Hang on to your britches, this is a long review. Detailed too. Seriously.
Okay. So I first visited this game in June, gave it a scathing review, and then left. I decided, as it has been a few months to come back and see if anything significant had changed.
So let's start from the top, with the interface. Even for a pre-build interface, this is pretty shoddy. The whole thing feels like it has been built by an amateur web designer (even with gigantically oversized web widgets stuffed in). The font is inconsistent and ugly, and the entire mode, skin, and song selection processes feel clunky.
The simple, clearly bordered buttons of the first game have been replaced, for the most part, by blocks of text. The amazingly useful hints featured in the first game have been replaced by aforementioned nasty widgets, and badly embedded youtube videos. To add insult to injury, these are displayed during loading screens, but involve scrolling down, which is something that the game will not let you do whilst you are loading a level.
Now for the modes- I'll step right out and say: Puzzle modes? Pretty much ripped out of the first games. Changes are minimal, and non-impactive. They could be better, but they're not inherently bad - but this isn't praise on the part of Audiosurf 2. They're not bad because Audiosurf, the original, was not bad. The downside of course is now you have to deal with this clunky, heavy interface in order to get there.
So let's talk mono. Mono was one of the favourite methods of play for players of the original game. Has it survived here? No. No it has not. The pace of mono has been entirely changed, slowed down it feels like. The layout of levels no longer seems to correspond to the music you are listening to: Sure, the bounces and twists in the road do, but the pickups do not - in fact, they feel as if they've been placed entirely at random, and in massive numbers.
Even worse, greys can block your entire path depending on the song, making a stealth finish impossible: BUT HAVE NO FEAR: Greys are so little an annoyance to you in this game that you can literally speed through rows of them, and not have to worry about even one sticking around to hinder you. They may as well not be there at all.
Wakeboarding. Wakeboarding wakeboarding. Wakeboard mode, for those who haven't seen it, is pretty much the original mono, but with some kind of surfing trick system built in. Sounds fun right? Alas, no. The poorly written instructions and controls for the trick system make tricks feel both impractical, and clunky. Your "surfer" flips around like a fish, with very little input from you. With only four tricks to choose from, jumping can get boring very, very quickly.
Do mods make this better? For the most part no. Almost all mods are simply aesthetic upgrades. These are very fun (REZ? Sonic? Name your craze, and someone has probably made a skin of it), but the novelty wears off very quickly when you get back to the poor game.
And as for the mods that aren't aesthetic upgrades? Yes, some of these are fun... But for the most part they're let down by (I can only assume) the modding tools, and the general limitations of the game.
If I'm brutally honest (and I am), it feels as though a group of pre-graduate games designers found the source code for Audiosurf, and tried to recreate it. It's as if they were playing around, hoping to get good results...And when things didn't go their way, they simply released it to the modding community, said "They'll fix it!" and went on with their lives.
Will this be fixed in the future? I sure hope so. With some serious polishing and revisions, this could be a brilliant game...but having seen no significant change between when I last played it and now, I feel as if this game is stagnating, and the developers just don't know what to do about it.
I highly recommend that you don't waste your money on this game. Buy the original Audiosurf, the gift that keeps on giving...for a fraction of the cost of Audiosurf 2, you'll get all you need.