Pulling together music and gaming, Audiosurf provides something for everyone.
The game mechanics of Audiosurf are relatively simple; the player maneuvers his/her ship across lanes in order to collect or avoid colored blocks. The player must touch at least three blocks of the same color to clear them and gain points. The higher the number of single-colored blocks connected, the more points earned when they’re cleared. Mono, another game mode, sends only one color of blocks at the player, along with gray blocks. The player must avoid these gray blocks since they do not disappear unless the player breaks them and takes a score deduction. The controls of your ship are straightforward: to move left and right, either use the arrow keys or move the mouse left to right, to use abilities, either left/right click or use the number keys.
There are many different ships in Audiosurf each having its own ability. The ships fall into three categories: Casual (Easy), Pro (Medium), and Elite (Hard). The easy category is divided into three different aircraft, with Mono, Pointman, and Double Vision. Mono allows the player to focus on collecting, instead of arranging, their blocks by disabling all colors save one. Pointman allows the player to grab blocks and hold onto them until he/she decides to drop it into position. Double Vision places two cars on the track, allowing for mind-boggling two-car-at-once action, or co-op play from the same keyboard. The Pro characters are: Mono Pro, Vegas, Eraser, Pointman Pro, Pusher, and Double V Pro. The characters from Casual are simply harder versions of their counterparts. Vegas allows the player to shuffle the blocks they’ve collected, hopefully making the arrangement of three adjacent blocks easier. Eraser can destroy blocks of a specified color, clearing space for others, and Pusher can send blocks to the lane left or right. The Elite characters are simply harder versions of the Pro characters, excluding Vegas. There is also “Ironmode” for those who simply can’t make the game hard enough.
The most intuitive part of Audiosurf is the option to use any song you want, including your personal library, Steam games (it comes with many Orange Box songs), or the built-in radio stations. Audiosurf generates a track that follows the music, no matter its intensity. The track swerves, twists, and changes in slope to provide a smooth, colorful ride. The faster paced the song, the faster the track. The busier the song, the more traffic there will be on the track. For example, an acoustic guitar song will have a relatively low amount of blocks to collect, whereas a techno song will send wave after wave of blocks. Audiosurf accepts CD, mp3, wma, ogg, flac, and iTunes music files. If you are tired of your own music, or don’t have any on your computer, you can play songs from the Audiosurf radio, which is updated constantly with new songs. After you’re done playing, you can view scores from all around the world from other people who have played the same song.
The Good: The game’s fun. The ability to use your own music greatly enhances customization, allowing for an intense game or a slow relaxing game whenever you feel like it. The graphics are perfect for the game; they’re beautiful and fit the theme. You also can play for as long as you want - if you only have 5 minutes, play a 5 minute song. Low-cost, at a base of $10 and holiday special of $2.49.
The Bad: The novelty can quickly wear off when you have other things to do, and realize you could just listen to your music and get them done. On rare occasion, the algorithms used to create the track won’t match the beat of your song. Bugs can occur, such as one where the screen is supposed to be black, but is instead white, preventing you from seeing the white track. The score database is hard to use since songs are not labeled the same on every computer, and the scores are compared using their name. There’s a limit on the length of the songs you can use, it’s around 20 minutes.