Audiosurf: A wonderfully addictive game of light and sound

ESCAPING FROM THE PRECIOUS MOMENTS OF ANDREW’S FREE TIME– While perusing the Steam store, I recently encountered a gem of a game called Audiosurf . What is it at heart? Well, it’s a cross between Tetris, F-Zero, and any of the many music based games one can find today. While at first look it may seem boring or confusing, Audiosurf creates a visual and musical environment that is surely going to stimulate the senses of even the likes of Helen Keller.

AudioSurf 1

Using the Pointer character, who plays more like tetris. The blocks have different values depending on their colors. Hotter colors are worth more.

Audiosurf takes your own music files (mp3, wav, mp4a, ogg, flac) and creates a musical rollercoaster of sorts in which you race through with any of 14 different characters/spaceships. The game takes your music, analyzes the song, creates a suitable race-like track, and populates said track with a multitude of colored blocks.

Depending on the intensity of the song, the environment will be generated dynamically, allowing one to literally surf through their own music. Play a slow song and the track will maintain a slow and steep incline, indulge in a high intensity song and you will be slaloming down the musical equivalent of a double black diamond with hot colored blocked moguls.

The songs take approximately twenty to thirty seconds to analyze and generate the track, however this data is stored within the game so the next time you play that song, you are able to load the track almost instantly. However, be warned. DRM music is not compatible with Audiosurf, especially non-iTunes plus music. Do not be fooled by the Audiosurf webpage.

An example of Audiosurf.

The specific gameplay varies, as it is dependent upon which character/spaceship you choose. For the majority of the characters, the main goal is to arrange a group of three or more similar colored blocks together in the grid underneath the ship. As the ship traverses the course, you must surf through the blocks in order to drop them into your 3×7 playing grid.

There are a couple of power-ups; however, the main changes are the derived from the characters themselves. Their individual abilities range anywhere from being able to grab blocks to erasing all blocks of a single color to two ships. While many of them are not too interesting, there is one exception. The “Mono ninja character” is the most significant change. It replaces all the multicolored blocks into two groups, gray and colored. The main objective is to avoid the gray blocks at all cost and collect the colored blocks. Personally, this character is the most exciting and enjoyable in my opinion.

AudioSurf 2

Using the Ninja Mono character. Avoid the grey blocks!

Being able to use your own music is what really makes this game shine. The major complaints I have of other music based games is that they require you to conform to their own personal opinion of good music (something which is not always broadly shared among the populous).

At $10, I feel this game is worth the price, however I don’t think I would have paid much more for it as it lacks any more significant content. One perk is that you are able to compare your scores for each song online with other Audiosurf players. Pick this one up if you really enjoy music or if you love extravagant visuals.

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