Now, as Audiosurf 2 has recently been released from the throes of early access, officially “launched” to the public of Steam, I can only help but feel that it must be reviewed with care and prowess, dissecting the fruitful gains of an entertaining piece of software, but given the current state, I can’t afford Audiosurf 2 its potential score, such that there really isn’t much more I can cover if I were to analyze it fully.
Does this hurt the game? Quite a bit, but you can expect more inside.
Audiosurf 2 is a sequel and technical overhaul to Audiosurf, a game for PC about surfing your music. Genre defining, Audiosurf allows you to upload your favourite music into the game and generates a track for you to race vehicles down collecting points and avoiding obstacles.
If you’re anyone who’s met me, you would know some of my favourite games to play are music-based, mostly because I listen to an extensive amount of music while working, but enhancing the experience always perks my jimmies.
I immediately fell in love with Audiosurf not long after it released six years back, being able to load everything from The Beatles to Tool, much to the fancy of my teenage self, and when I found myself soaring upon cosmic highways in the wake of incredible psychedelic particle explosions, I could only help but feel elated and oddly satisfied at a very unique kind of experience.
Well, Audiosurf 2 just landed in my lap but a few days ago, and I quickly remembered why I love this developer so much.
I loaded up the game fairly quickly as the entire package was about half a gig, and was taken aback when the load menu showed up, differing but slightly from the original. It wasn’t terribly confusing, and as soon as I figured out the layout, I realized the developer opted for an incredibly simplistic design, one that would launch you straight into gameplay without having to skirt menus and dodge prompts.
However, given the simplicity, I couldn’t help but notice the stability faltered to an annoying but sufferable degree. Perhaps the biggest of my gripes is the response of some menu buttons, in that there is none, and being locked into a song which forced a restart on two occasions.
Other variable factors included points where I thought the game had crashed and tabbing out to check actually did crash it, but it seemed that the more I played, the more stable the game got. Either way, the minor incongruencies paled under the weight of magnanimous gameplay, something which surprised me to a satiable end.
The way it works is you load up a song, choose a gamemode – which now includes a torrent of mods, something which alludes infinite possibilities – and you choose a skin to wrap over the vessel, track, and background, all of which can be modded as well, one of which is a Hotline Miami skin which you see used in the video above.
I will say that my favourite modes of gameplay are Ninja Turbo and Wakeboard, and my favourite skin is Dusk.
In Ninja Turbo your mission is to collect points, but more importantly ninja yourself around spikes in the road, or, if you’ve loaded up the Dusk skin, dodge cars lest there be a terrible accident. Just kidding, you only lose points.
Now, the Dusk skin is completely infallible in terms of offering immersion into the song, and the only thing dividing me from a twilight commute is the 37 cars I accidentally ravished on my way over increasingly unsafe slopes.
But it’s all the same either way, because in between colds sweats and feverish hands, I sensed a film of elation draping over the recess of my mind, coursing along Parov Stelar’s electro swing tracks featuring virulent turbulence and insurmountable challenges that arose from the vacancy of space.
Audiosurf 2 does something incredibly well with its new coding, and that is adhering to music tracks. It does it so well that every block, the ebb of the pathway, and the air of the environment all confine themselves to the jaunt of the music, but flow in a transcendence of odd expression. There are times where it works too well, but mostly the immersion has increased tenfold, offering you a physical avatar to traverse your music.
Also, if you get a chance, go to your sound options and turn off the horrendous sound effects. Every time your vehicle hits a block, the loathsome jab of a salt shaker can be heard, something which drew me out of the music for completely arbitrary reasons.
Now, discussing Wakeboard, my second favourite game mode, I loaded up the cacophonic sludge metal of Electric Wizard, unsure of what I was about to get into.
One thing you’ll quickly learn about sludge metal: it doesn’t stop. In fact, there’s a minimap in the top left corner of the game screen that shows you the vertical drops of increased action and the nimble plateaus that sneak in between. Well, there’s really only two plateaus in sludge metal, one at the beginning and one at the end.
I found this out the hard way when I started up the song and basically fell off a cliff, left to my own devices while a mad Englishman shouted spells at me. Wakeboard is much the same as literal wake surfing in that you bank off “waves”, but instead of water it’s the music and instead of accruing social merit, you need to collect point blocks and fly as high as you can to get the higher scores.
I was infinitely perplexed the first time I jumped into the air and tumbled endlessly down a steep decline, both scared and amazed in a rising heat of the moment. It was incredible fun, and several moments arose where I chained jumps and banks, giving me endless rebound into the sky above.
I usually go for about four songs at a time when I play, reveling in the updated and ultimately unfettered design, awaiting a broad future for this game, this developer, and in turn, the genre as a whole.
However, the lacking features are disheartening. The relative stability and build of the game needs work, and despite the incredible fun this game offers, those are always going to resemble a thorn in its side.
My final thoughts on Audiosurf 2 are ones of gratification in that I would totally recommend you buy this game now, even in a semi-unstable state. It offers unparalleled gameplay and an experience that will be monumentalized with the advent of modern and futuristic technologies.
Also, it’s just a blast to surf you music, man. Get it while it’s hot.
Audiosurf 2 is developed by Dylan Fitterer and can be found on Steam for $14.99