The genre of music video games has become stale in the past few years, with 2009 seeing a large decline in sales. Guitar Hero, Rock Band and even Dance Dance Revolution have all had many sequels and they are falling quickly in sales as people become bored of the yearly sequels and expansion packs with more of the same. even the fresher DJ Hero failed to make much of a mark.
Along comes Audiosurf, a indie music title by Dylan Fitterer that takes what you love about the genre, but does away with all the bells and whistles and needless accessories that have caused so many problems. Audiosurf lets you use your own music for its games soundtrack, meaning you have a limitless supply of new content to play through.
Unlike Guitar Hero and the like, Audiosurf requires nothing more than a PC and a collection of digital music. The gameplay is simple, you pilot your ship down a road and dodge gray blocks and collect colored ones. Bet you’re wondering where the hook is, your music is analyzed and dictates the shape of the track. All the blocks are placed according to beats and vocals in the music, the road twists, turns, and dips according to the music as well. Each song you play will create a different road to travel with different obstacles.
If you think this sounds too simple that depends on your skill level. You can let the computer autopilot if you just want to stare at the eye-candy, or drive the track in a large selection of vehicles with different abilities, and varying difficulty levels. To keep you going to try and better your runs, the game has a global scoreboard as well as 17 Steam Achievements with such tasks as earning 30,000 points per minute in a 3+ minute song.
Now for the technical stuff. I mentioned eye-candy before, and Audiosurf has varying levels of it. The game is very scalable and even computers a few years old should be able to run it without any issues. If you have a higher-end rig though, the game can look downright amazing with so much happening in concert with your music selection. There are extensive options to allow you to tweak the visuals and sound effects to your liking and the game never sees any slowdown as long as you don’t put on the highest graphical setting on an old computer.
As for what type of music files you can play, you can go with Audio CDs sure, but the game can also play MP3, M4A, OGG, FLAC, and WMA files. It even has it’s own selection of frequently updated tracks for you to play through as well as the complete soundtrack to Valve’s The Orange Box featuring Still Alive from the game Portal.
This game is not for people who want to pretend their rock stars or people who want to gloat about how much they spent for every expansion to a game. This is a game to have fun while listening to your favorite music. It can be played for hours at a time, or in one song bursts.
Audiosurf seems to be exclusive to Steam and costs $10 (less that you were expecting I bet) and can be found on sale on Steam with some regularity.