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 own personal favorite “winter” themes in RPGs. I have attempted to provide an eclectic mix of tracks from all sorts of RPGs throughout the years, but I’m sure that I have missed many amazing pieces as a result. But that’s where you come in – be sure to leave your own personal favorites down in the comments below.
Snowman – Earthbound
The Mother franchise is about as weird as they come. Whether it be hitching a ride on the fabled Nessie, or tussling with hippies and trash monsters in the streets, Earthbound has become a cult classic for good reason. One thing that keeps me coming back, however, are its environments and sound design. “Snowman” is about as iconic as a wintry theme can get, while still capturing the zany essence of the series. For that reason alone, it is one of my favorite tracks in the game.
Buried In Snow – Final Fantasy VII
Any time I listen to the Icicle Inn theme, I’m instantly transported back to grade school and, fittingly, the associated snow days during which I’d marathon Final Fantasy VII. This winter wonderland also provided a brief moment of respite before the narrative took a rather substantial dive into some serious, heavy stuff.
A Wish – Secret of Mana
I’ve always been an advocate for the “less is more” approach to music. While I can appreciate almost any tune, no matter how busy it might be, I find myself resonating exceptionally strong with those that get the job done with as little instrumentation as possible. A Wish is a fine example of this concept, and is a great “snowy” theme because of it.
Stillsnow – Octopath Traveler
Like A Wish, Stillsnow begins with a miniscule amount of fanfare, perfectly encapsulating what a frozen, silent landscape. Unlike the previous entry, however, this Octopath Traveler tune swells into an incredibly moving piece that is sure to get you right in the feels by its conclusion.
Snowy World – The Alliance Alive
Far too many RPGs break up the flow of other music once the player engages in combat, which is one thing I really enjoy about The Alliance Alive – it rarely chops up the music. You can enjoy the ambiance of almost any location while grinding away, which is why I fell particularly in love with this theme.
The Wind Can Be Still – Stardew Valley
Who doesn’t love some Stardew Valley? I think I was initially drawn to this by its similarities to Secret of Mana’s “A Wish,” but it quickly becomes its own, unique thing. For me, it gives off some serious nostalgic vibes, conjuring images of playing in the snow as a kid, and is quite a fitting theme as a result.
That’s it for this list. What did you think about my selection? Stay tuned for more musical spotlights in the future!