Jukebox Heroes: Free Realms' soundtrack

Justin Olivetti
J. Olivetti|02.04.14

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Jukebox Heroes: Free Realms' soundtrack
Free Realms
There's something about the announcement of a game's closure that draws tons of interest to that MMO, the type of interest that it frankly needed long before now, not a few minutes too late. Even so, I had Free Realms on my to do list for a while now and figured that spending an hour with its score was something that needed to be done.

Free Realms had had a lot of fingers in its musical pie, including those belonging to Tracy W. Bush, Atli Örvarsson, David Raiklen, and Aaron Kaplan. As a score, it's very reminiscent of The Sims franchise's soundtracks: whimsical, childlike, and quite light on pounding percussion. The many minigames and themed zones probably demanded a good variety of motifs to be developed.

It's a very good score overall although not as wide on variety as I would typically like. Let's give this game the musical send-off it deserves!

1. Sanctuary

As far as I can tell, this right here is the theme of the game. Seriously, can you hear that Sims influence going on in there? Like movies but unlike most MMOs, Free Realms latches on to a core tune as its central theme that's echoed in many subsequent tracks. So if you like this tune -- as I do -- then it's safe to say that you'll like much of what's to come.

It's just a great track: full of energy, quick tempo, and a very memorable melody.

2. Merry Vale

Another reason this soundtrack rocks? Xylophone! Yes, my addiction to this instrument comes out yet again. The instrument choices in this track give it an exotic quality. I think people respond to playful tracks like this quite strongly, which is a shame since so many MMOs take a much more serious approach to music. It's about as far from generic fantasy tunes as we can get without straying into cartoony territory.

3. Seaside

This track is even more exotic than the last, almost Caribbean in feel as it throws in steel drums and what sounds like the first steps to a proper sea shanty. I love saying "shanty." Should I say it again? Oh, I shan't...y.

Seaside brings a smile to my heart and lips; I would love hearing this while playing any MMO, especially if it were in some sort of tropical or beach setting.

4. Farm

Farm shows how versatile that main theme can be, as you can swap in a different sound palette (in this case, a more folksy approach) while retaining the main melody. This track plays around with Sanctuary a bit, but it's basically a more restrained country version of the same tune.

5. Shrouded Glade

Free Realms' soundtrack will probably annoy the crud out of anyone who doesn't like insanely happy fantasy that sounds as though it was ripped from something with "shortcake" or "ponies" in the title. Shrouded Glade sounds to me much like the score to a little girl's fairytale castle (or my fairytale castle, but don't you judge). It's full of tinkles and charm, but perhaps in a way that will make you say, "OK, too much, too much." Your mileage may vary.

6. Memorial Caverns

Here is another variation on the main theme, this one with a much more eerie, ethereal bent. In any other MMO, it would be the soundtrack to some Elven city, I have little doubt.

Bonus: Pop Dance Boom Box

Free Realms apparently has several boombox dance tracks, and this one in particular got my toes tapping.

So what are your favorite Free Realms tracks? Give them some link love in the comments below!

MMOs aren't just about looks; they also have great soundtracks that often go unnoticed. Heroes don't stand for that! Every Tuesday, Jukebox Heroes will check out a game's soundtrack and feature the best tunes to share and discuss. Your DJ for the hour is Justin Olivetti, and the request line is open!
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