Julkaistu 10. tammikuu.
"If you have enough music, Audiosurf is going to keep you highly entertained and addicted for an awfully long time."
If you have a highly developed and varied taste in music, then Audiosurf just might be the perfect game for you. The small, web-based indie developer “BestGameEver”, despite having one of the worst and most clichéd company names ever, have managed to craft something which is psychedelically unique in its own special way. For a small fee, you get a game which has a practically infinite number of variations to play through, and coupled with this massive replayability, relatively tiny software specifications, and a moreover amazingly addictive experience.
Whilst some might call Audiosurf a racing game, it isn’t like any other racing game I know and honestly, it isn’t. First, you can play within the game practically any piece of music you own, as it supports MP3, OGG, WMA and iTunes, amongst a couple of other formats. The idea is that you actually ‘surf’ along your own music, using a variety of different ships (which are essentially just hover-cars) that have a similar design and look to those in the 1995 game Wip3out. Each ship has a slightly different design, along with a special power, which specifies the distinct game type. While racing along your music, you will pass various differently coloured blocks, and the goal is to make collections of blocks larger than three in a 3x7 grid which moves along with your vehicle on down the track. In that way alone, this aspect of the game is slightly like Connect Four, only with three, and diagonals not counting. The racing aspect comes from the track itself, which again has a similar Wip3out or F-Zero look, and is intricately connected to whatever song you are playing. When the tempo speeds up, the speed of your car increases. Heavy drums and bass will create hills and dips; quiet instrumentation slows and steepens the uphill grade, whilst fast periods of the song will create smooth downward stretches. For example, if you were to play “Yesterday” by The Beatles, the track would be a smooth a slow uphill climb, with only a few bumps here and there. However, playing something like “Communication Breakdown” by Led Zeppelin creates a much faster, and potentially higher scoring, downhill run. On uphill periods, the coloured blocks will be cooler, and less valuable, whilst downhill will have warmer colours worth more points. It really does allow you to “live your music” in a way that you never thought possible.
There is quite a wide variety of varying modes to play. At the casual level, you can play Mono, where the object is to dodge grey blocks and hit the coloured ones. There is also Pointman, where you are given a spectrum of colours to match into place and the ability to store a block to use later, using various powerups (such as paint all blocks a particular colour, or sort all blocks), along with Double Vision, where you could theoretically play with a friend as the track is divided between two ships. On the moderate and hard levels, all three of these modes repeat with slightly more difficult variations, at the same time introducing the Vegas (randomly shuffles all blocks), Pusher (pushes blocks left and right) and Eraser (deletes all blocks of a certain colour) game types. What with all of these slightly different styles of gameplay, the replay value for wanting to go back just one more time (and then maybe another) explodes through the roof.
This fusion of puzzle and racing game aspects gives Audiosurf its unique edge. However, the lasting attraction will come from the simple fact of being able to play every piece of music you own, and so naturally giving the game (potentially) the best soundtrack ever, by definition of whatever you hold to be great music. Your high scores for each song are recorded within online leader-boards, divided into three different classes, depending upon which race type you selected. Email updates can inform you if you have been “dethroned” at a particular song, so as to encourage you to get back and reclaim your title. Along with your own music, the game comes with the entire Orange Box soundtrack (so you can now play Portal’s “Still Alive” to your hearts content), and also Audiosurf Radio, which gives free music designed to allow for the most competitive to play for a coveted position on the scoreboard. It is important to remember however that, on the other hand, if you don’t own much music, you aren’t going to get a whole lot out of Audiosurf. The various sound effects interspersed here and there are altogether decent, while the only bad piece of music is the repetitive techno beat which plays over the menus.
Graphically, the game is perfectly sufficient to look at, and actually can appear extremely cool at many points. Whilst the game menus are rather bland, when playing the game itself the colour scheme varies and alters in time with the music, and its approach appears to be coolly minimalistic at first. However, hitting blocks causes stars and circles to explode in the sky with a soft hiss, almost like fireworks. You can also have a dark or light background, the dark one especially lending itself to the psychedelic experience. When flying down a tunnel of drum rolls and electric guitar, you really get a fabulous sense of speed. It is possible to have three different settings of graphical quality, though even the best computers will suffer a slowing of the frame rate at premium, as they do take up a massive amount of processing power. However, the enhanced graphics are more than adequate.
Audiosurf is a simple, but astoundingly accessible game for all types of gamer. Whether you just want to casually surf down Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky”, or obsessively compete for the top score at Eagles “Hotel California”, Audiosurf will let you do it all at your desired pace and difficulty. Go out and get it, and fully experience what The Who meant when they sang, “I'm getting in tune to the straight and narrow”.