Genre: Casual, Driving (?), Music Driven
Developer: Dylan Fitterer
Publisher: Dylan Fitterer via Steam
Zolgar paid: $9.99
Beaten: there is no beating Audiosurf
Zolgar's rating: 8/10
Audiosurf is a very hard game to describe because when you try to explain it, it just sounds stupid. I have never seen it described in such a way that made me go "I want to play that!", even the game's official 'sale's pitch' doesn't. Instead of failing miserably at my own words, I'm going to cheat and use the official description:
Audiosurf is a music-adapting puzzle racer where you use your own music to create your own experience. The shape, the speed, and the mood of each ride is determined by the song you choose.You earn points for clustering together blocks of the same color on the highway, and compete with others on the internet for the high score on your favorite songs.
See what I mean? A music adapting whozawhata? It sounds potentially cool, but mostly on the curiosity factor. Thankfully they offer a demo to sate said curiosity factor. It's a lot better than it sounds though.
Really, I think that kinda sums up my review. “It's better than it sounds, try the demo and see!” so yeah.. I think I'm done.. *saunters off to get a samvich*....... *wanders back* What, you're still here? Fiine, I guess I have to write a real review.
The description says it's a puzzle-racer. What does that mean? Well, it means that they have to declare it a puzzle game because you match color boxes, heaven forbid it be called a SKILL game, because that's what it is. It's not a puzzle game, and it's not a racer because you're always going to finish in the exact same amount of time.
I'd call it a skill game with driving elements. You pilot your 'car' on a 3 lane track (with a shoulder on either side), on which spawn colored blocks, 5 colors to be precise, worth varying amounts of points. When you collect and connect at least 3 blocks of the same color, they clear from your board and give you points based off the number and color you cleared. There are an assortment of powerups as well, such as 'paint' which turns every block on your grid the same color, 'organize' which sorts your blocks to be most efficient, and a score multiplier.
Your track is a unique track derived from the specific music file you decided to load: the speed at which you move, the twists and turns in the track, and even the block spawn, are all calculated by the song. This means that you can readily choose the feel of your game. Want something insane and intense? Just pop in Dragonforce or some other Speed Metal or the like. Want to wind down and relax? Just put in something soft and mellow. Want to try and get motion sick? Pop in something that has a beat like how Captain Kirk talked. You.. know.. like.. this.
In addition though, there are 6 'characters' you can play, each one with their own traits that make them unique to play, altering the gameplay further.
- Mono: Mono changes the game a lot. Mono's track has no shoulders (except in the casual version), and only two colors of blocks. Colored blocks, which change color depending on the intensity of the song, and gray blocks. In true block-match 'puzzle' game fashion, grey blocks are bad and you don't want to hit them, in this instance they clog up space in your match bar and take a while to go away, also lowering your over all score. For each colored block you grab in a row you earn an increasing number of points (capping at 200) just for picking them up, this is reset when you hit a gray block. Due to the difficulty Mono has of getting the other bonuses, he has a special bonus of an extra +30% to your score for hitting no gray blocks.Mono's special moves are: Left click: Wings, gather from all 3 lanes at once (including grays!), right click: Jump, leap over blocks if you can't get around them. (Elite mode loses jump in favor of shurikens, which damage gray blocks in your inventory, due to them not decaying over time.)
- Vegas: As the name kinda implies, Vegas is the gambler, and is based mostly on luck, and knowing when and how to press your luck. The trick to Vegas, is trying to hold out until you get something good to give you a nice large-scoring move. Just watch that you don't over fill!Vegas' specials are: Left click/move to shoulder: Shuffle existing blocks in grid. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Right Click: Over time, Vegas will random generate a power up, a right click will use one. She can store up to 3.
- Eraser Man: A bit of an odd one, and possibly the most tactically minded, able to build up some very impressive chain reactions, with skill and planning.Eraser Man's specials are: Left Click: erase all blocks from your grid of the color you just hit. Right Click: Undo last erase. (blocks will return in the same column, in the first open slot as if you hit them again)
- Pointman: Another tactical one, but somewhat less so. Pointman picks up blocks or specials and can save them for later, or drop them in a different column. Basic planning can net some nice chains or better matches.Pointman's specials are: Left Click: pick up block/special you just hit (up to 3 can be stored). Right Click: Drop block/special in current column. (If more than 1 is stored, you will drop the most recent.)
- Pusher: Lacks the tactical versatility of Pointman, and the massive potential of Eraser Man. Pusher tries to appeal to those who like to plan ahead, but he's far too spontaneous for that, what with only being able to push blocks left or right.Pusher's specials are: Left Click: nudge block you just hit one space left. Right Click: nudge block you just hit one space right.
- Double Vision: I have one word for playing Double Vision “bwah?” Double Vision is designed to be a two-player game, or one player who is just stupidly coordinated. DV has 4 lanes, and 2 cars. One car is in the left two lanes and controlled by the keyboard. The other is in the right two lanes and controlled by the mouse. Bonus points are awarded for matches that cross the center line. DV has no specials.
There are also 3 difficulty settings, though, Casual only offers Mono, Pointman and Double Vision, while Elite offers ll of them except Vegas (This is a slap in the face for me, as I enjoy Vegas the most), then there's also Iron mode, which moves faster, and it's game over if you over fill, instead of the normal loss of points.
There is also complete control over the colors of the game, as well as the ability to apply certain effects to the screen, and there's an assortment of use created mods and utilities out there for further customization.
For a casual game, Audiosurf offers a lot of options for how you want to play it.
Audiosurf also offers Achievements. 18 of them, in fact. Guess what? I'm not going to bitch about them, seriously! Audiosurf is one of the few games where I do not feel a single achievement is a pointless, worthless achievement that is tantamount to saying “congratulations, you just opened a door!” All 18 of the achievements are real achievements, and while some are royal pains in the ass to get, they're not devoted to stupidly long amounts of time. No achievement in AS has been earned by more than 80% of the players, and one has only been earned by 0.2% (I believe it can only be earned in certain songs, with Pointman or Pusher, and a lot of luck.)
If I still haven't convinced you that Audiosurf is worth your time (and money), then seriously, go play the demo. Remember, the first hit is always free.
*noms samvich* Vas? You really want a TL:DR now? I already gave you one.. Ah well, fine.
“It's better than it sounds, try the demo and see!”
Availability and price:
Now lemme enjoy my samvich!