Review by tuba_hero

"Fun and unique, this game blends music and gaming for a great experience."

Ever since the days of Dance Dance Revolution (and probably before that), music and rhythm games have been gaining popularity in the forms of games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. In early 2008, a new rhythm game came along: this one for the PC, off of the Steam content delivery. Audiosurf was unique in the fact that instead of pushing buttons or jumping around on a mat, the player actually controlled a spaceship-looking object around a path, hitting blocks and creating color combos to earn points.

Also new was the ability to play any song you want on Audiosurf: as long as the song is DRM-free, Audiosurf supports most formats and you can play songs straight from CDs. In a few seconds, the game creates a track for the player to ride along with, using the song's beat, tone, and speed to determine the colors and blocks on the track.

Gameplay
Audiosurf is, in a few words, a very fun and entertaining game. As I previously mentioned, you control a spaceship, flying around and running into colorful blocks. There are 3 different difficulties and 14 different characters to choose from before every song. The characters each have special things about them – With Mono, for instance, the only thing to do is collect the one type of block and dodge the grey block. Using Pointman, you try to get combos of red, yellow, or blue, and you can move blocks and get powerups. Each mode is unique and adds another experience to the game. Using a mouse is the recommended way to play the game, as using the keyboard or a joystick is a little harder to control.

The game is fairly simple, really. Kids can easily play an average-speed song on Casual difficulty and still do a decent job. After playing a few games to master the controls, most people can move up to Pro, which is a little harder. After practicing, you can move up to Elite Mono and start playing that. Fortunately, Audiosurf keeps track of your scores and places you on a leaderboard if you do extremely well: there are boards for all three difficulties. You can challenge your Steam friends to a song, or play two-player while riding certain spaceships. All of this adds a competitive edge to the game, while keeping it casual for people who aren't into that.

In Audiosurf, there are 17 achievements you can earn by completing certain things. These show up on your Steam page so others can see what you've done. Most of these have to do with scoring points, but there are a few different ones: Collecting a certain number of blocks, or dodge all Gray blocks in certain modes, and other similar things. The achievements keep Audiosurf interesting and make it so you can keep aiming higher and higher.

Graphics
The graphics are, well, decent in Audiosurf. Nothing you'd expect from a high-end console game in 2008, but for it's 10 dollar price tag, it's better than expected. The futuristic highways you play on are smooth and colorful and the in-game scenery is really cool. A fairly uncommon problem is a slight lag between the highway and the music, but this usually fixes itself in seconds. The menus look nice and the whole game has a very high-tech ‘feel' to it.

Sound
Not much to say here, seeing as you can put any and every song you want into the game. There are a couple different ‘sound effects' you can switch to in the middle of a game, which is cool. The music that plays when you're not in the actual game is pretty cool too, and there's always a few free songs you can play if you need something new.

Replayability
Depending on who you are, you'll either love or hate Audiosurf. Even if rhythm games aren't your ‘thing', Audiosurf is still unique enough that you might just like it. And if you do like it, there's endless replayability factor. If you have a huge music library, it's always fun to test out different genres and artists to see the difference Audiosurf creates between then. It's also a good game to play if you just want a relaxing, calm game you don't have to read anything or fight anyone in. The replayability factor is definitely high in this game, and it often keeps me busy when I'm tired or bored.

Final Decision
I recommend that you buy this game. It's cheap price tag, the achievements and online modes, and the fact that there is no limit to the content in the game. When you're looking for a fun time killer, this is the game you'll be looking for. If you aren't sure about it, you can download a few sample songs from Steam's website, and make your decision from there. Overall, Audiosurf is a fun game and a must-have for anyone who likes music games.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/27/09

Game Release: AudioSurf (US, 02/15/08)


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