Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Skylanders: Swap Force (Game Soundtrack) by Lorne Balfe

Skylanders:  Swap Force (Game Soundtrack) by Lorne Balfe

The Limit's The Skies
Review by Richard Buxton

The ACTIVISION money train rolls ever onwards with the release of SKYLANDERS: SWAP FORCE - the third in the phenomenally successful SPYRO THE DRAGON reboot series -and with it comes LORNE BALFE’S third score release of the series. For those who find themselves outside the video-gaming loop, or those without children who happen to be clinically addicted to the Pokemon inspired collecting-based franchise, SKYLANDERS is a combination of video game visuals and physical toys that are connected through the use of near field communication, which sees those toys you purchase transported on to the screen and controlled by the players. Ultimately, SKYLANDERS is yet another gimmick with the sole aim of emptying the wallets of parents the world over, and to publisher Activision and the various development studios’ credit it’s one that is working tremendously well.

Having scored both SPYRO’S ADVENTURE and GIANTS, LORNE BALFE has returned for the third installment, SWAP FORCE. Like the music for the previous two releases, SWAP FORCE is endlessly playful but it is a score that is heavily restricted by the nature of the SKYLANDERS games. Like countless platformers before it, SWAP FORCE takes the player through various themed levels, and with each level comes differing musical thematic ideas. The style of gameplay within the platforming genre demands an open ended-musical structure, allowing the compositions to move along with the gameplay fittingly, despite a lack of rigid scripting within each level. This means that BALFE’S score rarely drops out, instead maintaining a consistent level of exuberance. Whilst suitable for the game itself, the score quickly becomes monotonous despite a noticeable restructuring on disc.

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