You might not have heard much about the game Shuttle Rush, an indie platformer for Ouya and Wii U eShop. And you might possibly find the cover art of this soundtrack album a bit... bizarre. But if you have any fondness for modern chiptune music, you may well love the combination of game music synth and dance music grooves within Shuttle Rush OST.
The sound in Shuttle Rush falls somewhere around NES and Genesis quality, with a few studio touches. Generally the bright lead instruments sound 8-bit, while the basslines, percussion, and accompanying instruments are around what you'd expect from the Genesis, if not a bit beyond. Streets of Rage was actually the first soundtrack that came to mind when I first heard it. For those who like the chiptune sound but can find a whole album of pure 8-bit tiresome, the synth in Shuttle Rush is a perfect compromise.
Emery "DaMonz" Monzerol's compositions similarly strike a balance between 8-bit action and modern dance music styles. The upbeat and melodic title track "Shuttle Rush" would fit right into a great Mega Man soundtrack, while "Galactic Groove" screams NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but has even greater energy. On the dance side, "Observate" combines chill drum 'n bass with some fantastic spacey synth, "Main Jam" brings surprising funk, and while "Space Jungle" cheats a bit with some samples, the result is an infectious groove that's almost impossible to sit still to. Topping off the album in "Settle Back" is, of all things, a mellow reggae jam, reprising the title theme and again offering some fantastic synth work.
Shuttle Rush OST is one of those great surprises you get from the indie game music scene. In combining chiptune synth with dance music influences, not only does it offer retro VGM sound and melody, but it brings some genuinely body-moving grooves to boot. Yuzo Koshiro would be proud.