While many point to how lifelike the next blockbuster action title is or how gorgeous an artistic indie darling is when it comes to evaluating a game, these visuals would lose their impact without a stirring soundtrack to score them. From the chip-tunes of Super Mario Bros to the Gregorian chants of Halo, video game music brings players closer to immersion and fantasy. Much like how a movie’s soundtrack sets the tone for dramatic scenes, game music also helps players connect emotionally with the story.
Checking the Score is a monthly feature devoted to these crucial compositions which are literally the soundtrack to our gaming lives. Delving into what makes them impactful, the process of composing them and the intricacies of each score, our aim is to put a spotlight on the aural backbone of gaming.
Into the Pit is a recently-released retro-inspired FPS with tons of roguelike flourishes. It’s fast paced, challenging and a lot of fun. A key part of the enjoyment and the frantic pace is the soundtrack. Without a sufficiently killer soundtrack, the game just wouldn’t feel nearly as impactful. Fortunately, the soundtrack by Jonny Pilcher stands out as well done and worth listening to on its own outside of the game as well.
Into the Pit kicks off with a bang in the track “Obsidian Hollows.” This song perfectly captures the vibe of the game, with its descent of the protagonist into a Hellish portal. It’s a clearly foreboding track, which sets the mood for the rest of the experience. Players will be blasting spells against enemies amidst copious chaotic battles, and this is just the welcome players need to get started. Unlike another Hell-themed game (Diablo II), this soundtrack is much more electronically-inspired which works well.
“Eldritch Night” starts out with darkwave stylings. After the introduction, the song evolves in a most unique way. There’s a new instrumentation that overlays the track, and feels somehow more positive in nature. It suggests that there’s a way out of the treacherous scenarios the player finds themselves in time and time again. This is by far one of the most unusual, yet satisfying, tracks in the game. It’s great to know the entire soundtrack isn’t one exclusively connoting pure dread, difficulty and death.
When it comes to a game soundtrack, it’s so easy to make everything in the same exact style without any experimentation or variation. Of course, the best soundtracks can encompass a variety of moods befitting to the overall gameplay experience. “Healing Pool” is a rare reprieve from the more serious songs, giving players a moment to reflect and possibly even feel safe. In many ways, it’s comparable to classic “safe room” songs from Resident Evil in the momentary relaxation it provides gamers.
Finally, let’s switch gears with the track “Corroded.” The track slowly builds up as it goes, with a steady bass beat but harsh screeching sounds at times against more melodic elements. The electronic nature of the track also shines through. The song becomes practically danceable at a point, which is seriously unexpected given the rest of the tracks and their overall theme. There’s a lot going on in this song, but it works.
All in all, the Into the Pit soundtrack kicks some serious butt. It’s just a shame that there are not even more tracks to enjoy! Perhaps that’s the nature of a roguelike. Just as you get used to the permutations of the game upon subsequent playthroughs, you also experience a lot of the same concepts (and songs) throughout. Those who have not yet given Into the Pit a try but enjoy FPSes and roguelikes should really do so. If that’s not your speed, but the songs presented here were enjoyable, then consider listening to the entire soundtrack.