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I'm looking for some quality audio/soundtracks as inspiration.

Can you think of some really good puzzle games that went above and beyond in the audio category?

If you're an audio guy, is there anything you specifically think about when designing music for puzzle games?

If you know of examples for various styles, like dark/evil and bright/uppity, that would be great.

Audio can set the mood and drive the story you are trying to tell and I find many games not spending any time really thinking through the audio portion of their process. This is especially visible in iOS development where developers tend to get lazy because most are under the assumption that the user is just going to turn off the audio and turn on their iPod.

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closed as too broad by Byte56 May 28 at 14:06

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When it comes to audio in puzzle games, the two most effective soundtracks are still the Tetris and Dr. Mario themes. So the question is why do these work so well? One key factor is that they have a driving rhythm. The music of a puzzle game needs to reinforce the natural pace of the game, as players will tend to make moves at around the tempo of the musical piece. So a slow ambient piece can be great for a turn based puzzle, but for a real time puzzle you want a nice quick rhythm.

Another key factor is the layered nature of the two compositions. Puzzle game music will be listened to for an extended period of time, so it needs to be the kind of music the ear will dissect and find new elements to catch on to over the hours a player might be playing a game. The tetris theme is based on a russian folk song and features some simple but interesting harmonies that make it kind of like a stripped down classical piece. The Dr. Mario Chill theme is a bit jazzier but still throws in interesting harmonic changes and switches structure a few times.

In my opinion the worst kind of music for a puzzle game is the "ambient classical"-type game music that seems to be of prominence now. That kind of music just fades into the background, and for a puzzle game you need music that engages the player a bit more because they won't be distracted by tons of explosions or voiced dialogue.

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The two best? Have you tried Chime? –  bobobobo Jun 23 '13 at 13:09

Phoenix Wright*. This is a game where the main character (a lawyer) has to defend his clients from an impossible case where the odds are always stacked against him.

When the main character gets trapped in a corner with no more evidence to present, the music dies down. Suddenly, the main character gets an inspiration (usually from self-monologues or from other characters) and the music suddenly becomes cheery and you feel that you can actually win the case.

Here's a youtube video of a case where Phoenix is cross-examining a witness. Notice the music change at 0:55. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJWiohNd3Us&feature=related

  • I see this game as a puzzle game in the vein of point-and-clicks adventure games.
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