Filed under: cheapo games — Will @ 7:00 am April 28, 2010

Game: Audiosurf
Purchased from: Steam
Price paid: $9.99
Platform: PC

Audiosurf is a kind of strange animal. It’s part rhythm game and part puzzler. You take your ship and pilot it down a course that’s generated by analyzing whatever song you chose. There are different colored ‘cars’ on the road that you have to try to hit and collect to fill up a grid on the bottom of the screen. When three or more of the same color line up you clear them. It actually sounds more complicated than it is… sort of.¬† The hook is, though, that you’re not limited to whatever songs the developer thought you should play with (and could afford the license to put in the game), you get to actually pick and choose songs from your very own music library¬† to generate the tracks. So the amount and variety of the levels is really up to how many songs you have stored away on your computer.

Which means that the game already has the best soundtrack ever, so it’s got that going for it.

The song you choose affects more than just how the track looks. You pick a slowish song and the track goes up at a leisurely pace. Pick a fast song with a lot of action, and the track goes down and it really starts to look like a roller coaster.

Of course, some songs work better than others. I actually had pretty bad luck playing chiptunes, which made me kind of sad. But that’s a pretty minor concern, really.

And that’s about all there is to it. Do well enough and you can become ‘champion’ of a particular song and get your score posted to the Audiosurf site for all to see, and if you get dethroned, you’ll get an email prodding you to try again.

But that’s it, there’s no overarching goal, no princess to save, and no country to rescue from oppressive, corrupt, government. It’s just you, your music, and your reflexes competing with yourself (and the world, if you want) for a high score.

Even better is that this is the kind of game that you can play for just a few minutes at a time. There’s something to be said about the ability to do a song or two during some downtime to take your mind off whatever task is at hand without having to worry about trying to make it to the next save point is actually pretty refreshing.

The only downside is that the demo only allows you to play four songs, and that’s it. Even if you have to stop the songs in the middle, you get four songs, and that’s it. If you want to play more than that, you’ll have to pony up for the full version. But, really, four songs is really enough to decide if this game’s for you, so that’s not too big a deal.