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Soundtrack review: Minecraft (Mini battle game) (Gareth Coker – 2016)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Minecraft (Mini battle game) (Gareth Coker – 2016)


Minecraft is a sandbox video game originally created by Swedish game designer Markus “Notch” Persson, and later fully developed and published by Mojang. The creative and building aspects of Minecraft enable players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat. The “Mini battle game” is an expansion  where you try to kill, hide, and survive, hoping to be the last player standing.
The mini game takes place on a variety of familiar set pieces—an evil lair full of lava, a pirate cove, an ancient temple—and the game spawns weapons, armor, potions, and food in chests around the arena for players to find and fight over. Gareth Coker wrote the score.

The opening cue jumps at me from nowhere and I can only imagine it came from my daughter’s toy chest as it’s as playful and delightful as anything in that place. “Toys on a tear” could work for a game, an animation movie or a commercial for a kid’s amusement park. I love it. As the next cue “Dance of the blocks” comes at me with an even wider smile I check to see if I have the right score. This is a battle game, right? Who cares, I’m having fun and it’s not often that I am in the right mood to enjoy happy careless music like this. I figure the composer went with just writing music for the general environment of the game and let the players take care of that other stuff. All I can say is that I love this happy world. “Master builder” feels like a combination of “Home alone” and “MacGyver” and yes since Gareth Coker is doing it why shouldn’t I let my imagination run free? No time to even have these thoughts as “Double time” makes me rise from my chair and, well…groove on its jazzy and frantic vibes. This is a game score that doesn’t need the game to make me feel good and smile and enjoy life. This is what listening to music is all about for me.

This score is all about high energy and not sitting down. There are delightful piano sections that remind me of the energy of the rock and roll age from the 50s and a cue like “Time is of the essence” is already a favourite of mine. The frantic use of the xylophone also puts a big smile on my face and I just can’t get enough of this music. I think the composer must have had a great time writing it. Midway through it I start imagining I’m watching Benny Hill sketches since the music relays that kind of mood with the silly chases and all. The tumble section of the game is obviously my favourite.

The tone changes in the City, fantasy and steampunk modes accordingly but I’m still enjoying it especially since the city section goes retro electronic and the Frontier section goes western.

What can I say? This is quite a gem and I invite you all to listen to it.

Cue rating: 91 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 80
Album excellence: 44%
Toys on a Tear (Shrunk)
Dance of the Blocks (Shrunk)
Master Builder (Shrunk)
Double Time (Tumble)
Agile Accelerando (Tumble)
Lickety Split (Tumble)
Time is of the Essence (Tumble)
Swift Descent (Tumble)
Dashing on the Double (Tumble)
Pronto (Tumble)
Breakneck Boogie (Tumble)
8-Bits, Pieces & Chunks (City)
Steaming Superstructures (Steampunk)
Sunset Riders (Frontier)
The Outlaw (Frontier)
Desert Duel (Frontier)
Crafter’s Candy Canes (Festive)

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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