The music of Papo & Yo can be described as an immersive venture into the sonic world of South America, bolstered with dozens of instruments handcrafted by composer Brian D’Oliveira himself.
Layers upon layers of percussion from all around the world, guitars and guitar-like instruments, flutes, pipes, whistles and other sounds accompany the player along the journey in the game.
From the onset of the game, it becomes clear that Papo & Yo tells a much heavier tale than what we’re accustomed to in game narrative; it’s a semiautobiographical story of a boy (Quico) who has no other choice than to live with an alcoholic father (Monster) who’s physically abusive.
Brian’s music captures the tenderness and terror of the relationship between Quico and Monster. The story offers a glimpse into the complicated lives people lead under such trying circumstances.
The ending is heartbreaking not only narratively but musically. Here is the credits song. You can subscribe to episodes of Top Score on iTunes; find out more about Top Score and host Emily Reese at Classical MPR’s site.