Experience: Imagine barrelling down the fretboard from Guitar Hero in a futuristic, F-Zero style hover-car, and you'll have a good idea of how Audiosurf works.
Rather than play a simulated instrument, you use either the keyboard or mouse to move a futuristic craft left and right on a moving, floating track. Each track is unique because it's generated by analysing the music that you've chosen for that particular track. // 8
Extras: The game's best quality is its range. It can be an easy, relaxing experience or rocket-ride forward at blistering speeds. Audiosurf works by allowing you to import any song you wish into the game. Then you pick a difficulty level by selecting between several cars, all of which have different abilities. Each track is unique because it's generated by analysing The Music that you've chosen and generates a race track for you to play on. You can pick any MP3, M4A, or WMA file, (along with a few other formats) so long as they don't use digital rights management. Slow parts of songs go uphill and the track moves slowly, while faster song segments go downhill and the track moves extremely fast. It is heaps of fun to play fast songs with the twists and hills but there is something to be said for the slower songs (easier to try and get a high score i guess).
The main objective of Audiosurf is to score lots and lots of points, which are earned by running into the different coloured blocks that fill the different lanes of the track. As you collect a block, it falls into the 21-block, 3-by-7 board in front of your craft. If three or more of any colour blocks that you've collected touch one another they're considered a cluster and disappear. The more blocks you have in a cluster, the more points that cluster is worth. You'll also earn more points for clusters that are made up of "hot" colours such as red and yellow, which are worth more than colours like blue and purple, but are also less plentiful.
It takes a little getting used to, but since the goal of the game is to avoid some block types in the interest of maintaining combos, you're not really focused on trying to hit blocks to play the song, a concept some may be accustomed to from Guitar Hero or Rock Band. Instead, Audiosurf turns your song into a puzzle game, requiring twitch skills to hop between the game's three lines of blocks and snag the right colours and power-ups to create combos with the highest point yield.
And even though it looks like a racing game, it's not. You have no control over how fast your ship accelerates; that all depends on the song you have chosen. Even though the song will continue playing independently of what blocks are hit (unlike Guitar Hero where it sounds like you've fumbled the guitar/bass/drums), their positioning often corresponds to bass Echoes, guitar strums, and snare hits, so you do get, in a roundabout way, a sense that you're riding the song, as the game's tagline suggests.
Actually, one of this game's more bizarre side effects is it'll actually get you to go out and buy (or download) new albums specifically to try out in the game. I mean, why sit there at your desk browsing web pages while listening when you could actually be playing the new songs? I'm sure music purists would scoff at the notion, but it's nevertheless one of the game's draws.
And what if you happen to record/create your own songs? Well congratulations, with Audiosurf you're a level designer. Sweet. Once you've finished riding a song, the game outdoes itself by providing global leader boards for every single track played. I currently hold the throne for Karnivool's Roquefort at time of writing (plus others), and have held it for 492 days (obviously not a popular song) but I reign supreme here! Bring it! // 7
Overall Impression: Whilst graphically it certainly doesn't Wow you, it certainly immerses you in the game and really, that's what we want, isn't it? And at 9.95 US you are guaranteed to get your money's worth! Few other rhythm/music games can provide so much entertainment for such a low price. Audiosurf is a very good game that gives you an all-new way to enjoy your music. And this game doesn't get old because when new music is released, new tracks and leaderboards are created! // 10