By Andrew Dodson on October 4, 2013 at 6:01pm
I should preface this by saying how much I love music-based games and "Audiosurf" is easily my favorite of the genre. According to Steam, I've logged 104 hours in the original "Audiosurf" game, and that seems fair. "Audiosurf" is fantastic, because it only takes a couple of minutes to play a round, and then you can go back to other things. During college, I would take breaks from papers by blasting through some fast music, or I would calm myself for bed by playing some slower songs and letting the game's visuals hypnotize me.
For those unfamiliar with "Audiosurf," the game allows you to load your own music into the game, and the game uses that to create a track based on the song you picked - taking into account speed, beat, and other metrics. Fast, loud songs are going to be downhill (like a roller coaster) and more difficult, and slower songs will be an uphill groove and much easier. The visuals and colors on the track changes depending on current speed of the song. The game provides challenges for the player to choose from while they play, which can range from dodging grey blocks and picking up colored ones to lining up only blocks of a certain color (think "Tetris").
"Audiosurf 2" arrived on Steam last week, and I was playing it almost immediately.
It starts you off in a tutorial of sorts for the new mode that the game introduces. The player wakeboards down the music track with two boats (or something) responsible for dragging the player. There is the same "avoid the grey blocks (mines, I suppose) and grab the colored ones" types of challenges that you'll see in classic "Audiosurf," but there is the added trick mechanic. At certain points in the song, specifically when the tempo suddenly increases (and there is a drop in the track), the player can jump off the wake created by the ships on either side and do flips and twists to get a combo and a ton of points. The trick mechanic is difficult to get down right away, but once you're able to get the timing right (easier if it's a song you know really well), it is super satisfying to get a huge jump and get a 25k trick bonus added to your score.
Besides the wakeboarding mode, another thing that "Audiosurf 2" does is allow for players to submit mods from the Steam Workshop. Besides different skins, there are also entirely new game modes that have been submitted. "Audiosprint," one of these Workshop mods, turns the game into a race where up to four people can play a runner on a track. There are only two buttons - one to jump and one to duck as the game throws obstacles at you based on the selected music. This mode was also featured in the actual trailer for "Audiosurf 2," which lends to the idea that the developers want and support people jumping into the Steam Workshop and doing amazing new things with the "Audiosurf" song-track algorithm.
If you liked the first "Audiosurf," then the sequel is going to be just as beautiful to you. You'll see the same brilliant colors and gorgeous track rendering that you come to expect from the series. As an "Audiosurf" veteran should expect, the game does get chaotic and psychedelic at times depending on the music, which might turn off people that get motion sick easily or just don't like that kind of thing.
There is one thing that I have an issue with: there isn't a pop-up browser for choosing your song (which the first game had), and the in-game song menu feels clunky and is slow to load (especially if you have a large music library). Maybe they'll add a pop-up menu for it eventually, or it'll get more optimized, but right now, it takes longer to get into the game then I would like.
I loved the first "Audiosurf" game, and I already love the second just as much. It's fun, awesome to look at, and plays exactly as I remember it. Which might be a problem. Yes, they did add mod support and the new (and fun) wakeboarding mode, but it still very much seems exactly like the first game. That makes it hard for me to suggest people buy it, because the current $15 price tag seems a bit too steep for such a casual game. Its adds to the games and is fun, but it's still hard for me to justify having spent $15 on it.
If you're a casual gamer and looking for an easy game to jump into, I can highly suggest "Audiosurf 2," but I'd also wait for the price to drop (or for the next Steam sale). If you're a fan of the first "Audiosurf" or just love games that let you utilize your own music for levels and you have some extra cash, then grab "Audiosurf 2," and enjoy the ride.
Audiosurf 2 (Steam)