In terms of development, Phoenix is one of the most interesting games I have worked on. El Drijver (with co-owner Tijmen Roberti) knew exactly what they wanted but still left enough freedom and space to be creative within his instructions.
Firi Games understood that good audio works for the experience of playing not just as sound designed for a game. It's a subtle but very important difference as it takes the audience into consideration, especially when play sessions can last a long time. Although it's not entirely obvious when watching a gameplay video from playing it yourself, try focusing your attention on the ships little cockpit (where it is vulnerable to incoming fire) when watching the linked video. It will help clarify why impacts only have sounds when they take turrets down (which returns health to the player ship).
PhoenixHD's audio effects are all tuned to the music and approach that was chosen to prevent ear fatigue. Session can last between a few seconds up to half an hour with limited variation in available samples due to the platform restrictions.
For an updated version of Phoenix the gamemusic has been changed. The new piece (Waves) replaces the dreamy feel of old (Ashes to Dust) with upbeat heroism. Both are presented in this video.
One reason for this change is that the old music had been completed as Phoenix was still in development.
The new music better fits the "endless waves of enemies" ethos with rising chords of strings and choir loosely layered over a driving beat.
The beat remains (deliberately) unchanged during the entire track. This helps mask the point of the loop and helps keep momentum after the build up reaches a crescendo.
Because the sound-effects had been tuned to the music, some now sounded off key and had to be redone!
For a version 2.0 release we finally pulled everything together, overhauling all sound effects and mixing (for the better!) which can be heard in the free download for iOs.
Creation of sound effects for phoenix / phoenix hd.
Creation of background and menu music.
gameplay background music (phoenix hd 2011/2012)
gameplay background music (phoenix 2010/2011)