Monday, February 11, 2008


I was planning on writing some sort of general introduction kind of thing. But then I saw some good news about a game I've been following recently. Audiosurf is a sort of bizarre love child of Guitar Hero, Tetris and F-Zero. Imagine that you are playing F-Zero, but there are colored block coming down the track that you have to hit in order to collect and form into rows of three. And that the track and the blocks are synchronized with the music that is playing. That in itself isn't that inventive, but Audiosurf's most interesting feature is the ability to use your own music. Any song on your computer can be used in the game.
The really impressive thing is that the game will analyze whatever song you pick and then generate a custom track based on that song. If you pick a slow song the track will be an upward sloping, slow moving, mellow experience with a fewer number of blocks to worry about. If you pick a fast song the track will be a steep downhill run with blocks all over the place. The synchronization with the music is really damn impressive, and I imagine must have been an incredibly complex endeavor to develop.
The practical upshot of the custom music is that every player is allowed to choose his own gameplay experience. If you have a few minutes to burn just pick a quick song. If you want a bit of a more involved experience pick an epic rock marathon. You'll certainly enjoy the soundtrack; you picked it after all. The various characters that can be picked also change up the gameplay. The Mono characters are simply a matter of dodging gray blocks and hitting the colored blocks, while Pointman incorporates puzzle game elements as you try to set up large groups of the same color.
The game is really just about experiencing your music in a new way. As the news item I linked to above said, Audiosurf is available for preorder on Steam and will soon be released for the small sum of $10. If you want to give it a try before you buy grab the demo from Fileshack that is linked in the news story. And speaking of experiencing music, anyone that has an Xbox 360 really needs to buy Rez HD off Live Arcade. It's an absolutely fantastic experience and a bargain for $10.

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