Octogeddon Soundtrack (PC), Big Giant Circles, 2018
“Every game before Plants vs. Zombies, I was just making a game. Now, after making Plants vs. Zombies, I’m making a game in that shadow.” That’s how developer George Fan described the not necessarily easy task of following up one of indie gaming’s biggest successes. But while Octogeddon didn’t sell by the bucketload like Plants vs. Zombies did, it still ranked as another success for Fan, with consistently strong feedback from reviewers and gamers. Like Plants vs. Zombies, Octogeddon works from a deliciously silly concept – this time it’s a homicidal octopus that swears revenge after seeing his friends served as sushi, vowing to destroy the world’s most famous landmarks (think Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty etc.) Fan decided to mix the arcadey nature of the gameplay – including hilarious weapon/tentacle upgrades – with rogue-like elements that helped to keep the game’s early levels challenging, even upon repeated playthroughs.
The Plants vs. Zombies soundtrack – courtesy of Laura Shigihara – had become one of game music’s first indie breakthrough successes back in 2009. Shigihara didn’t return for Octogeddon and instead, scoring duties went to Big Giant Circles (aka Jimmy Hinson). Looking at Hinson’s discography, the charming, action-packed 2D aesthetic and gameplay that Octogeddon sports was right in his ballpark – consider his previous chiptunes-pop smashes Pocket Mine and Extreme Bike Trip. Other scores released since those fairly succinct works had given Hinson the opportunity to create more expansive soundtracks – and Octogeddon is his most successful attempt at a full album-length score yet. He’s is helped on a few tracks by Fan, who has his material arranged by Hinson, ensuring a coherent album flow.