Earlier today Nintendo Europe added The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soundtrack to Club Nintendo, which is jolly for those in the region with a load of stars to spend, but disappointing for anyone else. It continues Nintendo's slightly odd policy of creating some of the greatest soundtracks in recent times and locking them down in loyalty schemes and giveaways. It's odd for a simple reason - there's an audience that would happily buy these soundtracks on CD or as downloads, yet Nintendo is resistant to cashing in. There's little to lose but, still, here we are.
Yet Nintendo has shown, in recent times, a willingness to modernise and adjust its approach to accommodate some fan demands. The optimists among us can hope for a future Nintendo subsidiary that'll handle soundtrack releases as a matter of course to iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music et al, and give us uncomplicated access to all of this marvellous music.
Which soundtracks do we want to see, then? Well, the ten below are all from this generation and would be hugely welcome; in each case we've outlined the current options, if any, but remember that we're gunning for easy-to-access downloads and / or local CD purchasing options.
As anyone not living under a rock for the last few months will know, a dual-disc soundtrack has been given as a special gift to those that registered both version of the game on Club Nintendo. That's all very good, but for those that don't have both versions or aren't inclined to use their Wii U or 3DS as sound systems, it's not perfect. We want this soundtrack on our phones etc (legally), and will happily pay for the privilege.
A fabulous game that earned a rare 10 in our review, it's also an experience to be savoured with a pair of headphones. Blending remixed retro tracks with new compositions, it's a stunning audio experience on 3DS, and now an option for Club Nintendo owners in Europe.
This soundtrack can be imported at a hefty premium following its CD release in Japan, and isn't the only example of an album released in Nintendo's homeland and not elsewhere. Masahiro Sakurai's brilliant - though that's perhaps a divisive view - action title was driven by a powerful orchestrated soundtrack, so this would be a real treat.
Credited as the release that secured the IP's future, this excellent strategy game from Intelligent Systems has a suitably grandiose soundtrack to suit the tale of war, friendship and redemption. Another soundtrack that received a beautiful physical CD release in Japan, it's an import option while we wait for more convenient opportunities.
We're cheating a little here, as this will be a current-gen soundtrack soon courtesy of the New Nintendo 3DS release. This is a grandiose RPG with almost unfathomable scale, and the soundtrack is a labour of love that does it credit.
A soundtrack with tracks so good that Luigi hums along - he really does! - this likely has more depth than some appreciate. Genuinely spooky at times, with tingling off-key piano being a common sound, it's also whimsical and light-hearted when required; a lovely soundtrack.
Still the only Wii U retail game to score a perfect 10 in our review (though others have been mighty close) this soundtrack was played by a real-life Big Band, bringing the game to life with bombastic, playful and slightly camp / cheesy music. As a game it brings pure joy through its design, and the music reflects that - it's been available as a Club Nintendo reward.
With Retro Studios at the helm it was little surprise that this was one of the most accomplished platformers of 2014, but the return of David Wise as lead composer elevated the soundtrack to his typically high standards. Famous for the original SNES DK soundtrack that began it all, among many others, Wise proved that he's still as talented a musical craftsman as ever.
Nintendo Life Editorial Director Damien McFerran can't get enough of the opening screen music for Mario Kart 8; with no exaggeration he can't hear that track without bursting into song himself. It's just one of many fabulous tracks performed by a talented live band - oh, and the Mute City track is on a whole new level.
Koei Tecmo's crossover title certainly takes The Legend of Zelda into new territory, and also has a soundtrack that rocks it up with familiar tracks. Well suited to the action of slaughtering hundreds of enemies - it's a pretty brutal game, if you really think about it - it's proven to be popular with plenty of Wii U gamers.
A special mention should go to the Etrian Odyssey series entries on 3DS, which have featured soundtracks with pre-orders and also have CDs available to import on Japan. They're well worth a listen.
What's odd is that Nintendo is somewhat behind the trend with soundtracks. The following game soundtracks can be bought - often as affordable downloads - via a simple Google search.
Recommended Soundtracks to Buy
- Bravely Default - A lovely listen, though it's only available as a fairly pricey CD in the West, via the official Square Enix store.
- Pokémon X & Y / Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire - Nintendo may own Pokémon, but it's hands off in allowing The Pokémon Company to release iPad and PC apps, among other things. You can also buy practically every Pokémon soundtrack on iTunes, including those for the most recent releases.
- Shovel Knight - Shovel Knight is a glorious retro-inspired platformer, which has earned Yacht Club Games many deserved awards and plaudits. The soundtrack is important to its appeal, though, and Jake Kaufman's admirable work can be found for download on Bandcamp.
- The Wonderful 101 - Platinum Games, typical of its approach and free-spirited nature, is big on releasing soundtracks online for us to buy, doing so through its own label called Polaris Tone - it's just a google search away.
- Bayonetta 2 - As above with The Wonderful 101, and very much worth a listen.
- Rayman Legends - Ubisoft isn't often held in the highest regard, but it knew it had a great soundtrack on its hands with this lovely platformer. You can pick this up as a CD - though it seems pricey - or as a more reasonable download.
So those are game soundtracks that we'd love to buy. Let us know which current-gen music soundtracks are you favourites, while you can vote on the 10 Nintendo soundtracks we want to see released in the poll below - which would you most like to buy?
Which of these current generation Nintendo soundtracks would you most like to buy? (684 votes)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Fire Emblem: Awakening
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon
Super Mario 3D World
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Mario Kart 8
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