Monday, 3 October 2011

Review: Audiosurf

There are plenty of rhythm games out there-take Rockband and Guitar Hero as prime examples, but there are many that somehow escaped the radar. Audiosurf may be pretty successful now, but upon it's release, it could definitely be classed in the underdog category.


Released on Steam, Audiosurf allows players to experience their music collection in a fun and addictive new way. Audiosurf takes (almost) any song and incorporates it into the game. Perhaps the most fun comes in waiting to see what kind of track the game has generated depending on the song, and it is so easy to get absorbed for a long amount of time in the gameplay. 


To look at, Audiosurf is very similar to racing game Wipeout, but this is no straight forward racing game. Players use either the keyboard or mouse to move a futuristic looking craft left, right or to the middle on a floating track in order to pick up brightly coloured bars. The bars coincide with your chosen musical track, and the distance between them decreases the faster the track is. Slower songs tend to make your craft float slowly uphill, whilst faster songs or segments rapidly build up pace downhill. Like other rhythm games, faster songs are definitely much more fun, but a real sense of challenge lies in many of these tracks.
To put it simply, Audiosurf's main objective is to collect points as you navigate your craft through a track. Blocks can often be cleared by matching colours into groups of three, thus allowing the bricks to disappear. Bolder colours, such as red and yellow are worth more (these are considered the trickier blocks to hit), and the more blocks you collect without crashing into a fake one, the higher your combo score will be. A little bit of fun competition between friends is added in the form of scoreboards, where players can aim to beat their friends scores on particular tracks.


Although Audiosurf is a lot of fun, it isn't without it's drawbacks. First of all, the game has a tendency to lag on some of the faster songs. This in turn makes the track fall out of sync with the music a little, which can be somewhat frustrating. Occasionally the game generates blank tracks with my chosen music file not playing, or it freezes midway through a song. Again, a little frustrating, but thankfully this is not too common. The last downside is the syncing issue. As previously mentioned, Audiosurf analyses your music to generate a track, but sometimes the blocks do not follow the beat particularly well. 
Apart from a small variety of modes to plough your way through, Audiosurf isn't a particularly large game to perhaps many people. However, this seems completely irrelevant when it is so easy to immerse yourself in this enjoyable musical experience for long periods of time. The game is not without it's glitches, which seems a terrible shame considering that for the most part, the gameplay is satisfying enough. There is never a shortage of tracks to mess around with, as Audiosurf allows for the majority of songs in a users library (I've only found two songs in my iTunes library deemed incompatible so far), as well as weekly free downloads of tracks via Audiosurf radio. 


Music fans will probably love this somewhat relaxing experience. The vivid HD colours combined with music of your choice is appealing enough. It does suffer from a few technical issues, and may chug a little if your system isn't that powerful, but Audiosurf gives you a brand new way of experiencing your own music. Oh, and it's pretty cheap on Steam too. 

2 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, thank you for reminding me of that beautiful time-sink :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gnome: You're welcome. I love it. :)

    ReplyDelete

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