Audiosurf – “Freedom from Everything”

Vitals
Published/Developed by Dylan Fitterer
Platform: (PC) Windows
Retails via Digital Download
Developer’s Site
for $9.99 (USD) -|- Steam for $10.99 (CDN)
Consider also: Audiosurf 2 (my review) for $16.99 CDN via Steam or Direct for $14.99 USD

This heavily stylized ride puts you on an electronic superhighway generated by any piece of music you feed it. Threading through colored blocks to collect matching sequences while avoiding others contributes to a score which is immediately posted online to integrated leaderboards.  Released on Steam in 2008, Dylan Fitterer’s AudioSurf has crested on the PC to the pleasure of many rhythm game enthusiasts.

Its Bring Your Own Music attitude allows you to play your latest favorite in a socially permissive environment. There are no DRM requirements and all common compression formats are supported. Audiophiles will be pleased that FLAC support ensures the highest of fidelity on your preferred hardware. Additionally, Audiosurf Radio offers a handful of selections to satisfy your craving if your library isn’t available.

Digital Scoring

Digital Scoring

Wisely, as competition against ‘everyone’ can have a negative impact on morale, AudioSurf provides three difficulty modes and 14 ships with unique abilities and attributes. Your reflexes are center stage, but thankfully are augmented by manually controlled abilities that can manipulate blocks, store them for later use or call on the reflexes of a second player in single-screen dual character play.

Graphically Audiosurf is a mixed bag of crisp Tron-style illuminated polygons and jaggy, simplistic objects that lack polish in overall presentation. This is inherent in visualizers which likewise exploit minimal code (or indeed, hardware) to dramatic effect. The trade off is the hand-crafted feel typical of procedurally generated content. However, this isn’t enough to detract from the selling point of the title.

Smoothing play.

Smoothing play.

What’s fun: Bring Your Own Music cuts the DLC c(h)ord, untethering your ride and ultimately saving you money. Record deals and licenses need not apply–or dominate–here. Controls, by keyboard, mouse and gamepad, are snappy and responsive. A slew of characters to choose from means even more re-playability.

What’s not: While you can scale the amount of gyrating, dancing objects in the background, there are no style options. Even at low settings you’ll be looking at the same objects presented in the same way, every time.

Recommendation: For $10 this is a good deal, but with the release of Audiosurf 2, $6 more will get you four new game modes, skinnable tracks and Steam Workshop support. As this is a solo pursuit, get the one that fits your budget best because the experience is ultimately the same.

hastypixels
hastypixels

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