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a game by Audiosurf, LLC
Platform: PC
User Rating: 9.3/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Futuristic Racing Games, Games Like Osu

Audiosurf is a weird beast of a game. Hailing from the same tradition that spawned Rez and odd vector-graphic rabbit Vib-Ribbon on the PlayStation, it uses your music collection to create its levels, sculpting your tunes into a playable visualisation.

However, the wider your taste in music, and the larger your music collection, the more you'll get out of Audiosurf, with your reaction ranging from 'Hey, what a nice little diversion' to rampant, feverish battling to have the top spot on a song's leaderboard.

You control a weird spacecraft type thing, moving 'cars' (differently coloured blocks) into groups of three or more to make them disappear, with different colours generated by different intensities of music. The ship is controlled using the mouse or by the keyboard, and the end result is a game where Wipe Out meets Columns.

There are several different ships to pilot, each offering a slightly different take on the game. The Mono offers a sedate ride, requiring you to pick up just one colour of block while avoiding the greys. In the Pointman, you have to collect other colours, resulting in an overflowing rainbow mess, but you can grab cars as they come at you and drop them in any column. The Pusher is a more aggressive Pointman, and allows you to shove blocks to the left or the right. In the Vegas you grab as many blocks as possible, then hop off-track to shuffle them into combos. The Double V is similar to the Mono, except it's two cars. You can either play with a friend, or you can be a real man (or woman) and play two at once.

Chasing Cars

The strong-willed can also try the Iron Mode, which ends the track and the game if your columns overflow, after failing to clear your collected blocks.

As for the 'music-adapting' aspect, there's some dark witchcraft going on in Audiosurf. While the easier levels leave you feeling a bit disconnected from the music, the Pro modes allow you to develop a deep lock with the notes, pre-empting oncoming traffic with your knowledge of the lyrics or percussion, and feeling slightly ill as the track bumps and ripples to the beat.

Faster songs feel more difficult, but the real challenge is complex music - simple 4/4 soft-rock is easier than bizarre improvised jazz. Playing several hard, fast tunes in a row isn't recommended either, as the velocity and psychedelia of it all frazzles your brain.

Deep down, Audiosurf is a technological feat mingled with a fun, yet shallow game. It's an original and addictive way to listen to your music, but can be ridiculously repetitive, and even makes you feel a little queasy when it runs too fast This may be a compliment though, as Audiosurf creates a fantastic sensation of speed, and is the closest you'll get to living your music until you can plug your iPod into your brain stem.

Audiosurf is fun, frantic, and a, fiver. If you're a music fan, you're bound to enjoy it in short bursts of philharmonic fun.

Community space

Me and you vs the world

Anyone buying Audiosurf through Steam will find themselves with the soundtrack to The Orange Box preloaded into the game. Some would argue that's worth a fiver in itself. This also gives a focus to the game's community aspect: before you launch yourself into your own music tastes that no-one else shares, you can rank yourself against a selection of tracks that people will have played. The online leaderboards can quickly become compulsive, as you chase a top 10 ranking for your favourite tracks - although finding obscure songs that few people had played quickly became our substitute for genuine excellence at piloting the crafts. As such, we're number one at Aphex Twin's Come To Daddy, and the only player of Alcazar's Sexual Guarantee. Believe it or not Alcazar's Swedish pop track was absolutely nails, whereas Come To Daddy's cacophonous dirge made for a featureless ride.

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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