Review by chaotix_0
"Add a new twist to all your favorite songs"
"Ooooh look at the colors... dang, I overfilled!"
Welcome to Audiosurf, a different kind of music game. The first thing you should know about this game is that unlike Guitar Hero and Stepmania, you don't have to create charts for every song you want to play. The game automatically creates charts for any song you want to play, and they fit the music pretty well. The tracks slope uphill and go slow in calm sections, while you fly downhill at breakneck speed in hectic sections, and the whole time the track pulses with the beat of the song. This feature alone makes it unique and gives it an edge over many other music games, but none of that matters if the gameplay is bad. Well you'll be pleased to know that is not the case, and my review will show you why.
In Audiosurf there are many different characters you can pick to play as, which determine both the mode of the game and the difficulty. There are 2 main modes: the normal mode is a fast paced puzzle game where you are collecting different colored blocks as you fly down the track. You catch blocks you collide with in a 3X7 grid and try to form combinations of three or more of a color, with hotter colors being worth more than cooler colors. The game demands a decent bit of strategy and fast reflexes to be able to score high. Each character has different abilities that let you manipulate the blocks, from picking up blocks for later use or shifting them side to side, or even erasing all of one color. The other mode is Mono mode, in which there is only one color to pick up, but many grey blocks that must be avoided. Grey blocks cannot be used to score, and clog up your grid until enough time passes and they fade away. This mode demands less strategy but insanely fast reflexes, as you get a massive point bonus for avoiding every Grey block. In both modes you must avoid overfilling your grid, which is like dying, in that you become inactive and must wait to respawn. The characters come in three difficulties: Casual, Pro, and Elite, but unfortunately not every mode of character is available in every difficulty. The game can be slow and relaxing or fast and hectic based on what character you pick and your choice of song. Also included is an Ironmode option, which makes the game frighteningly hard, often taking away some of your abilities, and causing you to fail a song instantly if you overfill even once.
My two complaints about the gameplay are the lack of all modes of character in every difficulty, and the lack of an ability to create your own charts for songs. It's nice to have charts auto created, but sometimes you want to make your own.
Controls are simple and make sense for a PC game like this, movement is controlled by the mouse, or keyboard, or both at the same time. Arrows make you move lanes one at a time, while the ASDF keys let you jump to a specific lane then automatically return to center when released. Mouse movement speed can be customized in-game. Special abilities are activated with the left and right mouse buttons. Also, the XBOX 360 Controller is a viable control option if you have one, though really it is much harder than using your keyboard. Controls are fast and responsive and will not impede your gaming. One problem is the lack of an option to change the controls, which prevents this from being a 10/10.
The game's music is whatever you want it to be, so the sound is as good as you make it. The game has a few original tracks and menu music, and comes complete with the Orange Box Soundtrack. The sound effects in game have a few different variations to choose from, or can be turned off all together. Even with all this, it would have been nice to see some more original music in the game or at least another menu theme.
While they may seem average at first, they start looking great once you go into options and turn them up to premium. The tracks are fluid and the backgrounds have various little details as you cruise along. Everything is vibrant and colorful and changes with the mood of the music. Each character has a different ship with a different design, but they all pulse and change color in tune with the music as well. There are also various lighting effects you can apply to make the game look different. What matters most however, is the fact that the colors you need to pay attention to are different enough as to not be confusing. There are 5 colors of blocks (not including the greys) and these can all be changed to whatever color the player wants in options. The graphics have one major flaw though: the camera is so low that when you are hitting large bumps or hills the track in front of you obscures your view of what's to come, forcing you to rely on split second reflexes or... memorization of the course. There should be different camera views available.
A lot for a little, this is the one area where the game excels. The various different modes allow all kinds of strategies to shoot for the highest score, and you have a good reason to do so. Every score you earn is uploaded to the Audiosurf website and automatically put into the top 10 if you scored high enough. You compete with players around the world in any song you own. If you manage to get the number 1 spot and someone else takes it from you, you'll get an email from Audiosurf saying you have been "Dethroned" and it's time to take action. The website supports a friends list you can use to keep tabs on other players you like competing with, as well as constantly updating music for you to play through Audiosurf Radio. The game grows every time your music library does.
-Final Score- 9/10 (average)
Audiosurf is not just a game, it's a fun way to play (or even just watch) all your favorite songs whenever you want. As your music library grows, so does the game. If you're the competitive type, then Audiosurf can keep you busy for a long time competing with others for the best scores. The game is only 10 bucks on Steam, and can be easily enjoyed by casual gamers and hardcore Guitar Hero Pros alike. Highly Recommended for anyone who likes music games or puzzle games. If you hate puzzle games and don't enjoy the other music games on the market today, then Audiosurf may not be for you.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/08/10
Game Release: AudioSurf (US, 02/15/08)
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