SimAnimalsWhile I’ve reviewed countless scores and soundtracks for film and television (and, oddly enough, even one for a graphic novel) I’ve somehow, until recently, missed out on the entire world of video game scores. And after listening to Winifred Phillips’ work on the SimAnimals game for the Wii I’m almost hesitant to listen to other game scores as I’m afraid that she’s set the bar so high that future scores can only disappoint.

Aside from the relatively spooky (and aptly titled) “Danger Woods,” the majority of the tracks here are energetic and uplifting. It’s easy to get an image of animals adventuring through lush gardens and woodlands while listening to Phillips’ creations. From the watery sounds of “Foggy Wallow” to the inquisitively plucked strings and orchestral wonderings of “Free Play” to the strumming harp that opens “Perfect World” this is a truly beautiful score. In fact, the score for SimAnimals is easily on par with any animated feature film score, establishing strong themes and creating moments of surprising emotional depth. Listening to this score is like being aurally immersed in a Disney cartoon. With 19 tracks coming in at around 40 minutes of music, Winifred Phillips has created a video game score that actually works as a stand-alone album: music that is fun to listen to even without the gameplay and character visualizations the game itself provides.

If the rest of her scores are as engrossing as this one, it’s no wonder that Phillips is such a highly sought after entity in the world of video game music. Looking at her repertoire, it seems that Phillips has a history of taking big box office hits and scoring the video games that tie in with them – including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Da Vinci Code, Shrek the Third, and Speed Racer. While I can’t speak to those, the score for SimAnimals is highly enjoyable and thoroughly entertaining.

Zach Says: A
Perfect For: Those looking for an uplifting and lighthearted  score
Stay Away if: You’re looking for mood music to listen to while reading Stephen King

To purchase the soundtrack for SimAnimals, visit Amazon
For more information on Winifred Phillips, visit her website

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