30 Reviews in 30 Days, Day 25 – Audiosurf

So I had asked for suggestions on games to review for the 30 Reviews in 30 Days. A couple of you gave some suggestions, and I do wish I had been in a position to do more of them. There is one game that was suggested to me I am getting the chance to review, however, and that is Audiosurf.

Racing Puzzle Game set to Your Music

The premise of Audiosurf is pretty simple. You choose a character to race, choose a song from your collection and race.

That’s right: Audiosurf takes your songs and turns them into racetracks. The game analyzes the tempo and instrumentation of the song you choose and creates a race track from it. You will see peaks, valleys and visuals all based on the musical track you choose, which means the game is only limited by your music collection.

That is not all. As you race on the track, you see colored blocks in front of you. You want to match the blocks by running over them, filling the rows in front of your racer. These blocks vanish whenever you match 3 or more of the same color. The blocks do not vanish immediately, which gives you a chance to match more and gain bonuses. The other thing you want to keep in mind is matching hotter colors (red, yellow, orange) gains you more points than matching colder colors (blue, green, purple).

So just how do you match these colors? Well, that all depends upon which character you choose.

Pick your character, pick your play style

There are three levels of characters in Audiosurf: casual, pro and elite. Casual contains the three basic character types: the Mono, the Pointman and Double Vision. Which character you choose determines what kind of track you run:

Mono: Hit the colored blocks while avoiding the gray ones. The colors of the blocks will change with the music, growing warmer as the intensity increases.

Pointman: There will be blocks of several colors on the screen, and it is you job to match them. The Pointman can pick up blocks and drop them into rows later. There are also many different power ups in these tracks, such as paint power ups that will paint all the blocks you have collected the same color.

audiosurf 1 audiosurf 3

Audiosurf is a game you just have to experience.

Double Vision: There are two vehicles on the track at the same time. You control one with the mouse and the other with the arrow keys. You can play this single player or with a friend, with each of you controlling one of the cars.

Pro level introduces the Pusher, who can push blocks to either side when running over them, the Eraser, which can erase all the blocks in your collection of a certain color and Vegas, which allows you to stack power ups for later and shuffle the blocks you have collected in hopes of getting a match. It also adds the ability with the Mono to spread your collection wings out to pick up all the blocks in front of you or to jump over blocks. Elite removes Vegas, and instead of letting you jump blocks with Mono, you can remove gray blocks from your collection at the cost of the points you have accumulated.

Take on the world

As you have probably already guessed, the ultimate goal of Audiosurf is to get as high a score as possible. The game will analyze each song you put into it and come up with a medal system. You will get bronze, silver or gold medals if you score high enough. There are also bonuses you can achieve, like a 30% bonus if you get through a Mono level without hitting a gray block.

So why do the scores matter? Audiosurf compares each song with its database, giving you the leaderboards for each song. If you load up a song others have played, the current leader for your difficulty will be shown. You can also compare your score with your friends, giving you bragging rights.

Of course, if you really want bragging rights, you’ll turn on Ironmode. This makes the tracks go faster and fails you out if you have an overfill (collect one more block than you can fit in a row). The scores can be much higher, but so is the challenge.

Never look at your music the same

Ausiosurf does something truly amazing: it changes the way you look at your music. You start looking through your collection, wondering just how certain songs will play out in the game. Sometimes the answer is pretty obvious: Andy Hunter, being a techno artist, tends to move pretty fast, as does Demon Hunter. Some effects will catch you by surprise, however. For example, I was playing Skillet’s “Whispers” off the Comatose album. Just as it hit the beginning of the chorus, right before the singer screams “No!’, there is a pause. Well, my racer actually paused on the track, making my anticipation for the chorus grow.

Of course, you can also just run the visualizer if you just want to just sit back and relax.

Audiosurf is the rare game that takes something you have and makes it an integral part of the game. As an added bonus, the full version of the game gives you access to the soundtrack for The Orange Box. Oh, and before you ask, yes, I have raced to “Still Alive.” Audiosurf gets a 5 out of 5.

So the first 25 reviews are in the bag, and I have not reviewed my top 5 games of all time.

Gee, I wonder what the last 5 reviews are going to be?

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