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Soundtrack review: WonderWorlds (Kenny Young – 2017)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: WonderWorlds (Kenny Young – 2017)

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“Wonderworlds” is a user-generated content game for iOS. WonderWorlds is a place of limitless imagination, of adventure, discovery, beauty, and maybe just a little peril.
The Bozos have landed and it’s time for you to clear up! Grab, jump, tumble and throw yvour way through hundreds of hand-crafted levels collecting objects, stickers and costumes along the way.But that’s not all. Have you ever wanted to make your own little dreamworld, or even waking nightmare? A medieval zoo, some kind of castle of superhero loneliness, or just a mad photo gallery of your holiday? A race track, a cheese festival, a turbo-powered hedgehog helicopter. It’s all there for the building, and the only limit is your imagination. Kenny Young wrote the score.

I love exploring game scores, no matter if it’s a big profile franchise game or a small phone game; game score composers always try to make the music immersive and fascinating and there really are no limits to their creative imagination. This particular score opens with the title track which is a nice, feel good, island vacation like groovy piece that puts me in a good mood. There is even a bit of nostalgia as I somehow remember the old “Monkey Island” games I used to play as a kid. The music is simple and joyful as it was for games a long time ago and there’s a small retro vibe in this one.

What I like about “WonderWorlds” is that the composer doesn’t just write background music; he experiments with sounds, with voices used as instruments (and I can only imagine that vocalisations and strange sounds like in the beginning of “Clear conches” make even more sense in the context of the game; I can associate this pace and these sounds with performing certain tasks during game play. The music is still fun and vacation like with an infectious optimistic and childish mood that is just charming to hear. I think even more than a lot of other compositions I’ve heard this year, Kenny Young’s music sounds like it belongs in a computer game; I can’t imagine it as a film score, not even animation. There’s a certain sound I’ve come to expect after 30 years of gaming on all possible platforms and “WonderWorlds” nails it. This really is the music for a fairy tale world, a fantasy world where everything is possible and the score inspires me to dream like that.

Then there’s the awesome retro electronic sound of “Sparksville, NJ” and “Photovoltaic” which take me back to my favourite decade, the 80s, and my favourite sound, the synth. This piece is everything I love about music, this is how my love for music started all those years ago, with this simple and perfect sound. No matter how much music evolves or how many years pass this will always remain my most precious comfort zone and Kenny Young can write synth wave with the best of them. Also from all the branches of synth wave, the sound of these cues is my sweet spot, light and alert.

“WonderWorlds” is a score where the composer does everything right; it’s simple, cathy, retro, feel good and I will definitely come back to it in the future.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 20 / 37

Album excellence: 52%

Highlights:
Clear Conches
Sparksville, NJ
Photovoltaic
Memory Stash
Fleeting

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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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