I ran a poll on through my Twitter account (@ninichimusic) asking what people might like to see more of on my blog. The top votes went for ‘Updates on my music’ and ‘Game music tips’. So, I’ve been thinking about what I can share about the music I’ve been working on and here is the first blog of hopefully a series of them, which offer a little bit more insight into the game music and other music projects I’ve had the privilege of working on, and how they’ve come together.
I’ve also done several interview style blogs, which have generally been received well and so although it may be a little strange interviewing myself – I’m going to use that kind of format to hopefully make these easy and fun to read! So here’s goes my first one!
What’s Shakey’s Escape about?
Shakey’s Escape is an adventure game about a cat, Shakey whose owner kicks him out of the house and from there on, your journey begins! You wander the streets coming across various puzzles, villains and much much more.
It’s a game developed by Smashing Pixels, also known as Doobly HQ. Earlier on last year I wrote an article taking a closer look at the game just as it was about to launch: Introducing the Game: Shakey’s Escape. It’s now available on Android and i0S and is free to download.
What’s the soundtrack like?
The original game music soundtrack consists of 10 tracks, which I would probably separate out into 3 different styles and/or moods:
1. Dreamy and relaxed
For the main menu track I tried to create a dreamy feeling. It’s when Shakey the cat, is snuggled up by a lovely, warm fireplace. In the music I tried to make it feel cosy and relaxed, and I think that the harp helps greatly in achieving this.
2. Light and sneaky
A lot of the game music that I composed for this game fall into this category. This is because the bulk of the game is when Shakey is exploring different places. There’s sneaking, discovering, playing, jumping, getting into trouble in lots of different ways – and I tried to reflect this in the music.
Since Shakey has just been kicked out by his original owner, everything that he sees and discovers through the various levels of the game is a new experience. So, there are elements of danger, mystery, uncertainty and cautiousness in the music too.
A few things that you may notice when you listen to the game music, is that a lot of the soundtrack is in a minor key and I’ve chosen to use a lot of pizzicato strings. To me, that was a way to create that sneaky, jumpy, cat-like feel.
3. Fights & Action
As one may expect, there are some fights in the game! Shakey’s adventures aren’t all just wandering around and discovering new things. There are villains that cross Shakey’s path and that must be dealt with!
So, for the levels and sections where there is more action taking place, the music becomes more intense to reflect this.
You may also notice that the music style changes as you get to the higher levels. It becomes more energetic, urgent sounding and retro. These are the tougher levels, which are much more difficult to get through and everything that Shakey is experience is really out of his comfort zone e.g. trying to fly a helicopter! The music, therefore, is more intense and faster to reflect this.
What did I enjoy most about working on this soundtrack?
Shakey’s Escape is the first original soundtrack that I’ve released and so I’m really honoured to have worked on it with Rob, the developer of the game.
It has been such a fun and rewarding journey to see the game develop and the music develop alongside it. I saw lots of clips of the game as I worked on the music for each level of the game. That really helped to give me an idea of what I needed to make the music work well with, and it was also just really stimulating and fun to see how the game was coming along.
By the time we finished working together, I couldn’t wait to see the full game released! It has been really well received so far and I just hope that the soundtrack does the game justice and gets just as well received as the game itself!
Is the soundtrack available and what’s next?
Yes indeed it is. Shakey’s Escape OST is available on bandcamp now.
In terms of what’s next for me – well, I’d love to do more game music soundtracks as well as other music projects. So, if you need some help with your game music soundtrack, let me know (i.e. contact me here)! I’d also love to release more of the soundtracks I’ve done and sharing more blogs/information on them too, so watch this space!
About the author: Ninichi is a freelance composer and music enthusiast. She has composed the soundtracks and music to several indie games. Contact her: to explore working with her on your game, film or media project.
Follow her @ninichimusic