a design choice this gives a nod to the overall aesthetic. This is all underpinned by orchestral strings – a classic indicator of adventure ahead! Over the top there are space age style blips and bleeps with exaggerated effects. This gives the track an otherworldly quality that ramps up the escapism felt when playing.
With games like this, it’s easy to sit on your laurels and have a relatively safe music loop with a beginning, middle and end, with a suitably consistent beat sitting underneath it all. What is wonderful about this, and indeed every single track within the Terraria soundtrack is the amount of ideas crammed within each different loop. Sometimes a new melody will arrive with its own beat, then after about 5 seconds the bass and beat drops out completely and a brand new melody will arrive, setting up a melodic progression into something completely different.
What this means is the music doesn't feel repetitive, which is handy after about tens of hours of gameplay! You will find the music as surprising and varied as the complex world beneath your feet, then eventually you'll find yourself humming the tunes for ever - the very epitome of greatness!
This was composed by Scott Lloyd Shelly and you can find a great little interview with him about his Terraria work here.
What is your favourite game music of all time? I love talking about it so let me know!