Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Developer: Dylan Fitterer
Released: February 15 2008

AudioSurf is... sort of tricky to describe. I guess it's a combination rhythm / puzzle game where you race along a track collecting coloured blocks ("cars") for points, with the soundtrack being your music. You choose a song on your computer, and the game engine creates a tailored level with the environment, traffic, scenery, and background effects generated by an algorithm that measures volume, rhythm, and instrument types. For example, a quiet slow song will have an uphill track with few cars and cool colours, while a loud fast song with a heavy beat will be faster, have more cars, and feature lots of ups and downs.

Critical reception of AudioSurf has been universally positive. Basically, it's not perfect, but it's awesome.
There's no DLC, but there have been numerous updates that have added more community-based features and stat tracking directly into the game's launcher. You can see what songs are popular today, who's scoring the best, how your friends are doing and what they've been playing. There are also regular updates to the game's radio station, allowing you to follow new music releases (spotlighted by the developer) and challenge yourself with something new.
Visually, AudioSurf is nice and crisp, with plenty of high-contrast colour, abstract effects, and well-defined lines and borders. There are several visual settings to mess with, including choice of a few different background colours, and some filters to change the overall appearance (such as rust, negative, paint, etc). Most combinations look great, and I sometimes find it hard to settle on just one. A visual randomizer option would be great but doesn't seem to exist. There is an autopick option for background colour but personally I've only ever had it choose black.
There are 14 characters to play, sorted into three difficulty levels. Each offers a different take on the race/collection gameplay. My personal favourite is the mono series, which only gives you two types of car to deal with: coloured cars to collect, and grey ones to avoid. I like mono because it's the most relaxing game type: I often load up AudioSurf to listen to new music files. Most of the other game types require a lot more thought and focus to do well, so I don't usually play them -- but it's nice to have different options for how to play the game.
Essentially, AudioSurf is as good as your music collection. It lets you experience your favourite songs in a new way and provides some fun options for people who want to listen to music, but do something more than sit on the couch.
Personally, my opinion is that if you like both music and video games, there's no reason not to own AudioSurf. It's $10 on Steam and it's usually on sale whenever there's a big thing going on. Plus it has a demo, so you can even try it before paying. Fantastic game.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of listening to new music while playing this game. Often, I want to hear something but don't have the focus to just listen to the music for the entirety of the song.