Key supplied by developer for review.
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If you're a fan of the first, pick it up ASAP. If you're new to the series, I heartily recommend this, as it sports many improvements over the first. If you're not a fan of the first, you may still find there is something here just for you, thanks to community enhancement!
+ UI: So slick, so intuitive.
+ Graphics: Much improved all around.
+ Sound: It's your sound, but more immersive!
+ Gameplay: More of what you love, and more on top of that!
+ Settings: All there, easy to get to and change.
- Can no longer weave between blocks due to proximity to each other.
- It didn't come out sooner
- Can be hard to find exactly what you want searching for tracks online.
- Doesn't resume last song played on startup.
- You can't 'add' folders permanently.
- Easy to mix up the exit button for a back button.
+/- Some big changes to everyone's favorite game modes/track generation.
+/- Would also love to see it support last.fm radio/youtube playlists/etc.
Once more, with feeling! Audiosurf returns bigger than ever, with steam workshop support, a hugely streamlined interface, and a lot of polish around the edges. Audiosurf 2 provides more of the same, and in this case, (or in my opinion) that's a good thing! But let's take a look at the changes.
The interface is probably the biggest one. You'll notice there is now a very minimal, out-of-your-way style, mostly consisting of small tabs and boxes for you to click on, and I want to draw your attention to a very special one...the Browse Music tab. This opens up a tab that lets you browse for your music...but also search for music online, and that's an awesome feature to have in a game about surfing music! That same section also autoclears text queried into it when you click outside and back or hit backspace, which is super convenient! Woo!
The other main tabs are browse modes and browse skins, and I appreciate them both equally. Audiosurf 2 is about having options, and if the default skins and modes provided aren't enough (or good enough) for you, the community has you covered. They've made some wonderful things that really enhance the value of the game, but I don't want to spoil the fun for you!
There's better community integration, allowing you to see in real time how you're stacking up to the leaderboard, your own best score, challenge people, and even dethrone them from their top songs. You can see what other people are listening to, and play the top tracks with one click. Another handy feature is the ability to pre-listen to a track, and when you're looking for something new and fresh not already a part of your collection, you'll be thankful for it. The whole of the UI is slick, responsive, and clean.
The gameplay is mostly the same, with some prominent changes to everyone's favorite mono and ninja mono modes. First, when you hit a grey block in mono, it clears out a colored block on that row. Second, in ninja mono, you no longer have to manually clear greys, but greys will clear your whole grid, and not give you points for them, so watch out!
One thing that upsets me slightly is the new track generation. There will be many occurrences of blockades, as I like to call them, where there are two lanes of greys going at once. This issue is amplified by the new generation causing blocks to be so close together that it is almost impossible to slide between two greys. You may also find yourself going down the only seemingly safe lane to become trapped in an unavoidable blockade. This means that at times ninja and mono can be less about evasion and more about scouting ahead, a change I'm not sure I care much for. The puzzle modes remain largely the same, (I believe.) I only encountered one bug in my playtime, and that was a completely minor graphical glitch.
I played a lot of songs in a lot of genres to test everything out for this review, and tracks load faster now. I think track length is no longer a limiting factor, and the tracks are about as responsive as the first Audiosurf (moreso with mods.) One minor annoyance that remains is that the song being broken up into blocks, in mono, can create some dischordant timing when a song picks up; half of those notes or beats will need to be avoided, so it can feel like you're working against the track, not with it. Hip hop and electronic music in my opinion remain the best rides, bumpy and smooth but ever changing. On that note, the game runs like butter at 120FPS even on my GTS450, it also loads very fast.
The graphics are much improved, but there are some things I like less, like the shape of the blocks, but that only applies to some skins, and the community mods can make this game as beautiful and engaging or challenging as you should ever need--and if not, nothing is stopping you from giving it a go! And oh, my, should you. Even if you're not a fan of the original, give this game a purchase and I'm sure you'll find something to enjoy.
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