Review by SoulRaiderX
Enter Audiosurf, the fast-paced music-based puzzler
Audiosurf is a really strange combination of many games. It probably is most easily seen as Tetris meets DDR. The gameplay is addictive, the graphics are trippy, and most of all, it's fun.
The graphics look really entertaining in Audiosurf. First, we have the track graphics, the actual 3D ones, which includes your ship and the blocks you collect, as well as the track itself. There are also the weird shape things that appear next to your track depending on the song you play. Then we have the effects that appear in the background (or foreground), which add a lot of colour to the game and make it look more attractive. Each ship has it's own visuals, and collecting different blocks shoot background effects across the screen. The graphics overall are not top-notch and you don't require an amazing PC to run it on full quality, but they don't need to be, because they are entertaining just the way they are.
Why am I even using this as a category? Audiosurf builds a course out of songs you import into it automatically, so almost any songs under the supported formats (CD, .mp3, .wma, .ogg, and .flac) work properly. This is one of the critical points of Audiosurf, as it allows to nearly endless courses by simply importing a newly downloaded or ripped song.
The gameplay of Audiosurf, as stated earlier, can be seen as a mixture of a high-paced dance game (such as DDR) blended with a puzzle game (like Tetris). You have access to 3 levels of ships: beginner, standard, and difficult (not under those names), and underneath each level is a different type of ship. Most ships are just upgraded for each level; for example, a beginner ship might be Mono, a standard ship might be Mono Pro, and a difficult ship might be Ninja Mono. Although ships can be categorized differently, they are each different and have unique abilities.
The course itself is made up of the song you choose. It could be bumpy depending on the beat, there could be a loop, there could be a swerve, it could be extremely quick or painfully slow. The course is built all upon the song you choose.
The object of Audiosurf is to collect coloured blocks and match them up with other coloured blocks. 3 blocks matched up will earn you a small amount of points, while a larger amount of matches will earn you more. More vivid coloured blocks, such as red, will earn you more points, while less vivid, such as purple, will earn you far less. More vivid colours of blocks appear during faster and stronger points of the songs, while the darker ones appear during the more slow times. Blocks that are collected are piled into an 8x3 grid and dropped into the grid section where you collected them. If your grid section fills up to the brim and you are unable to match any blocks, that cluster will be removed and points will be deducted. At more difficult ships, you will also have a respawn time, making you unable to collect blocks but also invulnerable for a short time span. That being said, blocks can only be matched up adjacently, positioned right next to one another. So you have to make matches with certain blocks and choose to avoid others while you race through a song.
There are also various powerups that are randomized along the course that help you along the way. Some ships also contain shoulders, which are sides where no blocks or powerups will spawn, much like a safe zone where you can rest your ship and plan out your next movements while the song flows through.
When playing the Mono ships, though, the object is to dodge grey blocks and collect colour ones. There is only 1 colour of block, so it makes it somewhat easier, but at higher difficulty levels, there are a lot more grey blocks being flung at you than coloured ones, and grey blocks cannot be matched up. Mono ships also contain no powerups.
Each ship in Audiosurf has it's own unique ability. Vegas ships can randomize all the blocks you carry into random sections, Eraser ships can get rid of certain types of blocks, et cetera. This adds more strategy because, depending on which ship you choose, you may earn more points. There are also bonuses you can earn at the end of the song that give you a more percentage of points that you earned.
There are online leaderboards set up in which you can challenge and view other's scores. Unfortunately, there is no actual online multiplayer, but there is a ship that allows 2 player simultaneous action on the same PC.
The gameplay of Audiosurf is intense, as you race through musical courses while collecting and rearranging blocks at extremely quick speeds. There are quite a few ships offered to choose from. Leaderboards are currently set up, but unfortunately there is no actual versus multiplayer as of yet. Besides that, the game itself is overall unique and addicting. It is this that makes Audiosurf worthy of a 9/10.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: AudioSurf (US, 02/15/08)
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