Game That Tune


Clean Sweep

Dustforce’s chill tunes make the perfect soundtrack to summertime chores.

By Derrick Sanskrit • August 15, 2013

Game music has the power to earworm its way into your heart long after you put the controller down. Each week in Game That Tune, we highlight a great tune from a great game (or a great tune from a just-okay game).

I understand spring cleaning. I do. The blossoming life makes people crave a fresh start. That makes sense. Personally, though, I’ve always preferred summer cleaning. If I’m going to scrub my bathtub, I’d rather do it while my bathroom is already a sauna. That way, I can bask in the afterglow of my handiwork while I wash off the sweat I just worked up. The downside of summer cleaning, though, is that I’m too hot and tired to work to all that high energy ’80s montage music that motivates me through chores the rest of the year. Enter the Dustforce soundtrack.

Equal parts shoegaze and trip-hop, Terrence “Lifeformed” Lee’s original score is a blissed-out wave of soothing grooves. Like the graceful janitorial action of the game it soundtracks, Lifeformed’s music is smooth and relaxed, but just a little too filthy and funky to put anyone to sleep. “Cider Time,” in particular, revels in the multilayered goodness that comes with blowing away coats of dust. Crystal synths float in the air like so many barely visible particles, and the confident thwak of the snare hits you like a push broom to the face. Rich echoes ripple through a cavernous sonic expanse while a well-rounded, delayed bass keeps everything warm and grounded. The hi-hats even sound like gentle rhythmic sweeps, pulling you ever so slightly closer to the action with every hushed tick. This is the sound of comfortable confidence, the understanding that there is wonder in the world immediately surrounding you, but that none of it is beyond your reach. Just pick up a broom and go.

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33 Responses to “Clean Sweep”

  1. MintBerry_Crunch says:

    Can I just say how much I love the little animated banners in these? This is a pretty website. I should play Dustforce.

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      He’ll never clean up that banner at this rate.

    • Chalkdust says:

       This is also one of the rare Game That Tune banners that doesn’t incorporate an iPod, earbuds or headphones…

      • Yup. I had them in for a while but it felt both too busy and unnatural. Thanks for noticing, and sorry about the lack of continuity.

        • NakedSnake says:

          Out of morbid curiosity, what are the legal considerations in making these silhouette gifs? Presumably you are starting with something from the game and then edit it? Is there a fair use for you to use/modify the game images like that (like I assume there is for screenshots)?  

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:


      “Family Love MintBerry”

    • NakedSnake says:

      I love how Teti used that one animated banner on Mega Man day, and Derrick has never looked back.

  2. Effigy_Power says:

    I am sorry, I can’t hear you over Europa Universalis IV’s bombastic, orchestral soundtrack.
    Seriously, I think I permanently scraped it into my brain.

    • MintBerry_Crunch says:

      Oh Lord, orchestral crescendos like this had my heart swelling at times when playing Crusader Kings 2. 

      Never enough not to purge me some infidels.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I’ll wait for a pianissimo section next time.

    • SamPlays says:

      Much to your chagrin, this statement further proves Sam Barsanti’s point that CoD and EU4 are essentially the same thing.

      • MintBerry_Crunch says:

        I don’t know.

        Killstreaks don’t give me the same as rush as squeezing out a heir who could potentially impart Joffrey-levels of awfulness. Thank goodness for hired killers.

    • Marozeph says:

      I still think Journey might have the greatest video game soundtrack of all time. Hell, it’s the only game soundtrack i ever bought.

      • Oxperiment says:

         Wintory really did amazing work, but I’m in the mood for Dustforce’s soundtrack much more often. You can just pick up and play the thing all the time.

  3. PaganPoet says:

    This is funkay. Square waved arpeggios, lots of reverb, sick nasty beats (in the words of Robyn, “something that’ll get you in trouble”); It may make you want to clean, but it makes me want to sit on a porch with a glass of iced sangria on a late summer evening.

  4. huge_jacked_man says:

    Dustforce is a very underrated precision platformer and everyone should play it.

    There’s a bit of a steep learning curve but if you stick with it for a few hours the game rewards mastery like no other modern platformer – even Super Meat Boy doesn’t have as high a skill ceiling.

    And the music is perfect. 

    • lokimotive says:

      Dustforce is astonishingly difficult and I suck terribly at it, but it is undeniably a fantastic game, and for those that have far better hand eye coordination than I, it’s very rewarding.

      You’d think that this type of music would be out of place, then, as most rock hard games concentrate on ‘pump you up’ type music and Dustforce’s music is decidedly more relaxed. But that’s really not the case, the music does nothing but enhance the necessity for precision. Sanskrit, makes a great observation when he mentions ‘comfortable confidence’ in the article, as that’s exactly what’s evoked. I never could really get why the soundtrack fits so well, but he hit the nail on the head.

      • Touchdown_Spenser says:

        It’s that “comfortable confidence” that also makes it a great soundtrack for knocking out a bunch of real-world work.

        “If I can clean up that crazy castle, these TPS reports should be noooooooo problem.”

      • lokimotive says:

        Maybe I should be listening to it today, because I am doing fuck all at work.

    • CrabNaga says:

      I found the difficulty curve to be a bit too strict, although I’m the type to aim for the best rating in as many restarts as it takes. The controls sometime feel like they’re fighting you when you’re trying to maintain some ludicrous combo. I think I only got to the 2nd tier of levels before getting too frustrated to continue.

      • huge_jacked_man says:

        There’s a point in this game where you can get SS ratings on normal levels but start struggling very badly on Silver/Gold levels. This is when the real game starts and you actually need learn how to use your dash and 2 types of attack. Unfortunately there’s nothing else to do than practice for a few hours but once you get that hurdle cleared is when the game’s greatness becomes apparent.

    • Marozeph says:

      I probably would’ve loved it, but i currently don’t have a gamepad for my PC and the keyboard controls are a total pain (and this is coming from someone who has beaten Super Meat Boy with a keyboard).

      • Oxperiment says:

         Woof. Yeah, I can only play Dustforce with a controller, and I can’t even play it streaming to my TV because of the slight frame slowdown (or dissonance because I learned to play it on a laptop right in front of me, I can’t tell). If only Super Meat Boy worked on a mac instead of crashing every 5 seconds, I could make the difficulty comparison directly.

  5. SamPlays says:

    Listening to that track and watching that screenshot in the “video” is a weird sensation – good song, terrible screenshot. It makes me feel like I’m watching Derrick bask in the afterglow of scraping his bathtub as he washes off the sweat he worked up. I’m gonna need a beer after this one.

  6. Matt Kodner says:


  7. Cornell_University says:

    This is getting ridiculous.  There’s a goddamn 50 gallon drum on the sidewalk outside the building just baking in the sun.  My Chinese is a little rusty, but it seems to contain “marrow of the panda unborn”.  Whatever, it’s really hot today and the thing is starting it stink.  There’s a residents meeting tonight about the spate of incidents.  You’re on notice, Teti.