Wonder Project J Soundtrack, Akihiko Mori, 1994
The SNES isn’t necessarily known for its abundance of adventure games – a genre that flourished far more on PCs than on consoles during the mid-1990s. However, there are some adventure gems to be unearthed in the SNES’ library of games and the Japan-only Wonder Project J is undoubtedly one of them. Not only that, but it might well be one of the most unique and creative SNES games (and has rightfully amassed somewhat of a cult following since its release). Taking inspiration from Adventures of Pinoccio, Astro Boy and some of Hayao Miyazaki’s movies, Wonder Project J sees the player indirectly controlling a young android boy, Pino. While there is a storyline to complete, the player’s main task is to teach and train the naive boy, praising and scolding him for his actions (his default reaction to seeing any new object is to eat it).
Wonder Project J really comes to life through its gorgeous pixel art and lavish animations. This visual delight is matched by the game’s beautiful soundtrack, written by Akihiko Mori. Mori had created the score for developer Almanic’s previous game Shien’s Revenge, leaving his mark with one of the most densely orchestrated, opulent SNES soundtracks written up to that point. The young composer brings the same sensibilities to the Wonder Project J soundtrack. This time though, he gets a chance to apply his style to a more varied narrative that teases out his melodic talents.