Monday, December 27, 2021

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2021 Awards - Top Five Best Original Soundtracks

Welcome, one and all, to the annual tradition that concludes each and every year here at SPC: It's the SuperPhillip Central Best of Awards! This time around we're looking back at the gaming year that was 2021. Like we've done in previous years, we'll be providing you, dear readers, with eight unique countdowns in list form, celebrating the best and brightest in gaming this past year. From the year's biggest surprises to the most overlooked games, and of course the crowning of SPC's Game of the Year on New Year's Eve to say goodbye to 2021 in style, there will be a wide assortment of lists to get through together. With that, let us get to the very first list of this year's awards!

And we're doing so with a bang, and a boom... and some stellar notes, too! Subjectivity is always a thing with video games, but perhaps that is no truer than with this first top five list and awards category: Best Original Soundtracks of 2021. After all, one gamer's great soundtrack is another's passable one. It's all up to the listener! While there has been no shortage of excellent tunes to trance out and vibe to, the truly fantastic soundtracks of the year have left a memorable mark with stirring sounds, magical melodies, and a robust repertoire of tunes. 

Games with soundtrack comprised mostly of licensed songs, such as Forza Horizon 5, how ever much a super sampling of music that is, do not qualify for this list. Hence, the "original" adjective thrown in before "soundtracks", of course! Now, onto the list!

5) Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (PS4, NSW, PC)

To kick off this list in style, we have a game series that will always have a place on one of these types of lists in the year of its release: the Ys series! The ninth numbered installment in the series, Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, brought with it a more Gothic sound to it, in addition to the series's traditional hard rock and heavy metal goodness of more modern entries. It's all fitting for the darker and more intense approach that Ys IX delivers, giving the soundtrack an almost Castlevania-like quality to its music. That's a high compliment if I've ever written one, which I just did! 


Dreaming in the Grimwald

Welcome to Chaos

Heart Beat Shaker

Feel Force

4) Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania (Multi)

Bright and bouncy, much like the Monkey Balls that speed through the game's death trap courses, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania's soundtrack is one part original music and one part returning tracks from Super Monkey Ball 1 and 2. It IS a celebration of 20 years of Monkey Ball madness, after all! We'll be focusing on the former set of songs, as it doesn't seem that fair to set our sights merely on previously used music. Regardless, the new songs are absolute bops and amazingly fitting for the Super Monkey Ball series. Many rival or downright obliterate the original themes, if such a thing isn't sacrilegious of me to say as a Super Monkey Ball fan. Either way, these songs do not get grating even after your sixtieth time "falling out" on the same floor!

When a Person Dreams

Skip Forward with Me

Attack is the Best Form of Defense

Star on the Black 2021

Monkey's Highway

3) Monster Hunter Rise (NSW, PC)

Monster Hunter music with an especially Japanese flavor, Monster Hunter Rise brings a joyous reverie of sound with its stellar music. From the title screen and main camp's pleasant and pretty vocal tunes, to the riveting and rambunctious battle themes with monsters and beasts alike, listeners of Monster Hunter Rise's soundtrack receive an absolute treat in their ears. There's something for everyone and for every mood with Monster Hunter Rise's music, and the amazing melodies only further enhanced my opinion of this game's soundtrack.

Kamura's Song of Purification

Sanctuary Abandoned by the Gods

Where Wyverns Go to Die

Cold Blues and Flaming Reds

Quest Completed

2) Death's Door (Multi)

To say that I was floored by Death's Door would be quite the understatement. David Fenn's work on this excellent action-adventure game accentuates said action when it needs to, and is more subdued but still delightfully melodic, when needed when exploring the depressing yet beautiful world of the game. Battle themes like Avarice and Betty deliver thrills while Ceramic Manor and The Old Watchtowers offer a hauntingly gorgeous sound to them. The soundtrack fires on all cylinders, and it's very much worth a purchase. Check out the full soundtrack on David Fenn's Bandcamp page, along with other soundtracks of his.

Death's Door 

Ceramic Manor


The Old Watchtowers


1) Bravely Default II (NSW, PC)

Speaking of being floored by a soundtrack, there's the grand return of prog rock maven Revo to the Bravely Default series with his Bravely Default II masterclass of music composition. Whether you're navigating the world, towns, or dungeons of the game, or facing a climactic confrontation with a boss, you're in for a wild musical ride. There are really no losers when it comes to this soundtrack, whether that be a song or the listener! The brilliance of this soundtrack culminates with the last boss theme, which seems to effortlessly weave leitmotifs throughout the game to create one sensational note (or notes) to go out on. All of these factors make Revo's Bravely Default II the top original soundtrack of 2021 here at SuperPhillip Central.

Halcyonia, Home of the Spring Breeze

The Horizon: Endless Plains

Wiswald, The Scholars' Haven

Battle Against the Ones We Inevitably Confront

Eyes That Gaze into the Nexus ~ The Ones Who Gather Stars in the Night

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