Music is an integral part of any game. While pieces that truly compliment their environment are often capable of stirring emotions and conveying a story without the use of words, dull, uninspiring themes can go completely under the radar.
The list below is a compilation of some of my personal favorite “forest” themes in RPGs. If you missed the first round of picks, those can be found here. In this list, I have attempted to provide an eclectic mix of tracks from a variety of RPGs throughout the years. As such, it shouldn’t be considered an all-encompassing list – instead, I’d love to hear some of your own picks in the comments below!
Legal disclaimer: we do not claim to own any rights to this music – all rights go to their respective artists.
Secret Green Passage – Trails in the Sky FC
The Trails series is something I’ve desperately wanted to jump into but have always, for whatever reason, been unable to stick with it. I’ve started Trails in the Sky FC on Steam at least a dozen times, only to shelve it for more pressing (or anticipated) games. That said, I’ve always been impressed by the high-quality content within, including its phenomenal soundtrack. This is one game – or series, for that matter – I’d gladly pay full price for on the Nintendo Switch. With Cold Steel III coming soon, one can only hope that the rest of the series will eventually follow suit.
Mysteries of Time – Tangledeep
Our pick for best roguelike of 2019, Tangledeep is easily a favorite amongst the SwitchRPG staff, and for good reason. Filled to the brim with content, it makes other titles in the genre feel quite lackluster in comparison. It is a title one can get lost in for hours on end, not only because of its roguelike nature, but also because of its myriad of features and deep levels of character progression and customization. On top of it all, it boasts an impressive soundtrack by Andrew Aversa, with additional music by some industry legends, such as Hiroki Kikuta and Grand Kirkhope. Give it a listen – you won’t be disappointed.
The Golden Grove – Ni No Kuni
Speaking of SwitchRPG awards, Ni No Kuni received our “best soundtrack” recognition for 2019. Joe Hisaishi doesn’t disappoint here, displaying a masterfully crafted score that covers a broad range of themes and emotions. While I was playing this on stream last year, one viewer even asked if it was the legendary John Williams himself — it’s not, of course, but dang it if he isn’t cut from the same cloth! Golden Grove is simply a stunning piece and is easily one of my favorites from the entire soundtrack.
Secret of the Forest – Chrono Trigger
Surprisingly, this iconic track from Chrono Trigger didn’t make the cut for my first picks – its distant cousin, Cedar Woods / Breath of Fire III, did – but that wasn’t because it didn’t deserve a spot. Quite the opposite, really; this track by Yasunori Mitsuda is one of many examples why people hold this soundtrack (and game) in such high regard. This isn’t the first time I’ve discussed Chrono Trigger, and it won’t be the last.
Holyland – Ara Fell
A front runner for my favorite Switch game this year, Ara Fell took me by complete surprise when it finally arrived on Switch earlier this year. I knew I was in for a treat, having played it briefly years ago on PC, but nothing would quite prepare me for how much I would ultimately enjoy it. Like Tangledeep, Ara Fell pulls from the minds of multiple composers rather than a single person, with this one being composed by Louise Heaney. I absolutely love how this one combines tribal chants and percussion with softer melodic tones, culminating into a truly unique piece that has stuck with me long after I’ve rolled credits in game. I’m generally not even a fan of vocals in game songs, but the canorous hums here are undeniably soothing.
That’s it for this list. What did you think about my selection? Stay tuned for more musical spotlights in the future!